Police Force Being Questioned in California

Following an  incident in Cornonado, California, where a police officer tased a man not wearing his seatbelt, a federal appeals court is questioning the use of Tasers.  When is it appropriate to use the a Taser? Michael Gennaco, who has conducted internal reviews of Taser use for the LAPD, comments on the decision made in the 9th circuit ruling:

This decision talks about the need for an immediate threat. . . . Some departments allow Tasers in cases of passive resistance, such as protesters who won’t move,” he said. Tasering for “passive resistance is out the door now with this decision. Even resistance by tensing or bracing may not qualify.

Still, there is a need to question the use of Tasers all together. Can we trust the officer to use the Taser “appropriately” and only at a time when the person refuses to comply with the officer’s orders?  I don’t believe so.

The incident that prompted this court case involved a man who was stopped at a traffic light for not wearing his seatbelt. The driver, Carl Bryan, stepped out of his car to speak to the officer, Brian McPherson. The officer says Carl made a step towards him and the officer used a Taser. Carl Bryan hit the pavement hard, knocking out his front teeth and badly brusing his face.

As described by the Los Angeles Time:

a taser, which resemble handguns, can be fired from about 20 feet away and project two dartlike electrodes. The electrodes send an electrical charge coursing through the target — a shock that temporarily paralyzes the person’s muscles and causes extreme pain.

I would say this is excessive and unesscessary force abused by law enforcement all too often.

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