The founding fathers didn’t say “Arms, except for the weapons our military has” - They said “Arms
Tazered for not Giving Their License Fast Enough
Police Departments Uphold Use of Tasers in Traffic Stops
Police in Utah and Texas do not significantly punish police officers who use tasers on motorists accused of nothing more than speeding.
Police officials in Utah and Texas have cleared of wrong-doing officers caught on video using tasers against motorists accused of nothing more than speeding. Last month Jared Massey, 28, obtained and posted a YouTube video that showed him being tasered twice in the back by Utah Highway Patrol Trooper John Gardner while asking questions about why he was stopped (view video). In a press conference Friday, Utah Highway Patrol Superintendent Lance Davenport announced the result of its official inquiry into the incident.
“We have found Trooper Gardner’s actions were lawful and reasonable under the circumstances that he found himself in,” Davenport said.
Davenport did not believe the trooper violated a Utah law that requires a policeman to “inform the person being arrested of his intention, cause and authority to arrest him” (Utah Code 77-7-6). Gardner was placed on paid leave after a number of threatening, anonymous comments were left about him on various websites. Police in Saint Louis, Missouri took no action after similar threatening comments against a motorist were left on an unofficial police website used by Saint Louis area officers.
A second traffic stop tasering video recently surfaced in Austin, Texas. It showed a November 23, 2006 incident where Corporal Thomas O’Connor both stopped and tasered a driver within less than a minute. In May, Acting Police Chief Cathy Ellison imposed a three-day suspension on O’Connor for his conduct during the stop of motorist Eugene Snelling, 32, who had been driving his mother to a Thanksgiving meal that afternoon.
O’Connor claims he had paced Snelling, who was driving behind O’Connor, at 70 MPH in a 65 MPH zone and decided to pull him over because he had placed his rear license plate in the back window of his vehicle. Fifteen seconds into the stop, the following exchange occurred.
O’Connor: Let me see your drivers license and insurance.
Snelling: Whoa, whoa, whoa, let me get it.
O’Connor: No! Not, ‘whoa, whoa, whoa.’ Drivers license and insurance or get out of the vehicle.
O’Connor then ordered Snelling to “step out of the vehicle” while the trooper pointed a taser at the motorist. Seconds later, he fired while Snelling’s mother, in the passenger seat, watched, horrified. In a copy of an internal affairs interview redacted by police, O’Connor admitted to medical problems that suggest mental instability. (View interview, 470k PDF)
“Maybe I did come across as abrupt,” O’Connor said. “It’s 1:10 in the afternoon and I have [redacted] so I hadn’t eaten. And that is a problem when you get [redacted] is you’re, it makes you kind of edgy.”
Despite the light sanction he received, O’Connor wrote a memo to Chief Ellison that stated, “I must respectfully disagree with your decision that I violated ‘Use of Force’ policy.” O’Connor remains on active police duty.
Who’s Lethal? Police or Tasers.
On May 10, 2011, 43-year old Allen Kephart died after having a Taser applied to him multiple times by three San Bernardino, California, sheriff’s deputies during a routine traffic stop in Lake Arrowhead.
“I feel that my son was murdered, I feel that something has to be done about law enforcement,” says Alfred Kephart, who filed a wrongful death lawsuit in San Bernardino Superior Court, August 30, 2011.
High profile police related deaths like Allen Kepharts’ are pushing activists, families and courts to question whether Tasers or officers are to blame, but the answer to that question is a tricky one.
Numerous studies and reviews from the National Institute of Justice, Amnesty International and the Police Executive Research Forum have come to different conclusions on Tasers and how officers use them. A study in the American Heart Journal even revealed that studies funded by Taser International were “substantially more likely to conclude Tasers are safe.”
Former federal prosecutor Laurie Levenson says that when it comes to Tasers, safety depends on the circumstances in the case.
“We can remember back to the Rodney King case and in fact they did try to use a Taser there and it didn’t work, where we had police using so much force, it was almost lethal,” says Levenson. She points out that often questions of force from officers using Tasers come up after minor traffic violations.
According to Peter Bebring , staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, that is because when police are led to believe Tasers can’t cause harm, they “are more likely to use them in circumstances where they would never consider using more serious force, like a gun.”
Those types of circumstances led the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in October 2011, to look at more incidents involving Tasers and policing, one being the Tasing of a woman eight months into her pregnancy. The court found that when police use a stun gun it may be a violation of Constitutional law.
In the year 2000, around 5,000 law enforcement, correctional and military agencies were using Tasers, by 2011, that number climbed to 16,000.
About 6:33 minutes.
Written and produced by Paul Detrick. Associate producer is Tracy Oppenheimer.
Via - ReasonTV
BAMF of the Day: An LA Country Sheriff’s deputy reportedly attempted to intimidate an army war vet who used his cellphone to record the cop punching a mentally disabled woman on a bus in Bellflower, California.
“I think they would try to cover it up,” said Jermaine Green when asked why he refused to hand over the video to the deputies. “I think a lot of things get covered up and people need to come forward if they see something, report it because it can’t be fixed unless it’s brought to the public’s attention.”
A spokesman for the sheriff’s department would not comment or look at the video, but said they would investigate if an excessive use of force claim was filed.
[nbcla / thanks adam!]
The residents said the shooting killed one animal, injured another and put the tenants in danger of gunfire that left bullet holes in doors, walls and a wooden deck around 2 a.m. on New Year’s Day.Witness accounts of the shootings contradict the reports of officers and a supervising sergeant.
Danville Park resident Steven Shaddrix said police put others in danger.
One bullet passed through the front door of a neighbor’s apartment and struck a piece of furniture. The apartment was occupied at the time.
The officers’ reports said they opened an already cracked door to the apartment of John Haggamaker, whom they were seeking in relation to an altercation, when they encountered and killed Kevin Haggamaker’s 3-year-old boxer Ace.
Ace was inside John Haggamaker’s apartment with John’s beagle mix, Roscoe, also injured in the shooting, and his beagle, Remy.
The officers said when they pushed open the door, a growling dog came at them. They reported that they backed away as far as the landing of the stairway, and the dog charged.
“When that happened, Officer Hightower fired his Taser at the dog,” Crouch said. “That stopped the dog, but otherwise didn’t have any effect.
“The dog came at them again, and that was when Officer Birchfield fired (his gun). When Officer Birchfield fired, the dog ran back into the apartment.”
But the dog charged again, the officers said.
Next-door neighbor Hailey Brown said she went outside when she heard the commotion, saw police open the door and saw the dog come to the doorway.
“They started Tasering it as they backed up,” she said. “You could hear the dog whimpering. It wasn’t even being aggressive at that point. It was just hurt.”
Brown said she asked the officers to let her take the dog into her own apartment, but they refused and opened fire with their handguns.
Witnesses also said they didn’t believe the door was partially open because they heard police knocking loudly and repeatedly before opening it. Kevin Haggamaker said the dogs would have escaped if the door had been cracked.
“Nobody was in the apartment,” he said. “They opened the door and let the dogs out.”
Kevin Haggamaker described the CKC-registered dog as an “80-pound baby.” He said he didn’t see the shooting because his back was turned as the officer escorted him to the car.
“On the way to the cop car, I asked the officer that arrested me, ‘Don’t let them shoot my dog, please!,” Kevin Haggamaker said. “He’s just a big baby. He won’t hurt anybody.’
“He didn’t say anything. And then I heard gunshots.”
John Haggamaker said he was in the next apartment talking with Shaddrix when he heard gunshots.
“When I came out, I saw Ace,” John Haggamaker said. “I knew they had Taser-ed him. He had two wires going to him. He was clutched in a sitting position, had one paw in the air and was making a little howling sound like a dog in pain. … Ace was like five or six feet from the cops.”
Crouch said the arrest report states that John Haggamaker “confronted the officers, was loud, yelling obscenities and was extremely intoxicated.”
Witnesses, however, said John Haggamaker promptly obeyed the officer’s command to “get down.”
Crouch said that according to the report, the dog charged the officers a final time as Hightower was about to handcuff John Haggamaker.
That’s when both officers fired, killing the dog, Crouch said.
John Haggamaker said he heard more gunshots and saw Ace fall.
Kevin Haggermaker said that after he got out of jail, he collected Ace’s body from Decatur Animal Services. Ace appeared to have been shot between the eyes and in the right rear leg. A large chunk of flesh also was missing from his left rear leg, he said.
He had Ace cremated and keeps his remains on his nightstand.
At least one bullet struck Roscoe, the beagle mix, in his left front paw, though police said that was not intentional. Roscoe ran to the patrol car and leapt inside when Kitchens opened the door to put Kevin Haggamaker in the car. Police took him to a vet’s office for treatment.
John Haggermaker said Roscoe, whose left leg remained bandaged, apparently lost all but the two middle toes on that paw.
Shaddrix said he thinks the Haggamakers’ were out of line when they got into a fight with people attending a New Year’s Eve party, but that police also crossed a line.
“Especially a beagle,” he said. “A little beagle puppy comes out and they’re going to shoot it, too?”