Dispatch from torture nation: Cattle prod edition
Another citizen killed with a taser. For being too tired to walk:
A Georgia man died after police shocked him with a Taser as many as 13 times because he said he was too tired to walk due to a foot chase, his attorney said this week.
Not that this has elicited even the slightest reconsideration of the use of these torture devices:
At a press conference on Tuesday, attorney Chris Stewart said that police records showed that East Point officers had discharged their Tasers 13 times to make Gregory Towns, who was handcuffed, get up and walk.
“This is a direct violation of their own rules,” Stewart explained, according to WSB-TV. “You cannot use a Taser to escort or prod a subject.”
“They used their Tasers as a cattle prod on Mr. Towns.”
Stewart said that he pieced together what led up to Towns’ April 11 death using official city records and eyewitness accounts.
“He wasn’t cursing. He wasn’t being abusive. He was saying, ‘I’m tired,’” the attorney pointed out.
Taser logs showed that Sgt. Marcus Eberhart fired his Taser 10 times, and officer Howard Weems pulled the trigger three times. However, the logs did not indicate how many times the Taser made contact with Towns.
In all, records indicated a total shock time of 47 seconds. Stewart called the situation “indefensible.”
Autopsy results obtained by WSB-TV showed that Towns’ death was ruled a homicide because the Taser shocks — combined with physical activity and heart disease — contributed to his death.
But Police Benevolent Association lawyers representing Weems continued to insist that the officer’s actions did not cause Towns to die.
I don't think that's been fully litigated actually. And sadly, I'm fairly sure that when it is, the result will not be good. (Read this op-ed by constitutional law professor Erwin Chemerinsky in today's NY Times to see why I say that.)
Attorney Dale Preiser issued a statement saying that the “use of drive stun to gain compliance is permitted under federal and Georgia law.”
Do we, as a nation, believe it's a good idea to allow torture to gain compliance? Because that's what this is.