Sunday, November 18, 2007

The casual use of force

The Robert Dziekanski tragedy is shining a light on some frightening little factoids about police use of tasers. Like this: Out of 563 cases recently reviewed, more than 3/4 of the people who were blasted with the 50,000 volt cop-toy were unarmed:

"Three out of four suspects stun-gunned by the RCMP were unarmed, indicates a review of 563 cases that shows Tasers are often used for compliance rather than to defuse major threats.

A Canadian Press analysis of Taser incidents reported by the Mounties reveals that more than 79 per cent of those zapped were not brandishing a weapon.

In just over one-fifth of cases, the suspect had a knife, bottle, club or other weapon."

That means the cops don't even have to feel like a situation is particularly threatening before they use a taser -- they could just be pissed off that you're not following their orders quickly enough. "Move along. I said move..." *ZAP* "along!" *ZAP* Hey, it works with cattle, doesn't it? Are we not cattle?? If not, we need to revisit the parameters of this weapon's use.