Taser abuse: how many have to die before something is done about it?
I point you over to Electronic Village, where Villager is keeping track of some sobering stats — the number of deaths due to the misuse or abuse of the Taser. We're up to 36 deaths this year, with 39% of the pre-trial, extra-judicial electrocutions and executions were perpetrated against black men, who represent only 6% of the population in the U.S.
- Jan 9, 2009: Derrick Jones, 17, Black, Martinsville, Virginia
- Jan 11, 2009: Rodolfo Lepe, 31, Hispanic, Bakersfield, California
- Jan 22, 2009: Roger Redden, 52, Caucasian, Soddy Daisy, Tennessee
- Feb 2, 2009: Garrett Jones, 45, Caucasian, Stockton, California
- Feb 11, 2009: Richard Lua, 28, Hispanic, San Jose, California
- Feb 13, 2009: Rudolph Byrd, Age Unknown, Race Unknown, Quincy, Florida
- Feb 13, 2009: Michael Jones, 43, Black, Iberia, Louisiana
- Feb 14, 2009: Chenard Kierre Winfield, 32, Black, Los Angeles, California
- Feb 28, 2009: Robert Lee Welch, 40, Caucasian, Conroe, Texas
- Mar 22, 2009: Brett Elder, 15, Caucasian, Bay City, Michigan
- Mar 26, 2009: Marcus D. Moore, 40, Black, Freeport, Illinois
- Apr 1, 2009: John J. Meier Jr., 48, Caucasian, Tamarac, Florida
- Apr 6, 2009: Ricardo Varela, 41, Hispanic, Fresno, California
- Apr 10, 2009: Robert Mitchell, 16, Black, Detroit, Michigan
- Apr 16, 2009: Gary A. Decker, 50, Black, Tuscon, Arizona
- Apr 18, 2009: Michael Jacobs Jr., 24, Black, Fort Worth, Texas
- Apr 30, 2009: Kevin LaDay, 35, Black, Lumberton, Texas
- May 4, 2009: Gilbert Tafoya, 53, Caucasian, Holbrook, Arizona
- May 17, 2009: Jamaal Valentine, 27, Black, La Marque, Texas
- May 23, 2009: Gregory Rold, 37, Black, Salem, Oregon
- Jun 9, 2009: Brian Cardall, 32, Caucasian, Hurricane, Utah
- Jun 13, 2009: Dwight Madison, 48, Black, Bel Air, Maryland
- Jun 20, 2009 Derrek Kairney, 36, Race: Unknown, South Windsor, Connecticut
- Jun 30, 2009, Shawn Iinuma, 37, Race: Unknown, Fontana, California
- Jul 2, 2009, Rory McKenzie, 25, Black, Bakersfield, California
- Jul 20, 2009, Charles Anthony Torrence, 35, Caucasian, Simi Valley, California
- Jul 30, 2009, Johnathan Michael Nelson, 27, Caucasian, Riverside County, California
- Aug 9, 2009, Terrace Clifton Smith, 52, Race: Unknown, Moreno Valley, California
- Aug 12, 2009, Ernest Ridlehuber, 53, Race: Unknown, Greenville, South Carolina
- Aug 14, 2009, Hakim Jackson, 31, Black, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Aug 18, 2009, Ronald Eugene Cobbs, 38, Black, Greensboro, North Carolina
- Aug 20, 2009, Francisco Sesate, 36, Hispanic, Mesa, Arizona
- Aug 22, 2009, T.J. Nance, 37, Race: Unknown, Arizona City, Arizona
- Aug 26, 2009, Unidentified Man, Age: TBD, Race: Unknown, Los Angeles, California
- Sep 3, 2009, Shane Ledbetter, Age: 38, Caucasian, Aurora, Colorado
- Sep 21, 2009, Richard Battistata, Age: 44, Race: Unknown, Laredo, Texas
In the above video, Stanley Harlen was pulled over for allegedly speeding; he stopped in front of his house. As his mother came out in her robe, she watched as officers wrestled with him. One officer fired the Taser three times for 31 seconds. For 14 minutes he received no medical attention; when paramedics arrived it was too late. He was dead. The Moberly city manager’s response is hardly reassuring. Andy Morris: Harlen’s death is “unanticipated and unintentional. Police officers must often make split-second decisions in tense, rapidly-evolving situations.”
Ken Burton, the Police Chief of nearby Columbia, MO’s PD also has officers who use Tasers but he strictly limits their use — no fleeing subjects are allowed to be tased, and when deployed, only for 5 seconds at at time.
This CBS report showed a graph of statistics, compiled by Taser International itself, and the growth in the use of these “non-lethal” devices has skyrocketed from 500 law enforcement agencies in 2000 to 14,201 in 2009. And there are no mandatory standards or training for Taser usage. Taser International has actually put out a disingenuous statement that defies reality, considering the rising body count.
The electrical output of a taser device is incapable of causing death.
Sure, the voltage alone in one blast itself may not kill, but what about the medical condition of the tasing victim? What about shocking someone for 31 seconds? What about repeated blasts to an elderly or disabled individual? This is a situation out of control.