Testing stronger tasers: how many more mentally ill people have to die?

Do What They Say

by digby

I guess they aren't electrocuting enough mentally ill people to death:

Five NYC police precincts are testing a new type of taser today after a the department's standard-issue taser failed to subdue a knife-wielding suspect and led to a fatal shooting Sunday morning.

On Sunday, police responded to a 911 call from 24-year-old Emmanuel Paulino. Paulino had told the 911 operator he was "ready to kill some cops," so they, um, dispatched some cops to his home in the Bronx. Police tried to subdue the knife-wielding Paulino with a taser, but he managed to pull one of the weapon's prongs out of his body and wound up being shot down after he continued to approach the officers.

The new taser model -- which NY1 says "can even penetrate two inches of clothing" -- is lighter and more powerful than the ones cops currently carry.

It's time for a heart to heart talk. If you are confronted by a police officer give yourself up immediately, do nothing at all to make him angry or believe that you are being uncooperative. Don't argue or fail in any way to follow his orders to the letter. They have permission to electrocute you for any reason and nobody will do anything about it. You have no rights in practice, only in theory, as long as this is true.

And if these new tasers are more powerful than the old ones then there's no telling how many more people are going to die. You can't know ahead of time if you have an underlying heart condition or some other physical impairment that might led itself to "excited delirium" the medical excuse for killing with tasers. (And some people have no underlying condition at all --- just an adrenaline rush, which any of us might have in a situation in which we are being threatened with death.) Don't let yourself be one of the casualties. It's not worth it.