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Hullabaloo


Monday, July 28, 2008

 
My God

by digby

This is so terrible it makes me want to vomit:

KY 3 News' Sara Sheffield reports on an injured teen from Ozark, Missouri who was tasered up to 19 times by police.

Passing motorists called Ozark police out of concern for the teen as he walked along the busy overpass. When the police arrived, the young man was lying on the shoulder of the highway directly underneath the 30 foot high overpass with a broken back and foot.

Doctors believe 16-year-old Mace Hutchinson broke his back and heel after falling, as his injuries are consistent with such a fall. The boy's family does not understand why police would have tasered the the teen 19 times after he was so seriously injured.

The teen's father said that the use of the taser caused Mace to develop an elevated white blood cell count, leading to a fever that delayed the young man's otherwise immediate surgery by two days.

Ozark Police Capt. Thomas Rousset attempted to explain why the taser was used:

"He refused to comply with the officers and so the officers had to deploy their Tasers in order to subdue him. He is making incoherent statements; he's also making statements such as, 'Shoot cops, kill cops,' things like that. So there was cause for concern to the officers."

Ozark police say that while there remains unanswered questions in the case, the reason for the use of the Taser is not one of them.

Right. A kid lying on the ground with a broken back was allegedly saying "shoot cops, kill cops" so they had to taser him 19 times to "subdue" him. Sure, that makes sense.

What is it going to take to end this reign of terror? Every single day we hear of police officers somewhere tasering people who present no threat to them and who could easily be dealt with without shooting them with electricity to make them comply. In this case, it's perfectly obvious that the kid was injured and couldn't get up! The police interpreted that as non-compliance, which they seem to automatically use as an excuse to shoot citizens full of electricity these days.

The police do not have the right to torture people into compliance. We don't have laws against police brutality only when it leaves marks. We have laws against police brutality because the government is not allowed to physically hurt people except in self defense. This case is worse than most because the kid couldn't comply (after all, he had a fucking broken back) but it wouldn't make any difference if he didn't. Unless the cops' only alternative is deadly force, they aren't supposed to be shooting people full of electricity. Period.

I've been sympathetic to the idea that tasers can be useful and the cops simply need more training and stricter regulations. No more. The abuse is too widespread. These things are torture devices that we have empowered the government to use on us whenever they want to, no repercussions, no regulations. I've seen too many pictures of a group of uniforms holding someone on the ground, screaming in their faces, delivering electric shocks while the subject of their torture begs for them to stop. It's disgusting. Tasers need to be outlawed.


H/T to BD
.

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