Today in Tasering: And The Beat Goes On
Another day, another guy coincidentally dies after being Tased repeatedly.
A Statesville man died after being shocked multiple times by Tasers at the Iredell County jail over the weekend, sources say.
Anthony Davidson, 29, was unresponsive when he was taken to Iredell Memorial Hospital Saturday afternoon. He was put on life support and died late Sunday night, police said.
His death is the second Taser-related death this year in the Charlotte area. In March, 17-year-old Darryl Wayne Turner, died after Charlotte-Mecklenburg police used a Taser on him at a Food Lion store in Charlotte.
The incident began about 3 p.m. Saturday at a Statesville grocery store. Employees at the Food Lion on N.C. 115 told police they tried unsuccessfully to stop Davidson from leaving the store with a full cart of groceries after his debit card was declined. He left the parking lot without the groceries, police said.
When officers caught up with Davidson a short time later, he was carrying an Applebee's gift card from the store that hadn't been paid for, Anderson said.
Officers took Davidson to the Iredell County Jail where he appeared before a magistrate on a larceny charge. Davidson was behaving abnormally from the time officers first encountered him, Anderson said.
While being booked, Davidson became “physically aggressive and was communicating loudly,” Anderson said. That's when officers used one or more Tasers to get him “back under control,” police said.
A nurse who screened Davidson afterward told officers he needed further medical screening because he appeared to be “under the influence of some type of impairing substance.”
Paramedics took Davidson to the hospital Saturday. His condition continued to decline and he was unresponsive when he arrived, Anderson said. He was admitted to intensive care and was taken off life support about 10:30 p.m. Sunday.
Davidson's family said they weren't aware of him using or having a problem with drugs or alcohol... They said police told them Davidson fell while being subdued and may have hit his head.
An autopsy is scheduled later this week, Moore said.
Last month, the officer involved in the Charlotte Taser incident was cleared of criminal charges [So much for the Milgram Dodge, eh?] but was suspended for five days [wow!] for violating the department's policy when he continuously shocked Darryl Turner for 37 seconds, a factor that contributed to his death.
They tased him to "get him back under control". Everything I've been told by Taser defenders leads me to believe - and I have no reason to doubt them - that they think Tasers are necessary to prevent the use of lethal force.
There is no discernible reason why lethal force should have been used to "control" an unarmed suspect who is "physically aggressive" (can we see the video?) and "communicating loudly". I'm pretty sure everyone can agree on that. So why the hell did they Tase him? I am sympathetic to the argument that a Taser is less harmful than a billy club to the head, but the guy was in handcuffs, for christ's sake.
As Atticus Finch said to Jem, "Never point a gun at a man unless you intend to shoot him, and never shoot a man unless you intend to kill him," or something to that effect. A Taser may be less likely to kill than a gun but certain people will die from it and that fact seems to be ignored an awful lot in these discussions. Shooting someone with a Taser should be a direct, 1:1 substitute for shooting them with a bullet, without exception.
The naked guy standing in the shower with a towel did not require a bullet. Baron Pikes didn't require a bullet. The guy who wouldn't sign his speeding ticket didn't require a bullet. The Polish guy in the Vancouver airport didn't require a bullet. The kid with a broken back did not require a bullet. This guy did not require a bullet. I'm not convinced anyone who has died after being Tased has required a bullet. I'm sure that it makes the cops' jobs easier and safer for themselves if they Tase more people instead of wrestling them to the ground; I don't care. I'd like my job to be easier and safer, but I don't get to make the rules. The police do not have a right to a completely submissive citizenry and they should be prevented from trying to create one.
And if you don't think that's an accurate description of this cavalier attitude:
Taser-related deaths across North Carolina prompted a coalition to study Taser use. The N.C. Taser Safety Project surveyed the state's 100 sheriff's offices and found that 70 issued Tasers to some or all of its deputies, but many agencies lack clear policies about when and how they should be used.
...then what is? Replace "Tasers" with "guns" and it sounds like a story from Baghdad, doesn't it?