Police and the Use of Deadly Force
Monday, November 15, 2004
We have been discussing the use of force by police officers, deadly and non-deadly, in several of my classes. Then this morning I heard Mike Gallagher talking about a 6 year old boy in Florida who had been tasered. Here is an exceprt of the article from the Miami Herald:
Posted on Thu, Nov. 11, 2004It's stuff like this that makes me want to make changes to the way that policing is handled here in the U.S. I know that right now some of you are saying "Yeah, our officers shouldn't do stiff like that!"
Police used Taser gun to subdue 6-year-old student wielding piece of glass
BY SUSANNAH A. NESMITH
Miami-Dade police tasered a 6-year-old boy who was wielding a piece of glass in a school office and threatening to hurt himself, officials confirmed Thursday.
Police say they followed their own guidelines and only tasered the child because they were afraid he would hurt himself. But the incident has raised calls for the department tighten its policies regarding the use of the stun guns, which shoot 50,000 volts of electric current through a subject.
The incident happened on Oct. 20 at Kelsey Pharr Elementary School. The principal, Maria Mason, called 911 after the child, who has not been identified, broke a picture frame in the assistant principal's office. Then the boy began waving the piece of glass around, holding a security guard at bay.
Two Miami-Dade police officers responded, followed by a school police officer. When they got there, the boy already had a cut under his right eye and another on his hand from the glass. The three officers talked to the boy, trying to get him to put down the glass, according to a police report.
One of the officers slid a trash can to him, hoping he would throw the glass away if he didn't want to give it to any of the five adults there.
Then the officer contacted a supervisor to see if there was a policy specifically prohibiting the use of a stun gun on a child. There isn't, and the officer was told to do what she felt was necessary.
The two officers continued to try to talk to the child, who didn't respond.
Then he cut his own leg and the officers acted. One officer shocked him with the Taser while the other grabbed him, preventing him from falling on the ground.
There used to be what was called the "Fleeing Felon Rule." Basically, under this doctrine, a police officer could shoot a felon who was running away in order to stop them. As you can imagine this angered some people. Namely the people who were getting shot and their families. In the case of Tennessee vs Garner, that rule was changed. Now, the police officer has to have a reasonable belief that the felon will harm either themselves of someone else before the police officer can shoot at them. Yeah, I see the irony in hurting someone to stop them from hurting themselves.
You may be wondering how these two cases are related. Well, in my opinion, we should repeal the Tennessee vs Garner requirements, but we should give police rubber bullets instead of real ones. We should also expand the circumstances when police can fire their weapons. This way the police officers can just shoot someone in the ass with a rubber bullet. It would be cathartic to the officer. It would also reduce caseloads. More than likely after popping someone in the ass with a rubber bullet, the officer(s) would more than likely be lenient.
We could also have similar things for traffic violations. Say that you get pulled over for speeding. The officer gives you the option of taking the ticket or getting shot in the ass with a paintball gun from 15 feet away. I don't know about you, but I would take the paintball gun. We could even have the officers give you a towel to clean off with. Also, if the officer misses, then you get off without any warnings or anything. I think that it's a great plan.
If we had the "Shoot 'em in the Ass" plan that I just described, then the police could have just shot that uppity little 6 year old with a rubber bullet and it would have been over with. Teach that little punk about screwing with the police.
Posted byJ. R. Guinness at 3:23 PM