Please Taze Me, Bro
One of the most famous videos ever concerning the use of the Taser happened at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Sen. John Kerry was addressing a forum there when Andrew Meyer, a fourth-year undergraduate student, entered into a rant of sorts and was forcibly pulled away from the microphone. He resisted campus security and was subsequently arrested by University police. During the arrest, he was repeatedly asked to stop resisting. But as you can see and hear on this video, Meyer continued to struggle and scream for help. That’s when he was tasered by one of the officers. The infamous ‘‘Don’t tase me, bro!’’ video had over 7 million views.
In our article entitled ‘A Taser Is A Stun Gun But A Stun Gun Is Not Necessarily A Taser’ we explain the difference between an ordinary stun and a Taser. Tasers are used by over 17,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States and at least 11 countries around the world.
Here we examine four recent cases where civilians were shot and killed by police officers. Obviously, we do not know all the facts surrounding these incidents, but are limited by what we find in news stories. We ask a simple question “why weren’t nonlethal means such as tasers used in these incidents?”
In the first case that happened in Phoenix Arizona witnesses told police officers that Rumain Brisbon was selling drugs outside a convenience store. The officers called for backup and ordered Brisbon to show his hands. The suspect fled the scene but was caught a short time later. In the ensuing struggle a policeman believed he felt the handle of a gun. The policeman gave the suspect several commands to get on the ground but he refused to comply. The officer feared that Brisbon had a gun in his pocket and fired two rounds at the victim suspect. The suspect died at the scene. A shot from a Taser could have subdued the suspect.
In another incident that received much more attention involving Eric Garner police officer was accused of using a chokehold on Garner-a technique that the officer claimed he learned at the police academy. Garner was suspected of peddling loose cigarettes. The officer was attempting to take him into custody. The details of the grand jury hearing remain sealed. A public outcry has emerged because the grand jury refused to indict the officer. The medical examiner’s office ruled Garner’s death a homicide caused by “compression of the neck, compression of the chest, and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.” A shot from a Taser could have subdued the suspect.
And in the case that started it all back in Ferguson Missouri on August 9 white police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed black Michael Brown in a struggle between the two. Several witnesses claim that they saw Brown punch officer Wilson. Officer Wilson said that Mr. Brown fought for his gun. Wouldn’t a nonlethal Taser shot have worked to subdue Brown?
In another case that is nearly 4 years old an unarmed black man named Bernard Bailey in South Carolina was fatally shot by a white police chief. The ex-police chief is now being brought up on murder charges. The police chief was accused of escalating a confrontation instead of calling for backup or arresting the man on another day. Wouldn’t a nonlethal Taser shot have worked to subdue Bailey?
Our article entitled ‘Self-Defense – How Do Tasers Work?’ explains in great detail how tasers work and why they are nearly 100% effective. Check it out!
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Have you ever been tazed or used a Taser? Please share your experience. We want to hear your thoughts.