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Are Tasers Truly Nonlethal Weapons?

Tasers are often called nonlethal weapons – useful police tools that can defuse violence without causing permanent injury.

But Monday’s death of a Bradenton man, Tasered after he ran from police, adds to the national list of fatalities associated with the electro-shock device.

This year alone, Taser deaths have occurred in several cities, including Detroit and Bay City, Mich.; Laredo and Fort Worth, Texas; Aurora, Colo.; and San Jose, Calif. Fatalities, while rare, often are linked to such factors as a suspect’s underlying health condition, intoxication, agitation or multiple shocks from the stun gun.

The medical data is ambiguous. But the deaths are real, providing a powerful argument for restraint and caution in the use of these devices.

In the Bradenton case, Derrick Humbert, the man who died reportedly had epilepsy. Police say he was stunned once after running from officers who pulled him over for lack of a light on his bicycle — a civil infraction. He was unarmed, and had a past criminal record. Other details won’t be made public until a formal review is complete.

    Nonviolent Situations

Like many law enforcement agencies, the Bradenton Police Department has a policy that sets certain limits on Taser use and requires periodic training.

Criteria for deploying the Taser can include the severity of the crime and the threat posed by a suspect, but much is left to officers’ discretion. The purpose of the Taser, the policy states, “is to effect the arrest of a suspect who is resisting, opposing, or attempting to flee from an officer.”

We recognize that law enforcement must make split-second decisions in a crisis and cannot ignore a fleeing suspect. But policies should encourage other methods, not Tasers, in Nonviolent Situations.

If no safety threat seems imminent and the crime is minor, why risk the possibility of a stun-gun-related death?

Such cases, though rare, leave grieving families, burdened police officers and sometimes costly litigation.

Charlotte, N.C., for example, recently agreed to a $625,000 out-of-court settlement “to the family of a 17-year-old who died after being shocked with a Taser by a police officer at a grocery store,” according to the Charlotte Observer. The Taser use was considered justified in the case, but the officer violated policy by holding the trigger down for 37 seconds, the Observer reported. The teen suffered cardiac arrest.

Less Lethal, But Still A Weapon

Law enforcement agencies, including Bradenton’s, should consider tighter restrictions on Taser use in low-threat situations. Clearer limits on multiple stun-gun shots should be included, as well as stronger guidelines on the complex question of what to do about underlying medical conditions.

To be sure, Tasers are far less lethal than firearms. But both are weapons that should never be used unnecessarily.

The question is whether the taser was used unnecessarily in the case of Derrick Humbert

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    Posted 4 years, 10 months ago at 7:12 am. Add a comment

    An 8 Day Old Girl Child Wasn’t Safe In Forrest City Arkansas

    Reginald Davis

    Reginald Davis

    In the film the color Purple, Sofia played by Oprah Winfrey stated that “A girl child ain’t safe in a family of men”. The film including that line has resonated with women regardless of race and ethnicity. Whether we want to admit to it or not, we all have a Color Purple story within our families. It was evidenced recently in MacKenzie Phillips revelation about the consensual incestuos relationship she had for ten years with her own father.

    We were all appalled at that story. Another appalling story has come to light, but has not made the national news like Papa John and MacKenzie Phillips.

    That story involves the rape of an 8 day baby girl by her 18 year father in Forrest City, Arkansas.

    The video above tells of how 18 year old Reginald Davis went to visit the girl and her 15 year old mother, and ended up beating and raping the 8 day old child.

    According to a police report, officers were called to the Forrest City, Arkansas Medical Center, September 1, 2008, about a baby that had been sexually assaulted. Forrest City police say the baby also had a skull fracture and had to be transferred to the Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock because of the severity of the injuries.

    Investigators say the father attacked the infant during a visit at her 15 year-old mother’s house. Police say other people were at the home at the time of the assault.

    Police say Davis had no criminal record since turning 18, but could not say whether Davis had a juvenile RAP Sheet. The information could not be released under Arkansas state law, said investigators.

    Police say the infant’s father, 18 year-old Reginald Davis, has been charged with Rape and Second-Degree Battery. The case is still under investigation and it is unknown if any other arrests will be made, said Forrest City Police.

    Davis is being held on a $100,000 bond.

    The Roman Polanski case has enlightened us on statutory rape.

    Interesting enough, section 261.5 of the California penal code, the very statute which Polanski plead guilty to was challenged as being Unconstitutional before the U.S. Supreme Court.

    The high court shot down the gender biased suit siting California’s compelling state interest in the prevention of teenage pregnancy.

    Teenage pregnancy is definitely an issue in the Davis case where there too is a statutory rape law.

    In Arkansas, a person commits statutory rape if the actor engages in sexual intercourse or
    deviate sexual activity with another person, not the person’s spouse, who is incapable of consent because they are (1) physically helpless, mentally defective or (2) mentally incapacitated; or (3) Who is less than fourteen (14) years of age; or
    (4) Who is less than eighteen (18) years of age, and the actor:
    (a) The victim’s guardian;
    (b) Uncle, aunt, grandparent or step-grandparent, grandparent by adoption;
    (c) Brother, sister or the whole or half-blood or by adoption;
    (d) Nephew, niece or first cousin.

    The actor must also be is at least four years older than the victim.

    There is no question as to Davis’ culpability in the case of his 8 day old daughter, but there could also be a case for rape
    with the mother of the child.

    It is reported that the mother is 15 years old. If he she was impregnated by Davis when she was 14, and Davis is closer to becoming 19, there may also be a charge for statutory case against Davis as to his baby’s Mama.

    The case is still being investigated.

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      Posted 4 years, 10 months ago at 6:38 am. Add a comment