When I receive emails about Taser abuse, it’s usually about the device’s role in a death, or use as a compliance device rather than a last resort before drawing a gun. Even though those are horrific instances, it’s hard to top the level of abuse and professional incompetence of Officer Dan Nesmith of the Eustis, FL police department, who discharged his Taser on a teenage boy during a party where the officer was drinking with minors. How stupid is Nesmith? He was captured on tape using the shock device on the young man for kicks. Needless to say, he has been fired.
Officer Dan Nesmith told his supervisors it was a “dumb decision,” when he was confronted with the video evidence. In the recording, others are egging on Nesmith. Eustis Police Chief Fred Cobb says this is what got him in trouble and end a “promising and long career.”
…”They conducted an inventory of our taser cartridges and when we accounted for all those, we then downloaded our tasers. Each taser is equipped with a memory that will tell us the dates and times the taser is used,” he said. “At the end of the day officer nesmiths taser was the only one that had been fired during that period of time.”
Chief Cobb said that when questioned Nesmith about the incident, he confessed that shot his taser on a teenager at a party he hosted, while boozing it up with nearly two dozen minors. Cobb said he had no excuses but said that he had made a “dumb mistake.”
You have to wonder — what if this boy had died?
Law enforcement is a difficult job, requiring solid judgment under an incredible amount of stress in often dangerous situations. That makes it even more critical that they receive adequate training and psych screening to ensure Tasers are not placed in the hands of sadists and/or incompetents with a badge.