21 January 2010

Tasers, yet again

I wrote here about a court ruling that seemed to limit Taser use. Apparently, Taser International somewhat disagrees with this (very common) view of the court ruling, saying that it does not levy any new restrictions on the use of Tasers, but merely holds up the restrictions that have long been in place.

Instead it reminds cops "an officer must consider the totality of the circumstances, including “the severity of the crime at issue, whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others, and whether he is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight” and "An officer must consider what other tactics if any were available to effect the arrest, and other less intrusive tactics that would have been available to effect the arrest and be able to articulate them in an arrest or force report".

The whole point, however, is that most cops don't consider any of those factors and still get away with Tasering 11 year olds and old grannies, and get away with it. Until now, they've gotten away with tasering unconscious people having seizures (though admittedly, that one's in court). Taser International's own words are new restrictions as far as some cops seem to be concerned. Those restrictions are at the least a necessary beginning. We'll have to see what the courts keep saying.

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