Thursday, October 22, 2009

How low can you go? Taser tells police don't aim at chest

Taser International yesterday issued an advisory to police agencies using their product not to shoot suspects in the chest (which of course is where they're taught to aim because it provides the largest target) but to "aim a little lower." (!)

Uh, exactly how much lower? This advice immediately made me think of a video from a police training session I saw awhile back depicting an officer accidentally tasered in the groin. The trainer who shot him was laughing so hard he fell to his knees and forgot to shut off the switch, something he said is known in law enforcement circles as "riding the lightning." But hey, what's 50,000 volts to the balls among friends? (If nothing else, one supposes this new advice will generate more such videos for humor sites.)

According to CBS News:
The bulletin from Taser says there is a slight risk of their device causing cardiac arrest. And it states 'We believe this recommendation will improve the effective use of taser ECD's while also further increasing safety margins and enhancing the ability to defend such cases in post event legal proceedings.'

"The information they're sending us simply states if you want to avoid controversy than you might want to avoid that target area," said Lt. Henderson. "And we take that very seriously in light of recent events".

Opponents of the Taser use say the company is admitting for the first time its product is dangerous.

33 comments:

Don Dickson said...

Isn't it ironic that the safest place to shoot someone with a Taser is in the back....((cough))

Anonymous said...

Heh...this has been getting discussed in some of the other law blawgs online. I would say that the Taser is actually an inherently dangerous device that is merely less lethal instead of non-lethal. Having something that's "non-lethal" has upped the aggression level by law enforcement- they feel they are "safe" in using high levels of force as there's "no consequences". So, out the tasers come and you hear about people getting tased 4 or more times on a fairly regular basis these days.

Make them apply the same rules as firearm use on tasers as they're potentially deadly. (Shock the crap out of someone with high voltage pulses and not expect some risk of heart or diaphragm failure due to it? C'mon guys!)

Anonymous said...

I'd rather be tased in the chest than shot in the chest but yeah tasers are clearly not just being used when the only other option is using a firearm.

Maybe get the use of force rules back to a place where officers face desk duty, internal investigation, etc. for each tasing. That way we can get back to the good old days of being smacked in the head with a mag-lite.

Anonymous said...

"50,000 Unstoppable Watts," I think the band Clutch wrote a song about that, although I don't recall any reference to being juiced in the balls. Damn, that makes my junk hurt just thinking about it.

Anonymous said...

If I use pepper spray or a Taser on someone it is Aggravated Assault in Texas but the cops can use it without any penalty. Pepper spray has killed people also. I used to work in corrections and have been present when pepper spray was used and it triggered an instant asthma attack even thought I was only exposed to the fumes not the direct spray. From some of the videos I have seen on YouTube it looks like some of the police get off on using Tasers and chemical spray on people. I have come to fear police in general because so many of them act like they are still in the war zone fighting the enemy (who ever that might be). A little PTSD goes a long way when it is a police officer who is armed and dangerous! I live where Ft. Hood is located and most of our police are ex-military and they are scary. The local police are the last people I will call for help because of the way they act toward the public. The police have changed from your friend to your enemy in our town. The new motto should be crack heads and fine not protect and serve. In case you are wondering if I am a dope dealer or some other kind of criminal, I am not. I am an old guy who has lived long enough to see the big change in our police. There was a story on News 10 about some off duty cops working as security when they Tasered a guy who wet his pants. They videoed the incident and put it on YouTube and thought it was funny. Our new breed of police look to have a criminal streak themselves but are above the law.

Jennie said...

Gosh with that written statement I see a gold mine for some attorney. I can see it now "Attorney specializing in Taser". Or maybe a class action lawsuit of the people who will now have post tramatic stress from being tased? I see dollar signs and more clogging of our court rooms.

Anonymous said...

I just got back from my daily walk. While walking I happened to see a couple of young police officers in their patrol cars. Both had shaved heads like neo-Nazi skin heads. I guess they picked up the neo-Nazi skin head look in the military. The federal grant money has turned our local police forces into federal police. The G20 meeting in Philadelphia is a perfect example of police and their non-lethal arsenal of toys paid for by federal grant money. Sound cannons were used on people. There were military police, contractors/mercenaries, and local police working together to keep people off the streets in a no travel zone by order of the police chief. People were told to stay in their houses and apartments or face possible police action. From the video I have watched police action was the beating of unarmed civilians some of which were old ladies pushing a little shopping cart. A university was in the zone and several college students were assaulted by the police for stepping out on the side walk. I have heard it is a felony crime for armed military to be used on U.S. citizens inside of the U.S. but this behavior was videoed on numerous occasions at G20. The National Guard was federalized and integrated into the army some time back. These were federal troops used against the people. There were also contractors used to assault the people. Do we really need Black Water policing our nation. Tasers are the least of our problems from the police in the U.S. The head of the Philadelphia Police Advisory Board was flooded with brutality complaints and said she was very concerned by the behavior of the police department during the G20. There are any number of videos on YouTube which show the behavior I am writing about in this post. The police are no longer here to help you!

Acerbic said...

LMAO!! Great post, Scott.

The police have turned in to a bunch of pussies and cowards and not too much unlike the criminals they are supposed to be protecting us from.

Kudos to the professionals among them, but they seem to be a rarity these days. What we need is a national standard whereby all police officers are screened with psychological tests to weed out the weirdos and psychos so these people aren't allowed to get a peace officer's permit when they are really only qualified to mow my grass.

Anonymous said...

I agree, the fewer police the better. All they do is lull the public into a false sense of security. Ultimately, people are responsible for their own safety. Our founding fathers understood this. Hence the Second Amendment's individual right "to keep and bear arms." With the expansion of the "castle doctrine" there is no reason to depend on the police for our individual safety. If I catch a burglar trying to break into my home, a taser to the chest--or the balls--will be the least of his concerns! Lock and load!

Acerbic said...

Anon 7:03, I agree with you on a certain level, we have become way too much like the police state with cops randomly stopping people to "check their papers." That's what the NYC police department is doing...it's racist and unconstitutional but SCOTUS has sanctioned it.

On the other hand, not everyone is able to protect themselves from predators. You can't just give anyone a gun and expect the problem of crime to be solved. We need police.

What don't need is bullies with badges and guns. Seems like weeding these miscreants out is the best solution.

Anonymous said...

Well, it's back to shooting people!

I'm still waiting for the phaser.... Yeah, I like Star Trek.... What of it?!

Acerbic said...

The Vulcan mind probe...now that's some awesome stuff. I'm sure some company has it in the works now. And the CIA will be issuing no-bid contracts...blah blah blah.

Anonymous said...

Yes, this shows that it is no longer possible to avoid admitting it is dangerous. If it were possible to still deny it they would, of course. What I find more interesting is the existence of terms like "riding the lighting". The emergence of such slang and jargon among law enforcers may help establish what the police continue to confidently deny, and what I believe is the ultimate issue with this weapon. The existence of these cute little euphemisms comes close to showing that there is an informal language among officers to describe their use of the device, not as the last resort alternative to deadly force, but as an instrument routinely used for torture. It may be a cute inside joke in the current legal environment, but as a society we eventually need to place this activity where it belongs -- squarely in the scope of Eighth Amendment -- cruel and unusual punishment. I remember when electric shock torture was something that we only read about happening in brutal third world countries. It has come home now. It is here. They are doing it, and they are exploring the limits of what will be tolerated. This is more important than Abu Ghraib or Guantanomo. Those are isolated events which can be contained. The more important question now is whether Americans are going to accept torture at home under the guise of a thinly veiled security ruse, complete with an underground system of slang and jargon which refers to the truth: Torture. It is important to understand that the torturers of the third world, whom we occasionally get a glimpse of through journalism and survivor stories, also represent their activities as law enforcement, security, and protection of the public. Do we really want to go there?

Anonymous said...

A point made in this is well taken. Twenty years ago when I took a course in personality my professor pointed out that career criminals, police officers, prison guards and judges have a personality disorder in common -- the Anti-Social Personality Disorder. I am not sure of its current name, the DSM people love to change things, but it was once called the Sociopathic Disorder.

As a generally law abiding individual I do not plan to be TASed anytime in the future. As a recipient of a multiple bypass surgery, I hope they find something better when they decide to "shoot at" me.

Anonymous said...

Here's lets throw in another danger from taser...people that have siezures. Seizures are caused by the electrical misfiring of the brains electrical impluses, imagine what happens when you have 50000 volts suddenly shot into your body, the brain see "electrical impluse overload" and ta da....grand mal seizure, even if they only have petit mal sizures. Are the police trained to handle seziures...I think NOT. They don't even recognize when someone is "pre-seizure" from being drunk!

Anonymous said...

Don't kid yourself, brutha. The cops know how to handle someone thrashing around on the ground and foaming at the mouth, i.e., seizure victim. They escalate the level of restraint by whipping out the belly chains, cuffs, leg irons, and strapping that foaming SOB into a hog tie. That way no innocent victims can get hurt by those flailing appendages.

Anonymous said...

April '09:

Oakwood Police Chief Oly Ivey was arrested Monday for allegedly using a taser on his live-in girlfriend.

Ivy is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. His bond is set at $100,000.

His attorney says that's five times the amount normally set for this offense, and Thursday morning he'll ask a judge to lower Ivy's bond to $20,000.

Have not checked progress or whether this was plead down; but this clown was charged with assault with deadly weapon, blowing away the claim that taser is 'less lethal'.

Anonymous said...

Well what is a good alternative to the TASAR?

Answer me that liberals?

Pepper spray, nah they might have asthma...

Baton, no it breaks bones....

Now all the police can use, is their guns! Well I guess its true, dead men don't testify.... Less litigation that way.

Good job you liberal bastards!

Acerbic said...

I love it when retarded Reaganites blab about how stupid they are.

Anonymous said...

This is Acerbic's boyfriend...

I told you to quit blogging, now come over her so that I can give you a Cleveland Steamer...

Sorry girls, he's gay!

Anonymous said...

"...when I took a course in personality my professor pointed out that career criminals, police officers, prison guards and judges have a personality disorder in common -- the Anti-Social Personality Disorder. I am not sure of its current name, the DSM people love to change things, but it was once called the Sociopathic Disorder."

I've made this same observation before. I think some police, DAs and judges could be diagnosed as sociopaths. They are really no different than some criminals. They are just smart enough to get themselves in positions where they can inflict pain and suffering on people without any consequences. They believe the rules and laws don't apply to them and they don't have a conscience.

I'm convinced that the DA in Smith County, Matt Bingham and the former DA and current judge, Jack Skeen, Jr. are sociopaths.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what professor taught him this non-sense.

Heck, according to your theory, anyone in authority has this disorder, including your sadistic anti-government professor...

Either your a mischarcterizing what your professor is saying, or your professor is making sweeping generalizations. You know, like the KKK, Hitler and most of the other racist radicals in history....

Anonymous said...

Officer, I would like my TASER in the groin please....

Hey, they have to protect and serve... It says so on the cars....

Anonymous said...

I took the same psychology class a few years ago when I got my Psychology degree and learned the same thing. Not much difference in the personality of criminals, cops , judges, and DAs. Sorry if it pisses you off but that is the science of personality boys and girls. Being an older person I can remember the days when guns were not evil and the local police didn't need Tasers and chemical spray. They had the respect of the citizens because they knew how to deescalate situations without force. I guess today's cops are not as smart and have to resort to violence. Don't you love paying much higher taxes to support all of the way to many cops and prisons? Criminal law is big business in Texas! Check out how the new uniforms look like military special operations uniforms. Without the guns, clubs, and military grade toys the police of today are not as tough as they would have you to believe. Look at the number of cops it now takes to respond to a minor call. Oh well the good old days are gone, what a shame....

Anonymous said...

Check out judge Stem in Falls County. Google Judge Stem and see how criminal a sitting Texas Distict Judge can be.

Anonymous said...

Being an older person surely you can remember that police officers used to shoot people when they fled or fought....

So, no I suppose the police would not need a TASER under those circumstances.... Just have to be a good shot...

Tennessee vs. Garner solved that problem. I suggest you remember your history, psychologist...

Anonymous said...

02:18 p.m. Ah, yes the good old days....

When the police couldn't talk you out of doing something stupid... They just shot you. Or if you ran, they shot you....

Or when the sprayed black people with fire hoses for protesting...

WHAT GOOD OLD DAYS ARE YOU REFERRING TO 02:18 p.m.????

Police have to respond in numbers to safely take a person into custody. If only one officer responded, if he could not talk a person out of criminality, he would either have to beat or shoot him into compliance....

Of course they have to respond in numbers.... God what an idiot. They actually gave you a degree?!

Anonymous said...

I don't really see a problem aiming lower with the Taser. Would you rather get shot in the nuts with a bean bag?

Todd said...

So you think the police should simply "talk you out of doing something stupid"? The moron who wrote this needs to go outside the house and try to talk a crack addict, drunk, or gang member into handcuffs. It's not quite as easy as you seem to think it is.

When it doesn't go your way, let me know how you intend to get the guy in cuffs without using some kind of force. Don't use a taser because it is ohhhh so dangerous. Same for OC. Don't use a baton because that just looks soooo bad.

Morons on this blog should try to have some knowledge of how to deal with a violent situation before they run their gums. Never going to happen here though.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Todd, sometimes police should "talk someone out of doing something stupid." In fact, an officer who relies solely on force and disdains communications skills is probably a pretty crappy cop, though I understand it's not fashionable in some quarters to talk to people before you taser them.

Personally I don't support banning Tasers for police but think they often come out too early on the use of force continuum and that 8:04's concerns about potentially torturous uses are valid.

Anonymous said...

A cop's best weapon is his/her verbal skills.

I try to talk them into jail if they need to go...

The TASER is a good back-up if verbal interventions fail, but I have never used one.

I have always had to physically wrestle a combative person or pepper spray them or both (NOT FUN).

However one thing that I would like to propose is that everything a cop does is less lethal.

For instance (when I was a deputy sheriff) I once had to serve a writ of execution (not what you think legal laymen) on an older lady and she begged me not to execute her (almost fainted).

I once had to pepper spray a person that was on methamphetamines to stop him from punching at me. He stopped breathing for approximately a minute and his heart stopped. Medics revived him (to my relief).

When I began my career a man took a large quantity of psychotropic drugs and attacked me and four of my colleagues. We had hell wrestling him to the ground but he went into shock and nearly died... He was revived by medics (I try not to ticket medics for this reason, that's a tip Oklahoma Highway Patrol lol).

So if a cop uses a TAZER on a combative person; is it the person's personal life choices or personal actions what makes the TAZER "less lethal" rather than "non lethal?"

Just wondering...

Memphis Steve said...

If you want to know what the Taser is capable of doing to a male person's genitalia all you have to do is Google "tavares browning taser groin" and you'll see a great example. Total emasculation - every last nerve destroyed, plus third degree burns. He's not just impotent. He's totally dead down there.

There is another case, Antonio Lewis in Tallahasee, Florida, shot in the genitals by a female police officer using a Taser which completely emasculated him, destroying not only his penis and testicles, but also rendering him incontinent. He has to wear adult diapers for the rest of his life.

Many officers Tasering the genitals, such as in the Tavares Browning case, said they weren't even aiming for the groin. The Taser just hits there by design. All this talk about sociopathic cops doesn't deal with the biggest problem with the Taser, which is the weapon itself. The company manufacturing and marketing the Taser has used endless fraudulent claims about how safe this weapon is and what it actually does and doesn't do. What it does is harpoon the genitals when used exactly as instructed by Taser International, before electrocuting them and torturing the victim into submission, sometimes resulting in the total destruction of the victim's genitals.

By the way, the very first lawsuit against Taser International for destroying a man's genitals was filed by a police captain who himself was rendered totally impotent from a Taser shot that harpooned his genitals.

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