Vermont cop tases and tases a mentally ill homeless 59 year old woman

A cop in Barre, Vermont repeatedly tased Ann Osborn, a 59-year-old mentally ill homeless woman who was standing in a parking lot with her arms folded. "I could see that this was not getting any results so I pulled out the cartridge and went for a drive stun to Osborn's left thigh. This did have some affect and she screamed a little bit and went down on her buttocks, in the shrub area, next to the store at which time the Taser slipped off her thigh... Before Osborn could get up I was able to apply a second drive stun to her right thigh. This again kept her down and she began to scream. I advised her to roll over and place her hands behind her back, which she did and the Taser came off her leg losing contact again. Now Osborn was still screaming without the Taser being on her, and would still not put her hands behind her back. I again applied the drive stun to the back of her left thigh. Osborn finally complied, put her hands behind her back at which time I was able to get the handcuffs on her and take her into custody." (Thanks, Keyan!)


  1. Taser trumps logic!

    What are they teaching cops these days?

    Alas, my state has finally given in and is supplying Tasers over the next two years. And at the same time, several family friends have been rejected from the Police Academy because they’re “too smart”. (I’m not talking geniuses, here. I’m talking people with common sense – it is apparently no longer desirable in a Police Officer.)

    I remember the days when smiling and waving to an officer was met with a smile and a wave, not seen as a reason to stop and question you.

  2. In New Zealand, tasers are being phased in as well, and people with mental illnesses are listed alongside crims as possible targets. I can see, grudgingly where taser use might be considered acceptable in self defence, but against a woman with her arms crossed? Hardly! Apparently the police here will be/are getting tased themselves as part of their training, hopefully that will give them some sort of empathy. Not holding my breath on that one though.

    1. The taser should record the event’s duration and at the end of each day the administering cop should have to report back to the station to receive his own equal taser time.

  3. These stories get more and more disturbing. It’s like the people using the Tasers aren’t aware that they’re causing extreme pain. Tasing is assault unless you’re using it for self-defense.

    1. Hahahaha! Wrong! They know exactly how much pain they are causing and they like it. That’s why 99% of them are cops. And I don’t care about your one friend or relative who’s a cop and a “real nice guy.” You most likely only think that because you haven’t been on the wrong side of a taser from him yet.

  4. All M and X-based model Tasers record the date, time and length of each deployment. It is also part of most training components that to be certified to use and carry a Taser you must undergo a 2-5 second cycle (5-seconds is the standard length of any given deployment per single trigger pull) in probe mode and push-stun. I have undergone both multiple times and have absolutely no ill effects and have been able to carry about my day unaffected.

    Failing to obey the direction of a peace officer is a criminal offence – whether you’re an 18 year old punk or an 80 year old grandmother of five. Without the Taser, the way compliance is gained is through physical force. Would you rather the officer arm-barred this elderly woman to the ground to properly take her into custody or deployed a push-stun on a Taser? Quite frankly there is no easy way of gaining compliance from a resistant person – but it is a cold hard reality of the job and bears no direct relation to an officers intelligence.

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    1. “Failing to obey the direction of a peace officer is a criminal offence[sic]”

      What kind of sick police state do you live in? It is against the law to interfere with the justice of an officer, there is a HUGE difference.

    2. @CCC: this state uniformed bully should be trained to use reason in the execution of his duties. If the taser was his last resort then he is demonstrably incompetent. He was not under threat, and you are a troll.

    3. There are cops out there who view tasers as a magical gift from the techno-heavens that enables them to bypass things like properly evaluating the situation, learning appropriate social skills, or calling for people who have the training to deal with non-threatening situations without resort to violence.

      Seriously, to all the good, intelligent cops out there who really want to make the world a better place… we like you. We’d like like you a heck of a lot more if we occasionally heard you call out the other guys, like the ones who taser people out of laziness and/or ineptness, or who choose to instigate brawls in a peaceful protest, who break the little laws while hiding behind their shield, or just generally misuse the authority we have granted you all. We want to treat you with respect, but your “brothers” are making it hard, even though we know, consciously, that most of you are decent enough people trying to do a very difficult job.

    4. Do you really think that, if a Taser was not available in this case, this person would need to be arm-barred to the ground?

    5. Failing to obey the direction of a peace officer is a criminal offence.

      Then, like any other offenses the person may have committed, it should be added to the list of charges against them when they are prosecuted. Police don’t get to play judge and jury for other offenses. We have a judicial system for that.

    6. You may just be one rational “peace officer”, in a field that is being swamped with quota driven performance indicators, absurd laws, and an attitude that truly baffles.

      Police are not peace officers, they’re community servants. As I said… baffling.

    7. Good for you CCC, maybe you need a few more to understand that and “80 year old grandmother” is just that and 80 year old grandmother who in most likelihood could be,(and has been), controlled by a slight woman ,(my wife), with bare hands and NO F-ING violence!A pox on you and your house.

    8. And re: Getting on with your day after being Tased.

      Did you think about what medications you were on? Were you aware of that? Were you aware of any physical problems you had? Was there a big mat to fall on, or people to catch you?

      Confusing being Tased in a controlled environment as being comparable with what someone goes through when Tased by… you, well. What can you say.

    9. Why do US police have this obsession with people lying down to be handcuffed? Most competent police persons in other counntries seem to manage it standing up when the person is not resisting in any way. The “you must lie down or you are a non-compliant (disobedient) threat to be treated as if you are an armed and actively attacking perp” discipline, removes all judgement from the individual cop.
      A 59 year old unarmed woman, simply standing still? Robocop thinks all citizens are robo-perps = FAIL.

      1. Because it forces the “perp” to submit in a degrading way and makes it easier to inflict pain without being obvious.

    10. Ah, the inevitable Taser-Pig apologists.

      “Would you rather the officer arm-barred this elderly woman to the ground to properly take her into custody or deployed a push-stun on a Taser?”

      No, I would prefer that they not hurt an elderly, mentally ill woman standing with her arms folded at all.

      I would prefer that they prioritize protecting the public, ALL members of the public, regardless of mental capacity, above being obeyed at all costs. The purpose of the police is to protect the public, not to exert power over us and be obeyed.

      I would prefer that they accept a momentary stalemate sometimes.
      An elderly woman standing with her arms folded doesn’t sound like a threat to me. If they think they can take her somewhere where she can get treatment that would help her, they should stay with her until someone who has proper training in working with mentally ill people can persuade her to comply.

      These devices should only be used to prevent an act of violence because there is always a risk of death from their use, and I don’t mean a prevent a different act of violence by a cop saying “I shocked the old lady so with my Taser so I wouldn’t hit her with my baton.”

    11. Failing to obey the direction of a peace officer is a criminal offence – whether you’re an 18 year old punk or an 80 year old grandmother of five.

      Well that is a fucking terrifying thing to hear from a “peace officer”. No, failing to obey the directions of a “peace officer” is not a criminal offense. If you tell someone to jump off a bridge, they can rightly tell you to fuck off instead of jumping without any fear of criminal charges.

      Police have a limited set of powers that they can use to enforce the law. They can give a limited set of orders that must be complied with in executing the law. That is it. A shinny badge doesn’t give you ultimate authority over humanity.

      Finally, in this case, if a little old woman is giving you such a hard time, work out more. Every time you zap one of your fellow humans with one of these things you risk killing them. The risk of killing them goes up the older and more unhealthy they are. Awesome for you that it doesn’t cause your heart to stop, but big beefy middle aged males tend to be less inclined to have their hearts stop than old women. Yes, I would rather you spend a few extra moments wrestling grandma to the ground than checking to see if her heart can take a few seconds of an absurd amount of electricity being pumped through it.

    12. “Failing to obey the direction of a peace officer is a criminal offence – whether you’re an 18 year old punk or an 80 year old grandmother of five.”

      I challenge you to cite me any US (much less Vermont) law that makes “Failing to obey the direction of a peace officer” in all circumstances a criminal offence. Police officers are allowed to dictate a very small set of things to people, they are not given broad or general authority over anyone.

      So either you aren’t talking about US (or Vermont) law, or you’re deliberately mis-stating things, or you are flat-out a liar. I’m putting my bet on the second likelihood, though I’m not willing to discount the third option.

      -abs doesn’t like thugs who claim to possess authority they don’t actually have and you’re sounding pretty thuggish to me CCC

    13. yes, I do think he is a sick bastard. Respect for the law should be tempered with respect for your elders. Tasing a mentally handicapped person is similar to tasing a small child.

  5. @CCC said: “Without the Taser, the way compliance is gained is through physical force.”

    Which is a distinction without a difference. Both a equally disgusting.

    What really p*ss*s me off is that we know what makes neighbourhoods dangerous and unfriendly, read up on “broken window theory”. But what do we get? Frightened politicians and jackbooted police calling for more weapons, more pain, more punishment.

    The police have lost the respect that they once had from their communities, so the only way that they can get “compliance” is by hurting people.

    Sounds a lot like fascism to me. People protest against the big corporations, government, or (heaven forbid) have a mental illness? That’s ok, beat them with batons, shoot them with tasers, or (if you live in Australia, and are facing a mentally ill person and don’t have a taser yet), put a bullet in them. Works every time!

    I’m with jfrancis on this one. You want to pull the trigger. Then be prepared to share the experience. Perhaps it will make you think a little bit harder about other ways of resolving the situation.

  6. Hey, officer scumbag.
    Getting tazed for two seconds, with all of your friends around, and then falling onto a cushy mattress isn’t the same thing as being repeatedly tazed at some pig’s discretion, and falling face first onto the pavement, and then being handcuffed and spending a night in some piss-stained cell.
    So don’t act like you know what it’s like.

    Tazers are WEAPONS, just like nightsticks, or guns which fire rubber bullets, and they can easily be lethal.
    Should that officer have pulled out his gun and simply shot that woman dead because she didn’t obey him?
    Or perhaps there’s this lovely story about the 17 year old who had just broken his spine, and was sputtering and convulsing on the ground, who was repeatedly tazered for “non compliance”
    Would you have joined in the tazing fun?
    He was, after all, “non compliant”

    And there’s a plethora of cases of people who are having seizures, or are deaf, of being tazed.
    Restraining a non-compliant person SHOULD be hard, it shouldn’t be too easy.
    By making it so easy, it encourages force as a first option the moment someone doesn’t comply with an officers orders.

    The final talking point about why tazers suck is, why kind of a wussy man can’t restrain a 59 year old woman?
    Why is it that we only seem to hear about tazers being used against children, and the elderly?
    Any police officer who can’t arrest someone without the use of an electronic device is a coward and an epic failure.
    You really think it makes you special because you can hide behind a riot shield, and tazer something until it stops moving, and then put handcuffs on it and drag it back to the station?

  7. I was once a medic on a swat team, these were the biggest control freak cops on the force, the training was fun but the busts on suspected drug dealers was horrible, it took a few years but I quit. There is nothing like a large team and bashing in the door dressed in combat black packing rifles surprising the kids by dragging their parents away it all takes less than a minute for the blitz. American police culture spread by training events and Hollywood is spreading to the world, it is creating a society accepted class of super men who are apart from the rest. When judges and juries automatically believe the police in court, when police can use force or harass for failing the attitude test or failure to follow an order there is no freedom, even in North Korea the average person is not bothered by the police, it is those who cant follow simple orders.

    Democracy breaks down when the majority, sure in their belief of innocence as protection, authorize the police to use all means to eliminate the uncomfortable others from society.

  8. The use of Tasers in the US makes perfect sense if you look at their general attitude towards guns, and gun control: as a necessity that overpowers common sense, and the pretense that they will never be abused.

    Weapons will be abused. They say ‘guns kill people’, but take those guns away and it becomes a lot harder to kill people with a closed fist.

    It’s also a lot harder to abuse a Taser when you have to use force to subdue someone, and I rather get my arm twisted behind my back than getting tased.

    And a great point raised in the article: whatever happens then to civil disobedience?

  9. my number one issue with this is why she was being arrested in the first place. ie. ‘trespassing’. since when is standing in the parking lot in front of a convenience store ‘trespassing’?

  10. @CCC “Do you honestly think he got his jollies out of this?”

    Either that, or he just has ZERO compassion for other human beings, especially those with mental illness. More and more the job of policing seems to attract thugs, who, yes, might just enjoy causing other people pain. I went to school and worked with enough people like that. It’s safe to assume that some of them (perhaps attracted by the guns, batons, tasers, and license to bully) end up in the police force.

    You want people to “thinking rationally”? Thinking rationally is working out how to run your society so that the people who do the job of policing aren’t forced to torture citizens to get them to do the right thing.

    @dequeued: that story about the 17 year old nearly made me sick. Can you imagine lying on the ground with a broken foot and broken back (by definition un-able to move) having fallen 30 feet, having a bunch of cops standing around shooting you 19 times with tasers because they couldn’t think of anything else to do because you wouldn’t “comply”? (because you had a broken back). I can’t even begin to imagine what that would be like.

    I once asked a group of cops (who were standing around talking on the street) in Sydney (Australia) for directions to the city court house. “Over there” was as much as I got from them, if you discount the scowls. Then they all turned their backs on me and went back to their little chat. I’m just glad I didn’t really need their help.

  11. Tasers make me sick. If they were around when rodney king got beaten up he would have instead been tazed half to death and nobody would have gave a damn.

  12. @ccc “Without the taser the way compliance is gained is through physical force”

    Well, no, there’s also the option of persuasion. You know, a bit of engagement, a bit of psychology, treating them like a human being obstacle.

    Simply because you have the authority to use force doesn’t mean it’s your only option. That really should go without saying, but I guess it doesn’t. Yeah, it might be easier, but it doesn’t in any way excuse it. This guy, as acknowledged by his Chief, had multiple other options that didn’t involve arm-barring her, or tasing her, and didn’t use them.

    I suppose a case could be made that if one thinks that the only option, as you state, is between arm barring and tasing, then it’s possible the person in question isn’t capable of being trained to do something as subtle as persuade someone without force, but you know, I’d be willing to give you the benefit of the doubt ccc.

  13. It is a military attitude of breaking and destroying all obstacles which wins world wars but fails to serve the citizens of a free nation.

    If they were willing to wait until there were enough peace officers instead of playing lone die-hard hero there is enough strength to take most people down in a safe non-violent way.

  14. I don’t know if she’s mentally ill, but the cop appears to be. Follow the link. There’s a comment that quotes from the Barre P.D. Taser Policy Guidelines.

    “The Taser SHALL NOT be used in the following situations:
    (A) To awaken, escort, or gain compliance from passively resistant subjects. A Taser shall not be used in a punitive or coercive manner.”

  15. I remember reading and watching a variety of science fiction that had “neural whips” in them.

    Welcome to the future.

  16. “Failing to obey the direction of a peace officer is a criminal offence”

    Not in every jurisdiction it isn’t, and where it is there are limits, which with a moments reflection you’d realise given it’s faily obvious there are many things a ‘Peace Officer’ can’t legally tell you to do.

    If you’re not breaking any laws in most jurisdictions they can’t, without an imminent emergency, tell you to do anything.

    For any relatively free society to function the Police must have the consent of the policed to function – deploying dangerous weapons (tazers are implicated in over two hundred deaths) to force compliance will not encourage wider cooperation.

  17. CCC: “Do you honestly think he got his jollies out of this?”

    Well, yes. Absolutely. Tasers are supposed to be an alternative to lethal force, not a compliance tool. The officer was tasing this woman over and over because he didn’t feel like engaging with her or (at worst) struggling with her, not because he would have been justified in shooting her. Once she fell down and rolled face down, the subsequent tasings were all for his enjoyment.

    Daemon: Hear, hear.

    dainel: We’ll see if the Barre PD takes that policy seriously. If that officer is allowed to continue, they aren’t.

    1. “Tasers are supposed to be an alternative to lethal force, not a compliance tool.”

      Full stop.

    2. “We’ll see if the Barre PD takes that policy seriously.”
      She’s almost sixty, homeless and mentally ill. What’s gonna happen ? Who’d complain or take it any further ?
      Judging by the original article, that’s about as far as things are going to go.

      The one good thing in all this is that this charming and oh so excellent officer is, somehow, the only single one to have fired his tasers since the town got them. In August.
      Weird, huh ?
      Congrats to the other ones, for being either ubermensch with little need for such puny tools, or actual decent persons.

      Also, gotta love the fact that all happened in less than 10 minutes, and he never bothered calling for help, even though one of his colleagues was within eyesight.
      I fail to understand how anyone could defend that particular cop. Really.

      Lastly, thanks to dequeued for the link.
      That was the first time I got physically ill with disgust out of a mere article. Literally, too.

    3. “Once she fell down and rolled face down, the subsequent tasings were all for his enjoyment.”

      I agree completely. Looking at the story it truly does seem that he was getting a sadistic thrill out of some one’s painful reactions.

      Also, pain is not always a good way to gain compliance in the mentally ill because they may not understand where the pain is coming from or what you are communicating to them, especially if they have other disabilities.

      This is simply torture for sadistic pleasure. Her reactions, or rather the reactions he describes, are abnormal enough that I have no doubt he knew that his continued use of pain was not helping. I can only imagine the loathing and contempt he probably felt as he hurt this person repeatedly. It disgusts me.

      The cop is a loser, risk is a part of his job. Risk of being brutally attacked randomly by a police officer should NEVER be a concern for the rest of us.

      If he’s too scared to do his job he should go into accounting or some other field where you don’t get to use weapons on passively resistant people.

  18. Sorry, the title is wrong, this should read:
    “Mentally ill Vermont cop tases and tases a mentally ill homeless 59 year old woman”

  19. Look at the police chief in the picture. He looks like a reasonable chap, with his civil war era mustache.

    1. I meant, BRATTLEBORO, though some people who live there might get a laugh out of “Brattlebore”

  20. The thing I love about cops is that they can take one look at a situation and immediately know everything there is to know about it. They can know if that crazy homeless woman is armed or not. They know how she feels and if she wants to hurt them. They know her pain tolerance precisely, and exactly how to subdue her, and what level of force is necessary. Most of all they know that a bunch of people with the benefit of hindsight and who weren’t there will second-guess every decision they make if it turns out not to be objective, immediately-recognizable perfection.

    1. The only question that is relevant is “Would he have been justified in shooting her dead in this circumstance?”

      If not, he shouldn’t have tased her either. Ask that question for each time he tased her.

      It’s his job to take the risk. It’s his job to endanger himself as necessary (but not more than necessary). He doesn’t have the right to use a taser as a control device. Period.

      Sorry, your knee-jerk defense of whatever a cop chooses to do because geez they don’t know: FAIL

    2. Lobster, I am guessing you have never been in the field as a public safety officer. It is possible with an assistant or two to take nearly any passive person down and with enough help even take down a reasonably violent but unarmend person, even the mythical drugged up superman. The physics are simple, if you block their ability to step around and gain footing they will be unable to stand, this is reasonably easy and can be done in a reasonably gentle manner. Hindsight is not required, a trained police force with a caring culture is required.

      Back to the topic though
      For many years I have belived that most current police forces should be pensioned off because of the sometimes well meaning but mostly control freak people the profession as it is designed now draws, they might be replaced with an enlarged fire or EMS force who would now be tasked to all emergency calls who are required to keep their weapons locked on their response vehicles except on orders from their unit officer. Fast cop cars lead to fun police chases, a fire engine and ambulance on the other hand means you arrive with one to five backups and a supervisor who can cool down hotheaded rookies.

      If you are curious about the cultural and personality issues inherent in most police job seekers speak to nearly any psychologist or psyche professor. It is the power that draws this personality cluster, the nature of the job and the permission we give as a society must be changed to attract a better police officer candidate.

      1. So much wisdom from so few words. You are truly a visionary!

        It seems to me that we, as citizens, must demand better
        training, mental capacity, and accountibility of our law enforcement officers before technology inflates their power even more.

  21. What is your name? *tase* Turn around *tase* Turn your head and cough *tase*

    If you can’t do your job without having to use a crutch then you should be fired. This cop is incompetent and a threat to the community.

  22. If only she’d said something pithy like “Don’t tase me, bro.” She’d be getting way more press.

    It’s sad to me how hard it is for us to have a constructive conversation about LEO tactics and interactions with the public.

    I agree with the above commentary that Tasers are meant to be an alternative to lethal force and most guidelines do state, as above, that they’re not meant to be used as coercive tools.

  23. All the stories about tazer-trigger-happy cops these days…
    they make my ‘naughty police girl’ fantasies hurt more than they tickle…

  24. Jeebles. What a lovely story. It sounds like the Vermont police have a lot in common with the British Columbia RCMP, though these Vermontese are perhaps more timid. The two forces should get together for a shindig, BBQ, and booze-up; trade war stories of beating up on homeless folks and the mentally ill.

    Here in BC our manly RCMP not only taze people for simply failing to pay their fare on public transit, but they kill folks too, including a confused, lost, and frightened Polish guy — Robert Dziekanski — who couldn’t speak English.

    What a sick society our Western so-called democracies are become.

  25. Cory,
    I think you have identified an extremely important thread that should be allowed to accumulate under the tag “Authoritarianism.” We may be seeing an increase in the misinterpretation of authority growing from a surge in the merchandising of fear.

    Thank you for this and earlier posts on the subject.


  26. I lived in Barre City for about five years. It’s a weird little town. Because of the way the courts and state services are set up, this is the place where most of the parolees, furlough-ees and mental patients for the mid-state area end up.

    The police under Chief Bombardier definitely operate under a siege mentality, and there are loads of community relations problems. Every car in town gets broken into at least once a year, we had the biggest drug bust in Vermont history a few years back, a rash of dumpster fires last year. Someone also bashed in the windshields on six or seven postal trucks in the middle of downtown… no prosecution. At the same time, the police can’t be bothered to actually drive up and down main street (they take shortcuts around downtown) where people might see that they’re doing their jobs.

    Also, our mayor once choked out Santa Clause.

  27. @CCC sez

    It is also part of most training components that to be certified to use and carry a Taser you must undergo a 2-5 second cycle.

    While this is probably patently false (TASER International also does not require officers to be exposed to a TASER device to be certified as a User.), wouldn’t it be great if we extended this concept to other means of ensuring “compliance” like, you know, batons, sidearms, shotguns… Problem solved.

  28. Please remember that “TASER” is a registered trademark of TASER International.

    The continuous and increasing use of “taser” as a generic term risks trademark dilution and the commensurate devaluation of TASER International’s business interests.

    I would like to submit the more descriptive and accurate term, “AGONY GUN”, as an acceptable substitute.

  29. Police are even using tasers on children, who’ve done nothing wrong, while they are in classrooms at school. They call them Taser “demonstrations.” Ethic Soup blog has a post on minority kids and special needs students being Tasered by a cop in class ‘demos’ — not once, or twice, but repeatedly. Every month or so, the same uniformed cop comes in classroom, picks out same kids, and Tasers them. In fact, the cop even put down newspapers under one child to keep floor clean should the kid defecate when Tasered. Oh yes, there were several teachers and the school principal present who watched and did nothing to protect the children. The Ethic Soup article, “Special needs kids tasered by cop in class demos: not once, not twice, but three different times” is worth a read. This kind of sadistic treatment towards kids with disabilities and minority races, coming from the people who are sworn to protect them, is unbelievably sick!

  30. Here’s my take…
    Used to be you had a baton and a gun. When you couldn’t talk em down, you used the baton and there are a hundred ways to use this useful device – clubbing people with it only being one of them. If a cop resorted to using his gun against an unarmed person, it was considered a huge failure on the cop’s part.

    I am personally PRO gun and ANTI violence and certainly ANTI Taser. They’re just too easy to use and their REPEATED use only serves to make cops more likely to use a device instead of their brains. If we took away the Tasers now, we would just see a massive rise in shootings. Whereas my grandfather’s policeman was a street smart guy who would rather talk you out of a situation than hurt you, my son’s cop will incapacitate first and leave the questions for the jail.

    “non-lethal” (HA!) weapons just give police more of an excuse to USE weapons. Poorly handled all around.

  31. I actually think CCC has proven to be far more level headed than most of the other comments here. I’m rather surprised (and disgusted) at how many of you are willing to condemn an entire group of people because some are bad.

    I’ve found that when the cop-hating gets this heated, there isn’t an argument in the world that would change any minds so I won’t bother with more than that but man, some of the comments above are way over the edge.

    1. I hear you about the cop hating, but, they bring it on themselves when they support and defend each other at all costs. They don’t get fired unless someone dies, and then, they don’t go to jail.

  32. I lived in San Diego from 1996 to 2005. Towards the end of the 90’s I remember one year in particular when I got really uncomfortable with the regularity of police shootings of unarmed or minimally armed civilians. The violence shocked me at a fairly young age, these deaths were not one fatal bullet but quite often 17 bullets. One woman brandished a thin stick in a parking lot. There were multiple officers present, if I remember correctly, yet they shot her repeatedly when she wouldn’t put down the stick. In another a homeless man had a butter knife (which the police knew was a butter knife because they saw him run into a restaurant and grab it off the table) and again a team of officers killed him very dead with multiple bullets.

    Here is a summary, and there is a nice info-graphic image you can click on. The ethnic composition of the victims looks unbiased enough, but remember that the mentally ill compose a great number of these fatalities:

    Anyway, I remember being shocked, and then frustrated when my friends and neighbors just shrugged and acted like this was normal. Perhaps, today the police in San Diego are using tasers, and hopefully the death toll is going down. But, it’s still wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong, and frighteningly small-sighted. Comments abound which present a binary: is it better to taser a non-compliant person or just shoot them? This is the rhetorical equivalent of “Have you stopped beating your wife?”. As many above have mentioned, it would have to be an extraordinary case where either of those responses was justified.

    I have thought about it over and over since then and this is what I’ve come up with:


    Think of your favorite bar or club. Think of the guy who may be getting paid less than minimum wage, under the table, part time, or in the case of some of my favorite venues, paid only in free drinks and promises. Now, how is this guy able to handle so many drunk, drugged, angry, violent and sometimes armed or crazy people without using a gun or a taser? What do they do? At my haunts, it’s usually a mix of a respectable bearing, a cool demeanor, some wrestling and the occasional punch, when the rabblerouser can’t simply be talked into leaving. So, why are full-time, professional, civil servants with benefits packages and lots of training under their belts (no pun intended) so unable to do at least as well as Marty at the Hog’s Breath Saloon? Why?

    I suspect insurance is at least part of the picture. When departments consider the costs if an officer gets hurt, it becomes more cost effective to do things with guns or tasers. So, it’s total submission or whatever force is necessary to achieve total submission with very low risk to the officer. Professional officers using less expert and nuanced strategies than corner bar bouncers.

    Yes, BoingBoing, let’s make a category called “authoritarianism”. And “preposterous physics”, such as the idea that multiple police officers are unable to handcuff an elderly woman without tasing her, the idea that multiple officers could not gain the advantage over a twig or butter knife, that an airplane pilot and copilot, flight crew of 5, and manifest of over a hundred people would all elect to die in a crash rather than be poked by my [now confiscated]nail clippers.

    Quite a rant, I’m done now. If any readers actually made it this far down, I appreciate your time and interest, and am curious to hear what you think.

  33. Someone should tase his ma a few times. I can’t believe a full grown man can’t take an old woman into custudy w/o usind such a terrible weapon.

  34. If you were out of touch with reality, minding your own business, and suddenly felt overwhelming pain… what would your reaction be? I know mine, I’d do ANYTHING to stop the pain, no matter what was causing it, be it cop or moron with a flea market stun gun. Something as abstract as “compliance” is meaningless when you’ve been attacked. It’s ingrained in us deeply, the so called “fight or flight” response. Yet, when a child starts stabbing a large dog with a sharp stick, we still blame the dog for trying to stop them.
    Police across the nation are getting out of control. I live in a rural community and one officer here drew his firearm and aimed it at a motorist for following his orders. He asked for his registration, which was in the glove box, so he complied and reached for it. Almost got shot for following a reasonable request. After that, when I’ve been pulled over, I make them go around the car and get it themselves out of fear for my life. These days, I’d probably get tased for even that.
    Of course, I could write pages and pages on the corruption and ineptitude of the police in my region, but it would just be an exercise in necrobestial sadism.

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