Sunday, March 23, 2008

Death sentence for stealing two Hot Pockets

By Libby

Before police departments starting using tasers as a replacement for cool headed conversation and common sense, this tragic death would not have happened. Instead, we have some local cops effectively instantly sentencing a teenager to death by misuse of taser.
A 17-year-old died at Carolinas Medical Center Thursday after a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer shocked him with a Taser during a confrontation at a grocery store in northeast Charlotte.

An autopsy will determine how Darryl Wayne Turner died.

Turner had worked as a cashier and bagged groceries at the Food Lion at 3024 Prosperity Church Road, where the incident happened.
Darryl Turner was a high school grad who wanted to go on to college. He had no criminal record. His family says he was mouthy but he wasn't a violent person. He told his mom when he went home for lunch that he had stolen a box of Hot Pockets and was afraid he was going to get in trouble with the regional management over it. His mother wisely counseled him to go back to work and face the penalty. I'm sure she regrets that now.

When the police arrived, Turner was in a heated argument with the manager. The police claim they saw him throw some unidenified object at the man. I'll be surprised if eyewitness accounts bear that out but even if he did, there's no indication that manager was harmed. The kid didn't instantly calm down so the first thing they do is taser him. Pam Spaudling has more on this case and on several other recent deaths and unneccessary taserings that occured in just the last week or so.

Tasers were supposed to be used only as a last resort to deadly force. If the police didn't have tasers, it seems certain they would not have used deadly force in this case. Further, one would guess there were at least two officers against one 17 year old kid. When did our cops become such cowards that they can't even talk down a teenager without electrocuting him first? These incidents are occuring on a daily basis across this country. It's really time to take the tasers out of law enforcement. They clearly have become a liability rather than an asset to police/community relations.

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