Thursday, November 22, 2007

Police misconduct

By Libby

If you need any more proof that the use of tasers by our law enforcement officers is completely out of control, check out this video at Digby's place. The alleged speeder was well within his rights to question the ticket. He was polite. He was co-operating with the officer but apparently not quickly enough to satisfy the cop.

Tasers were originally issued to police departments to diminish the need for lethal force. If the cop didn't have a taser, he wouldn't have used a gun in this instance. He didn't give the mandated warning before he tasered this young man and then he lied about doing so -- on tape. It seems clear to me that tasers are a failed experiment. Instead of being used in extreme circumstances, they're electocuting the public at the slightest excuse. It's time to either take them away or penalize the cops who use them inappropriately.

On a related note, the use of SWAT teams to deliver ordinary warrants has also gone over the top. Time was a couple of uniformed officers would have knocked on the door and asked to be let in for a warrant like this but ever since drug forfeiture laws allowed every podunk PD to acquire SWAT team equipment, our law enforcement agencies have become more paramilitary enforcers than keepers of the peace. Worse yet is how often, they target the wrong house, trash it and then do nothing to repair the damage they cause.

At least in these two cases nobody died, but all too often, fatalities occur. How many more innocent Americans will have to suffer through this sort of indignity before we insist that taser use and SWAT teams be reserved for instances in which law enforcement personnel are truly in danger of their lives? [h/t Paul Wright]

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