Irresponsible Taser Use Puts Kids at Risk
A teenager was killed when he was tasered not once, but twice, by police officers after he allegedly became combative with them. There's really not enough information in this article to know whether the use of the taser in this case was appropriate, but it does represent yet another use of a taser on a child when there is little to no evidence about the risks associated with using tasers on children. In the first few weeks of my job here in Washington, I must have read at least three police reports where the officer used a taser on a child who was not attempting to harm the officer or any other person. In two of the cases, the child was running away from the officer. In the third case, the child was refusing to get out of the car he had been driving. I was appalled. My experience in Dallas County was that officers used tasers when they would have been otherwise authorized to use lethal force. If a suspect was refusing to put down a knife, or actually assaulting the officer. Here, they seem to use them so they don't have to run fast. It doesn't sound like they have any kind of department policy on when it is appropriate to use the taser. And, if they do have one, it doesn't seem to take into account the fact that there is little to no evidence suggesting that tasers are safe to use on children. As I've said when I blogged about taser use in the past, I fully support departments trying to find less violent and lethal methods of controlling uncooperative suspects. But, the overuse of tasers, especially on children who are not posing any direct threat to anyone, is not responsible. Not by a long shot.