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Hullabaloo


Friday, January 25, 2013

 
"The whole intent was not to kill him.  I was just trying to get this kid under control"

by digby

We need more monetary awards like this. It's the only thing that will change this torture culture:

The University of Cincinnati will pay $2 million and suspend the use of Tasers by university police as part of a settlement with the family of a student who died after being shocked with a Taser.

The settlement, obtained Wednesday by the Enquirer, also requires UC to create a memorial for the student, to provide free tuition to his siblings and to send a letter to the family expressing regret over the incident.

The student, Everette Howard Jr., died Aug. 6, 2011, after a confrontation with a UC police officer. A coroner’s investigation could not determine the cause of death, but Howard’s family and expert witnesses blamed the shock from the Taser.

Howard’s death and the uproar that followed thrust UC into an intensifying national debate over the safety and proper use of Tasers, which incapacitate suspects by sending 50,000 volts of electricity into the body.

Howard’s lawyer, Al Gerhardstein, described the $2 million settlement as “substantial” and said he hopes it causes other police departments to “be more cautious in their use of Tasers.”

Yes, that would be nice. This story is a good illustration of the problem with these things:

According to UC’s internal report, Haas encountered Howard around 2 a.m. when he responded to a call about a fight at Turner Hall. Witneses told the investigators Howard did not throw any punches in the fight and was trying to help a friend fend off attackers.

Haas encountered Howard again about an hour later when, according to UC police, Howard chased his friend’s attackers down Jefferson Avenue.

Haas said Howard walked toward him with fists clenched, shortly after he had been punching the ground. He said he worried the younger, athletic Howard might disarm him. “He was coming right at me,” Haas told the Enquirer in October.

He said one barb from his Taser hit Howard at belt level and another about midway up his chest. He said he immediately called paramedics when Howard was unresponsive after the shock.

Haas said this week that he remains on the UC police force but his police powers have been suspended. He said the internal investigation vindicated him and he is ready to return to duty, but UC officials will not allow it.

“The whole intent was not to kill him,” Haas said of Howard. “I was just trying to get this kid under control.”

I'm sure it wasn't trying to kill. But they kill people all the time and there's no way of knowing who it's going to be. This is one reason why they shouldn't be used, particularly in the willy nilly way the police are using them around the nation. They're dangerous, often lethal and, in my opinion, they are torture weapons used for authoritarian purposes. It's just not acceptable for an allegedly free country to be torturing and killing people on the single judgement of a police officer. All these patriots who are so worried about losing their 2nd Amendment rights ought to take a look at some of the other ones.


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