Friday, April 10, 2009

Another Taser death: 15-year-old boy

There's been much growing concern as of late as to the safety of Tasers, those 'non-lethal' police weapons used to quickly and efficiently immobilize targets, even at a fair range. As anyone will know, Tasers work by overriding the body's circuitry, mixing up the signals from your brain and essentially making your muscles go crazy. It's very painful and extremely efficient – very few people can withstand these – and always virtually guarantees the target, even at ten or twenty feet away, will be rigid as a board on the ground within seconds, totally helpless.

For some time now there's been growing concern as to the safety of these weapons – they are meant as an alternative to firearms to down opponents without killing them, yet there's been a disturbingly high number of deaths from their use on victims. Here is another sad example of a death that shouldn't have been: a 15-year-old boy was Tasered and killed by Detroit police following a short foot chase.

Warren Deputy Police Commissioner Jere Green says the teen was Tasered Friday while struggling with officers inside an abandoned Detroit house. He later was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

The house was about a half-mile from where Warren police stopped a vehicle for having an expired license plate. The teen was one of three people in the vehicle. The other two were taken into custody.

The death is under investigation. An autopsy is scheduled Saturday.

I am very opposed to Tasers myself. When efficiency comes at the cost of possible death, then another solution needs to be found. Personally, I'd destroy the use of Tasers and instead give cops beanbag rifles, which (as the name proposes) shoot little beanbags instead of bullets. These hurt like hell and will definitely halt any fleeing or aggressive targets in their tracks, especially if they're caught in the legs or chest, yet the chances of serious injuries, or even death, are much, much lower. (For one thing, they're not electrocuting the victims.)

But then, you can't really expect police to be sensible to the dangers of overzealous law enforcement, can you?


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