Nationally recognized legal scholar Jonathan Turley calls it ‘a very problematic rationale.’  I’ll say.  The police came to her apartment looking for her son.(WDTN.com

Her family said she was yelling at officers because she was scared.

  "She was terrified. She was extremely terrified," said Harris’s niece, Dionna. "She was scared because the person identified themselves as a police officer. But she’s been robbed before by someone using the same technique."…

"She’s blind and they pulled her off her Futon, handcuffed her and tased her because he said she swung at him. She can’t see," said Harris’s sister Elvita Harris. "I’m very frustrated and upset. Dayton police need to implement a sensitivity program." (WDTN.com)

Here’s my favorite bit:

The officers [sic] actions will be investigated, but Sgt. Anderson said Harris should have told them she was scared.

"She does not have to open her door. It was a voluntary thing for her to open her door," he said.(WDTN.com)   

The moral therefore is, what?  If the police knock, don’t let them in?

Turley notes:

The story will add to the controversial use of tasers as a routine matter by officers, including recent incidents of such use on a disabled man and pregnant mother and an 82-year-old woman and routine ticket violater.
This is not to mention the case where the police entered the wrong apartment and then tasered a deaf man who was in his bathtub, here. (Jonathan Turley)

And you may remember the case a few months ago of the man who was tasered to death in a Vancouver, BC airport.

Let’s assume arguendo that tasers are a better option in some circumstances than other means which police have used, or could use, to subdue an uncooperative suspect or other person they are attempting to question or apprehend. Let’s assume further that if they didn’t have tasers, they’d have to use some other means likely to cause greater physical damage to the person.

If so, there urgently needs to be a reassessment of the use of tasers in situations in which the police aren’t in imminent fear that they will be harmed or assaulted and are using the taser simply to ‘facilitate’ the job. And somewhere in formulating appropriate policy the age, mental condition, and general health of the person being tasered needs to be factored in.

Damozel
Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2008 The Moderate Voice
  • It takes much greater skill and care to subdue someone without resorting to weaponry like a taser.

  • jwest

    It’s hard to resist using a shiny new taser – especially if this woman got a little mouthy.

    Kind of like having a brand new club. Are you just going to let that baby seal walk on by without trying it out?

  • lurxst

    When the only tool you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail?

    Since tasers are touted for their non-lethality it only follows that they will be abused by police that want compliance with no questions. They are an important tool but the policies for their use are not uniform. Their use should fall somewhere within the continuum between the firearm and negotiation but it seems they are too often used to force compliance when simple waiting or talking would suffice. Police would be loathe to shoot their Glock at an unarmed man but the taser makes it alright because its “non-lethality” is considered equal with the non-lethality of an empty-handed person.

    Perhaps the only upside to our era of constant surveillance is that more episodes of police brutality are videotaped by patrol car systems or bystanders to acquit victims of claims of resisting arrest or other charges from abusive police.

    Police should be held to a higher standard in regards to their use of force than the average citizen, due to the amount of trust they are granted.

  • pdx632

    The mindset of the police is very simple. At the end of the day, they are going home to their families. In the past, if someone failed to comply with a lawful command, the officer would have to engage in physical contact with the subject, endangering their health. Now, they have the capacity to maintain distance from the subject.

    I don’t know any cops who will go back to the old way of doing things. And why should they? Comply or be tased. Real simple.

  • DAMOZEL

    pdx632

    ‘blind diabetic woman with cancer’

  • AustinRoth

    damozel – I actually have less issue with the fact that she was blind and diabetic (which on the surface does sound bad).

    However, the mentality that leads someone to say, ‘Comply or be tased. Real simple’ is beyond me. I wouldn’t want to live in his world.

  • jdledell

    pdx632 – Most cops I know are power hungry thugs. I would not ask for their help if my life depended on it. I have never been arrested or had even a traffic ticket in the last 38 years. I was once stopped on the Mass Pike in a routine sobriety checkpoint. I was asked to step out and walk a straight line.(since I never drink any alcohol, I was not worried) When I told the cop that I could not do that without my crutches (I had polio as a child) he yanked me out of the car and up on my feet. When I again told him I could not walk he smashed my legs with his club and on the ground he kicked me in the side. His fellow cop told him to stop and go on to the next car.

    I have had interaction with 6 cops in my lifetime and everyone of them has been a nightmare. I would be happy if police were something other than bullies. I know they have a tough dangerous job but to treat everyone as if they are scum is totally counter-productive. When the police came to my house to ask me some questions about a neighbor, I promptly told them I would not answer any questions without my lawyer present and even then I would probably remain silent. My motto is never to help assh…. Hatred of all cops is an understatement.

  • pdx632

    jdeldell–I am sorry that you have had bad experiences with the police. I have had nothing but positive experiences in my contact with them.

    austinroth–you already do

    damozel– I saw no reference to her age in your article or the original. I know blind people who take self-defense classes and people with cancer that can put us to shame in a battle of physical fitness. Her aliments don’t reflect her capabilities

    From the original article:

    “She was able to force herself down on to the floor and not be cooperative, grabbing on to the detective. A taser was dry stunned onto her arm to control her hand movement, then she was cuffed,” said Sgt. Charles Anderson.

  • SteveK

    A taser was dry stunned onto her arm to control her hand movement, then she was cuffed

    “Dry stunned”? Too funny… Thank god the fire house called before the cop shop… My career was, at all times, ‘above board’.