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Is this an Acceptable Use of Force by Police?

Discussion in 'Civil Liberties Issues' started by DanaT, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. DanaT

    DanaT Pharaoh

    Do departments have use of force policies that indicate that someone should be killed for "acting irrational"?

    How about the factthey were off-duty?


    As I have said earlier, police have a hard job. I am just not sure taser use should be as wide spread as it is. It is proving to not be a "non-lethal" method of compliance but a "less-lethal" version of compliance enforcement.

    I know the "reasonable officer" standard will be brought up. But come on, the "reasonable officer" should by now know that death is not all that un-common of a side effect of using a taser.

  2. Sam Spade

    Sam Spade Staff Member Lifetime Member

    May 4, 2003
    They weren't off duty minding their own business. They were working second jobs as fully sworn officers with LE responsibilities. So that part isn't in play.

    To your last, yes death is very much an uncommon side effect, and it's easily shown. Every single cop with a taser takes the ride. (Alright, maybe a few slip by, but the ride is a standard part of training.) Look at all those fat cops with high blood pressure, heart conditions and pack-a-day habits. There has NEVER been a LE fatality or serious injury in Taser training/certification.

    Whether this particular use of force was justified is a different question. It's likely good, since Tasers cause injury at a lower rate than empty hand techniques and many agencies rank them very low on the force continuum. But without details on what was going on, I'll neither support nor condemn the application.

  3. DanaT

    DanaT Pharaoh

    This is EXCATLY why I have an issue with tasers. Police look at them as a non-lethal way to force compliance. Depending upon statisics that are used, it seems there have been at least 300 taser deaths since 2001.

    Saying that there has never been a LE fatality, therefore they are safe is a falicy. That is like a drunk driver saying he is perfectly safe because he has never caused a fatality.

  4. Sam Spade

    Sam Spade Staff Member Lifetime Member

    May 4, 2003
    Except that we've had plenty of similar deaths after OC use. And after good ol' fashioned thumpings. It's not a taser problem, though the device (or the spray or the baton) draws the attention.
  5. Sam Spade

    Sam Spade Staff Member Lifetime Member

    May 4, 2003
    I'm on a mobile, so the cut and paste thing isn't happy. Google "OC spray deaths"; first hit is wiki that mentions 61 deaths in LA alone, over a five year period. Similar searches turn up "positional asphyxia" or "sudden in-custody death syndrome"...lots of attempts to lay the responsibility on LE's door (and in their wallets). Bit if you look closer, you'll see the actions and conditions of the dead guys having striking similarities. And if you look even further, you'll see them dying in ERs where *no* police thumpage was in play.

    Instead of taking the approach that Tasers predictably cause death, we should realize that getting in fights while all spun up on stimulants is really bad for your body.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2011
  6. txinvestigator


    Jun 8, 2007
    Wow, your mind isn't already made up, is it? NO department has a policy that indicates that "someone should be killed" for ANYTHING.

    Departments have policies regarding the LEVEL of force that is accceptable for the amount of force being used against them. I don't know where you got your stats, but since the TASER has been issued, BOTH officer and suspect injuries are DOWN. People HAVE died after the use of TASER, but none have been attributed solely to the TASER.

    Suspects have also died after being Pepper Sprayed, had the Carotid Vascular Neck Restraint used, or just manhandled to the ground. Anytime a person must be controlled and refuses to cooperate the officer must use some type of force. A Taser is safer for both the officer and Suspect than most other methods of control.

    If you have other alternatives departments would pay you a lot of money for those brilliant ideas.

    That's been answered.....

    Again, I don't know where you obtained your info, but TASERS are less lethal.

    Yes, it IS uncommon. Do you know how many TASER deployments there are everyday with ZERO injury? All use of force has risks.

    Why do I get the idea none of that will matter to you?
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2011
  7. DanaT

    DanaT Pharaoh

    And again, drunk drivers drive everyday and people don't get hirt by them.

    I believe that tasers (and OC) are overused by police. Tell me,since I seem to be ignorant, how many TASERS are used everyday with ZERO injuries? How many are used everyday with MINOR injury? How many are used veryday with MAJOR injury?

    In general if TASER are being used everyday to the extent, it seems to prove my point that police have a weapon that they think is non-lethal and OK to use with even a minor hint of "non-compliance".

    Of course I don't think police going to wearing combat boots and black BDU pants have made the forces more professional either. It all goes together in my mind. Police, over the last decade or two have come to see themselves as para-military organizations with their weapons, dress, and actions. The tazer is just make use of force much easier for the officer.

  8. pac201


    Nov 12, 2007
    It seems your mind is already made up; but I will refer you to this, Force Science Research at MSU Mankato, Dr. Bill Lewinski, very detailed research about use of force and the physiology/psychology involved.
  9. ticktwrter


    Mar 9, 2009
    When I received my Taser training it was stressed that it is a less-lethal use of force. I am not aware of ANY actual Taser deaths caused directly by the Taser itself. Many who die after a Taser is depoleyed have already had major health issues or were hopped up on drugs etc. The Taser is one of the BEST less-lethal tools we have been given in my 20 years on the department. Also, example of a drunk driver is wrong. Yes, maybe that one drunk driver has never caused a fatality, but thousands have. The Taser example is a good one. Out of thousands of officers who have taken the ride, NONE have died.
  10. ticktwrter


    Mar 9, 2009

    Law Enforcement has ALWAYS been para-military hence the uniforms and military rank structures. Sadly, law enforcement is enganged in war against criminals every day. Just look at and see how many have died this year due to firearms. I wear a BDU style uniform every day and this helps because I am not as hesitant to get dirty when I had pants that cost $70 and shirts $70.
  11. DanaT

    DanaT Pharaoh


    Do you put your gun in holster or do you worry about wearing the finish out and it costs $400+?

    I am a firm believer that how people dress is how they act. That doesn't apply just to LEO. Once LEO dress like soldiers they start believing they are soldiers in a war. OF course one someone starts dressing like a gang banger, they start acting like a gang banger. People who dress like farmers act like farmers. People who dress like CEOs, act like CEOs. Of course you just said that. Who are your enemies? Citizens of the USA? How do yo determine an enemy.

    Of course one someone starts dressing like a gang banger, they start acting like a gang banger. People who dress like farmers act like farmers. People who dress like CEOs, act like CEOs. So it is not just limited to LEO.

    But thank you for for re-inforcing my opinion that police over the last two decades have morphed and believe they are military in a war. I couldn't have proven it better.

  12. Sam Spade

    Sam Spade Staff Member Lifetime Member

    May 4, 2003
    Time to flip the issue. Please tell us your societal acceptable plan for dealing with irrational combative people. We're past talk, he's combative. We get that you don't like Tasers. No OC either, I guess. *I* know what that leaves me, but let's hear your ideas.
  13. steveksux

    steveksux Massive Member

    Jul 12, 2007
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2011
  14. DanaT

    DanaT Pharaoh

    Well, before I can say what that leaves you, i need some more info for dealing with this irrational combative person.

    1) Male / Female "perp"
    2) Size of "perp"
    3) Male / Female Officer?
    4) Size of officer
    5) Time of day/night
    6) How many officers present
    7) How far (timewise) is backup away
    8) Is the "perp" believed to be on stimulants or other drugs
    9) Why is the "perp" combative
    10) Is combative actually "resistive" or does the officer believe that person wants to actually fight? The first definition of combative is generally "inclined or showing an inclination to dispute or disagree, eg a style described as abrasive and contentious" or are you referring to combative as "having or showing a ready disposition to fight". There is a difference between resisting what someone is doing and showing a ready disposition for a fight.
    11) What is the displayed skill level of fighting does the officer believe the "perp" has?
    12) Is there a weapon involved (other than the officers)
    13) Is the reason for contact a felony stop for a violent crime?
    14) Is the contact for "suspicious behavior"?
    15) What race is the LEO that are present
    16) What race is the "perp"
    17) Does the "perp" have any physical disabilities that would make compliance difficult/impossible (i.e. is the "perp" deaf or have significant hearing loss)
    18) Does the "perp" understand the language the LEO are speaking.
    19) How many use of force complaints does the primary responding officer have?
    20) What rank is the officer?
    21) How many years experience does the officer have
    22) When did the LEO stop last for their donut/coffee break?

    With some more information I may be able to answer your question.

  15. JimP


    Mar 20, 2007
    Dana - while you're trying to sort out the details to fit into your force continuum, this thug is crushing your skull. Are you certified or have you been trained in the use of the Taser?? Have you actually fought anyone other than a hair-pulling contest in grade school??

    How about YOU answer those questions and we can move on from there.
  16. trifecta


    Nov 17, 2008
    I think I will give you #2 and 4. The rest weren't worth the time it took for you to write or us to read and show a lot of thinking without an ability to form rational thoughts.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2011
  17. Sam Spade

    Sam Spade Staff Member Lifetime Member

    May 4, 2003
    And knowing none of this, you still condemn these officers in this situation? That's not working for me, even setting aside the utter silliness of most of your list.

    People have died after being tased. People have died after being sprayed. People have died after being restrained, absent any blows, chemical agents or other devices. Whose fault is that?

    It strikes me that you want breakfast, but you recoil in horror when you get a hint of how sausage is made.
  18. DanaT

    DanaT Pharaoh

    A gut reaction tells me that people dying while being restrained absent what you said seems to me that whomever the custodian is is at fault. The only way that I see that restraint could cause death is asphixiation. I think that LEO that place people in restraint positions that could cause death need to be regularly monitored to ensure there are no issues. Dying of asphixiation is not something that happends immediately nor without symptoms.

    The list wasnt as silly as you seem to think. The situation dictates much of what is appropriate. For example, I have seen posts in thread stating most deaths by taser are due to pre-exsisting medical conditions or drugs.

    Also on my list was does the "perp" understwhat is going on. As a trained professional people who are diabetic can act irrational when insulin was wrong.

    Since it seems that tasers have the highest risk with drugs/medical conditions it would seem prudent to me that an officer would use extreme caution when dealing with these types of perps and learn to recognize them.

    Shocking the crap out of people is not "safer for the perp". I have a background in what electrostimulation does in to cardiac rythym. Basically, it well known that high voltage can cause cardiac arrest which is often fatal.

  19. DanaT

    DanaT Pharaoh

    I have looked at your url for officers killed. I see the two leading causes of death for this year as gunfire and automible accidents. Then comes heart attack. That covers 95% of what I saw there. I fail to see how taser stops officers from dying from gunfire, automobile accidents, or heart attacks.

    Now, why I have the issue with taser is exactly what you have said.

    "Sadly, law enforcement is enganged in war against criminals every day."

    Here is what I understand when you say war:

    a conflict carried on by force of arms, as between nations or between parties within a nation; warfare, as by land, sea, or air.

    a state or period of armed hostility or active military operation

    a contest carried on by force of arms, as in a series of battles or campaigns:

    armed fighting, as a science, profession, activity, or art; methods or principles of waging armed conflict

    For example the "war on terror" is an armed conflict against islamic jihadist.

    The Vietnam war was an armed conflict. WWII was an armed conflict.

    When police describe themselves as a para-military unit engaged in a war, it is a mentality.

    Paramilitary typically means

    noting or pertaining to an organization operating as, in place of, or as a supplement to a regular military force

    When you put this mentality together with a unit (or individual officers) thinking of themselves as in place of the regular military force and being in war, and then they are given weapons such as tasers, they tend to look at themselves as soldiers.

    It isn't the tasers themselves I have an issue with. It isn't the use of force when justified. It is the over-use of force and the change over the last few decades of police turning into paramilitary units and thinking of the citizens of subjects and use force first because of "officer safety". If you want a safe job, don't go into the police force (or the army).

    I remember the old saying on the side of police cars: To serve and to protect.

    I believe this motto doesn't hold much weight. Instead it is "to wage war against criminals" (see above).

  20. txinvestigator


    Jun 8, 2007
    Drunk drivers? That has to do with this discussion HOW?

    The police us the TASER daily. Most with little or no injury.

    That is right. There is much more danger to the suspect AND officer if the officer goes hands on.

    [quoteOf course I don't think police going to wearing combat boots and black BDU pants have made the forces more professional either. It all goes together in my mind. Police, over the last decade or two have come to see themselves as para-military organizations with their weapons, dress, and actions. The tazer is just make use of force much easier for the officer. [/quote] Again, what boots have to do with TASERs? And you are damn right, TASERs make force easier for officers. Thank goodness.

    Here is but one study out of the many;

    From the article;
    There are many other studies comming to the same conclusions. Your position is not based in fact, and is not supported by logic.

    I could go on and on. Unbiased and scientific studies, not reactive claims by the media and special interest groups, should lead your thinking.

    Take care