Thursday, September 6, 2012

Another lethal shot from a non-lethal device

A man who died after he was stunned with a Taser by a Houston police officer this weekend had a drug addiction and lengthy criminal history, according to relatives.
And there you have it. Straight out of the police playbook after a suspect somehow ends up dead.

Another man tased. Another man dead without explanation.

The taser was promoted as nonlethal option for the police to use to control an unruly person. Of course the original idea was for the police to start off using the least amount of force and only escalate if necessary.

But, being that the first rule of policing is to make it home safely after the shift is over, it's more common for the police to start at the top of the force ladder and work their way down. That means instead of the taser being used as a last resort before the service revolver comes out, it becomes the default first mode of control.

Unfortunately not everyone is suited to be shot with a jolt of electricity. And the person on the firing end of the taser has no idea whether the person he's aiming it is a heart failure waiting to happen. But we certainly can't let folks go around questioning whether the police overreacted by firing a taser when a lesser alternative was available.

Nope. It can't be the fault of the guy with the badge. It must be the dead guy's fault. So out comes the dirt after the fact. Nevermind that none of the officers on the scene had any idea that Denis Chabot was an addict or that he had a criminal background.

The purpose of the statement at the beginning of this post is to trash Mr. Chabot so that the public doesn't start questioning the use of the taser. You don't want someone poking their nose around asking why the police were firing a taser running along the freeway. You don't want someone wondering why no one called medical personnel if Mr. Chabot seemed to be under the influence of something.

Why an officer decided to fire his taser at Mr. Chabot we will never know. All we know is that Mr. Chabot is dead. Needlessly.


Anonymous said...

The taser was never sold to the public as non-lethal. It was sold as less than lethal, always accomodating the possibility that someone on drugs, in poor health, or in minute other circumstances might react differently. The current city police Chief used to be directly in charge (no pun intended) of taser cases, having to personally review each one himself and sign off on them.

His conclusions were made public and it was found that of the several thousand taserings, every one was justifiable, in some cases, the use of firearms was also justified. In almost all cases, the use of tasers could be credited with saving a life, the very real possibility of excessive use still examined regularly. By all means look into their use and the details surrounding said use but do not expect perfection when those in distress often try their best to die or cause harm to others. When used improperly, deal with the cases as individual issues but painting with a broad brush is foolish.

Kimberly Stafford said...

This is a huge problem! Let me share an experience I had about 6 months ago. I was helping an abused woman with two small children get her belongings from her house one evening. The man who had been beating her was there in the front yard screaming and acting like a bully. We called the police ahead of time to ensure our safety while at the house. The police show up and walks directly up to the abusive boyfriend before even acknowledging our existence. Then they walk up to me stating that the boyfriend told them that I was a lesbian trying to take his girl away from him. I laughed and told them that was untrue, but I am a lesbian helping an abused friend. The police officers told us that they do not have to stand there while she gets her belongings and that I was not allowed to help her get them. I questioned them on why they would not just wait 10 minutes, and one of them was very rude and told me to get in my car and leave. I was afraid for the woman I was helping and asked him why he was acting like this. He pulled a taser out and held it to my chest and told me to leave! I have a heart problem and the taser would have probably killed me or put me in the hospital! I was calm and respectful, but was treated like a criminal!!!! What is the excuse for this kind of behavior? I have no respect for the Texas officers anymore. They kill innocent people and chalk it up as "work for the day". Who is here to protect the American citizens? Tax payers money goes to promoting the death of innocent Americans? Stop the militia and protect and serve the citizens!!!