I’ve seen a few more cases of taser… you know, some of it wasn’t meant to be abuse, but it sure turned out that way.
The problem is that tasers have been identified as “safe” tools. Far too many operational regs have the use of taser authorized for response to verbal resistance. In other words, “no, i won’t” earns “zaaaaap”. This level of use means it can be used quite casually – and it does get used that way, even when stopping to think about it should have brought a reality check. Case in point, this (hat tip Digby)
I’ve spoken and written in defense of officers trying to follow the rules. I know the nature of the job attracts bullies, and I know some get away with it, but most of the men and women I’ve known in the field are trying to do the right thing. And when in doubt they use the procedures – the training – they’re given. It’s a thin straw on which they rely, but it’s there. (I have no tolerance of those who go beyond the reg. If it turns out they caused injury by doing so, they should pay the price as any civilian would pay. Possibly more so, as they Should Know Better. ) The point, however, is that what’s needed is to re-classify these tools. They should be placed in the same portion of the use of force spectrum as clubs, and well above capsicum spray.
They’re causing too much harm. And those who tend to be bullies in blue get away with it because the rules say it’s ok.