Writog? A writer-photographer. Citizen journalist. Unless indicated otherwise all content, text and images, here at www.writog.com (C) Copyright 2006 - 2017 Luke T. Bush
- Name: Luke T. Bush
- Location: Plattsburgh, New York, United States
Sunday, August 16, 2015
(C) 2015 Luke T. Bush
PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY – Aug. 16, 2015
Citizen T (to use an appropriate pseudonym) had a life-changing experience after being tased.
He hates cops. Intensely.
Lend him an ear and the vehemence behind his police criticism is evident. He says that he was unjustifiably tased by Plattsburgh City police officers during an encounter. Until recently most people hadn’t heard about such incidents.
A handheld Taser can discharge its electrical jolt directly or from some distance by shooting wired darts. The subject suffers NMI, neuromuscular incapacitation, AKA violent muscle spasms. The experience is summed up with the phrase "It hurts like hell." Such use is described as pain compliance.
(Note: I’m assuming the city police are using TASER International brand units due to the company’s dominant market share. There are other companies out there in the ECD – electronic control device – industry. The term “electronic control device” has a nice euphemistic quality, suggestive of a harmless TV remote control as opposed to an electrical weapon that knocks the shit outta ya.)
Stories and rumors about tasing incidents are circulating. Word on the street is that tasing is being over applied in Plattsburgh City. Any truth to it? Who knows since the municipal police department only investigates itself.
Yes, law enforcement officers need to be armed. The Officer Down Memorial Page lists 2014 Line of Duty Deaths with 47 killed by gunfire.
But as reported in the news an officer can overreact especially when using the latest weapons. At times it can be a problem of “The Boys Playing With New Toys” syndrome.
TASER International states its product is safer than bullets (lead or rubber). And it adds compared to wrestling someone to the ground tasing is still safer.
But some civilians claim that they were still physically mistreated after collapsing. Apparently tasing isn't the one-shot-does-it-all solution with every encounter. Cops might have to use fists and feet to control a shocked suspect.
Some deaths have occurred after tasing. Taser defenders say that this doesn't happen just from the weapon: a dead suspect had compromised health do to illegal drug use. He would die just as easily from a bullet wound.
At its website the American Civil Liberties Union states that 500 people since 2001 have died from being tased. [ Tasers No Longer a Non-Lethal Alternative for Law Enforcement. ]
Circulation, a journal published by the American Heart Association, offers a study with the self-explanatory title “Sudden Cardiac Arrest and Death Associated with Application of Shocks from a TASER Electronic Control Device.”
Originally called non-lethal Tasers are now being referred to as “less lethal.”
Besides death there’s the issue of severe injuries.
As part of their training officers are tased to know what the experience is like. Some of these officers from across the US have filed lawsuits, alleging they suffered injuries including fractured backs.
To address the issue locally a public forum is being planned with the Plattsburgh City PD. A location and time haven't been announced. Such a forum would discuss proper Taser training and use plus the safety claims. Also there will be discussion of the formation of a police conduct review board which would include citizen members.
The forum could be an opportunity to look beyond rumors and get the real story.
If not then unverified word on the street will have to suffice.