Cops Killing People with Taser Guns

Daphon mentioned this topic on Midweek Mayhem and I thought it would make a good topic for discussion.

Taser guns were introduced with the intention of providing police with a more effective method of rendering an individual powerless in comparison to capsicum spray and a less lethal force than a sidearm.

However in recent months there have been a number of “incidents” involving the use of taser guns by police and in particular, reports in the media that they are being used innappropriately – where the individual does not pose a significant threat to warrant the use of a taser gun, and more recently the death of an individual who has allegedly been stunned 28 times by a police office weilding a taser gun in Queensland earlier this month.

According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald Queensland Police say data downloaded from the Taser used on a 39-year-old Antonio Galeano in Brandon, near Townsville, showed it operated on 28 separate cycles at the incident on June 12.

In a statement, Queensland Police said they were analysing the Taser to determine how many of those 28 cycles involved Galeano.

Deputy Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said it was unclear if the man had been shot that many times.

“We are yet to understand exactly what those activations were – whether they were being fired or whether it was … placed against an object or person,” Mr Stewart told ABC Radio.

He said one cycle lasted up to five seconds but there was no standard on how many times it should be triggered.

“There is no specific guideline that restricts the number of times the trigger can be pulled,” Mr Stewart told ABC Radio.

However, a criminal justice expert said one shot was enough to disable someone.

Criminologist and RMIT Professor Julian Bondy says the incident raises questions over why Tasers are so powerful.

We don’t issue frontline police with firearms with a thousand bullets, we don’t issue them with capsicum spray the size of fire extinguishers,” he said.

“Every other weapon they have is limited in its capacity but this one is out of proportion.”

Queensland Police Union acting president Ian Leavers said he was baffled by the data.

“At first it was believed the man was tasered three times, now this figure that’s come out is baffling,” he said.

A coroner is presently investigating the death. However this case does raise a number of questions. If, criminal expert Professor Julian Bondy maintains that one shot is sufficient to disable someone, then why did the officer concerned fire three times?

If it does turn out that the taser was fired 28 times then we really ought to question the intellect of the sorts of people who are allowed to carry these lethal weapons.

They were supposed to be an alternative to lethal force, but it looks like they’re just an additional lethal weapon.

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63 Responses

  1. and this from The Straylian …

    The Queensland death comes just two months after an Alice Springs man died in custody following the use of capsicum spray and a Taser on him during a domestic dispute.

    It also follows the launch of an investigation at the weekend in NSW after new CCTV footage appeared to contradict a police report clearing officers over the Taser shooting of a Sydney man on March 29.

    In May 2002, NSW man Gary Pearce died of a heart attack about two weeks after being shot with a stun gun when he threatened police with a frying pan.

    A “frying pan?” The police were scared shitless of someone weilding a frying pan?? So much so, that they had to kill him.

    Jesus, I wonder what they would’ve done if he’d come at them with an egg whisk?

  2. I’m not sure how the system works these days, but it seems that many police officers these days are physically unfit. So what one might ask. But as per Reb’s example there is obviously an inability to subdue a person in a fairly minor situation without the use of potentially lethal force.

    Given that a person was shot 28 times with a taser I would also query the psych tests viz recruitment in the state’s police forces. Psych tests are very rigorous in the armed services in an attempt to weed out the I want to Kill the bad guys type of people.

  3. It is not about the weapon, it is the training.

    Every time I hear of a person been shot dead by a cop it makes me sick as I know that this should not be the case…it is murder!

    “Oh, but he was going to attack me with a knife” does not cut it…if I had to defend myself I would aim at the thigh, foot or shatter their knee cap, they might walk with a limp for the rest of their life but at least they have a life!

    Another thing that gets to me is the wimps we have that are cops, in my day the cops could handle themselves in a situation without drawing a weapon.

    Now that they have their new age people/cattle prods expect more to die because of the cop’s gutless ineptitude.

  4. I agree scaper.

    Some of these cops are only in their early twenties, and it’s been psychologically proven, that for males anyway, the brain does not fully develop until the age of 27.

    Before reaching that age, males are likely to engage in high risk behaviour.

    Which makes me think that a lot of these cops are like loose cannons swaggering down the street like John Wayne just itching for the chance to aim a weapon at someone..

  5. I have always been puzzled as to why the police force(s) don’t (rigorously) train their “front line” officers in unarmed combat/martial arts, especially with respect to the use of the “long batons” with a 90 degree offset.

    In the hands of a “trained” person these are very effective weapons for disarming anyone with an edged or blunt weapon, but fall well short of the use of “lethal force” (unless used to repeatedly “bash” a victim).

    Many of the instances of reported killings by police revolve around mentally unstable people “freaking out” and self harming etc., but when the “remedy” of subduing such people involves killing them (or the application of potentially lethal force/methods), it all seems a bit much.

  6. It seems to me that policing has become, at least over the past decade a matter of intellectual expertise aka qualifications/university degree rather than the psychological suitability of the applicant. And of course one does not necessarily mean the other. From: http://www.police.nsw.gov.au/recruitment/police_training_and_education

  7. There was a video I watched earlier this week (or perhaps last week) taken by a CCTV camera in Oxford St Sydney. It showed a guy who appeared to be, from the video, nothing more than happy drunk who admittedly probably wasn’t taking the cops’ orders seriously. He was Tasered, twice I think.

    Now what was very interesting about this story was that the CCTV footage was in direct contrast to the official report of the officers attending the incident. The difference would not have become known if it hadn’t been for the camera.

    The comment above about the physical unfitness of police officers rings true for me. I see so many fat police walking around that I wonder how in hell they could ever chase a suspect or physically subdue. Surely if there is a physical fitness requirement it’s not enforced.

    Finally I personally know three police officers who are on prescribed anti-depressants. Knowing them I would much prefer these three didn’t have guns or access to Tasers!

    I will continue to try and find where I saw that video (I thought it was the SMH but haven’t found it there).

  8. And a bit clearer here:

    http://www.thevine.com.au/tv/news/tasered-on-oxford-street.aspx

    Does this guy really seem to be a threat with all those cops?

  9. The same cops on Oxford St that confronted me when I was watching them in action a few month ago… watching how the were working as a gang to intimidate us on the street – making the gays out to be the evil ones and not the thugs who yell abuse at us and bash us on the back streets.

    They got upset that I was taking notes about what they were doing.

  10. There are a couple of sides to this subject, with an enormous amount of grey in between.

    1. I would absolutely hate to be a cop. Their hours, their workload including useless paperwork, their shitty pay rates, and mostly the abuse thay have to tolerate from drunken or smart arse idiots with the extreme situations of being spat on or urine flung at them is something no human should have to tolerate in the course of their employment. And I wish that side of it got as much coverage as the other.

    2. There is no doubt that there is an element within the force of some officers who are attracted to the job by the power it gives them over others. These are the ones that lie in court to gain a conviction, physically impose themselves on relatively harmless drunks, and on occasion, use their weapons beyond that necessary to diffuse a situation. I cannot imagine how a teenage boy can be gunned down because he is in possession of a knife. Nor can I imagine how a person can need to be tasered 28 times, although I’m not certain that a heart attack some weeks later was necessarily caused by that.

  11. In the US tasers are increasingly being used to force compliance with orders, rather than only in potentially life-threatening situations when a gun would previously have been used. The attitude seems to be that “it’s not lethal, so we can use it when we feel like it”. This is a dangerous development.

  12. According to an Amnesty International report in December, 334 people shocked with Tasers by law enforcement died in the United States between June 2001 and August 2008.

  13. Joni..this is one of the things implied about psychological testing for police officer candidates.

    And agreed James, much the same as ambulance officers.

    I should own up to having 2 uncles who were Inspectors of Police in Victoria. Geoff Lucas, District Inspector Frankston and Eric Senior, Inspector in Charge Traffic Police.

  14. “…or urine flung at them…”

    Do you mean that there are people walking around armed with pre-packaged bags of urine, just in case they happen to bump into a police officer?”

    Fascinating.

  15. Loth..I think that this gets us back to Daphon/Reb’s link, that there are no guidelines about how taser’s are to be used

    there was no standard on how many times it should be triggered.

    and so it would seem that lack of training in the use of the weapon..or perhaps failure to recognise that this is indeed a weapon, is a problem that is only just surfacing.

  16. Daphon

    Thanks for the Oxford Street video.

    For my money, that cop is likely gone a million in any civil suit.

    The victim was clearly walking away from him at the time he was tasered in the back from several feet away. He couldn’t possible have constituted any sort of threat to the copper at the time he was first tasered. He clearly turned his head just before the copper went after him (and possibly said something not to the copper’s liking) but that could not possibly excuse the copper’s subsequent assault upon him with a weapon. Any subsequent tasering is, of course, just sheer punishment and no doubt a Court will see it as such.

    Provided he wasn’t already in custody and trying to escape, there can be no justification for what’s on that video.

    Looks like the Police buget is going to take another hit. He’ll probably get exemplary damages, too. Ouch.

    You speak in one post of the fact that the apparent police misconduct on this occasion might not have become known had it not been for the CCTV. Quite so.

    I’m coming around to the view that perhaps we should have a UK style system of CCTV camers throughout the city (or certainly in hotspots like Oxford Street and The Rocks). Sure, there are significant civil liberties issues, but if these cameras help catch the perpetrators of violent attacks in the act (be they the police or anyone else) , that can only be a good thing.

  17. I think the whole image of police, at least in NSW, needs to change.

    Whatever happened to proper uniforms? Now they were the overalls things, combat boots, baseball caps … they try to look as much like SS soldiers as they can.

    Get them out of the dark uniforms and into lighter coloured ones that might appeal less to the Rambo types.

    Change the name Police Force back to Police Service.

    Get rid of the sniffer dogs at least from entertainment precincts like Oxford St where they do nothing but harass people. Get the cops onto real police work like catching the importers and major dealers.

    Sorry, I’m off on a tangent … too many memories of police and Oxford Street dating back to the late 60s.

  18. Well, Reb, there are people who turn up to Economic Forums with pre-packaged bags or water pistols filled with urine, yes. And those people deserve what they get.

  19. That’s remarkable James. I had no idea that sort of thing went on (seriously).

    Coming back to the topic.

    I recall seeing another incident where the cops started bashing this homeless guy who was doing nothing but sitting on a park bench when the cops asked that “he moved on”.

    He was just sitting there doing nobody any harm, but was obviously a bit far gone to comprehend what the cops were saying.

    The cops ended up dragging him off the park bench and started sinking the boot in.

    A couple of guys that witnessed the incident approached the cops and complained that he didn’t deserve that sort of treatment. The cops then threatened those two guys with arrest for obstruction.

    The whole thing was caught on CCTV and that was the only way in which those cops concerned were held to account.

    It seems that the cops these days think that they’re a law unto themselves.

    I agree with Evan that a UK style system of cameras on every major city street corner would be a good thing, if for the fact that it saves innocent people from being harassed by the cops and also helps to identify genuine thugs.

  20. For mine it is not the use of whatever the police are given to do their jobs, and I’m for tasers.

    The one thing overlooked in all these incidents, and that is regularly shoved aside or minimised, is how in the end what occurs is so much different to the original “official” police report and/or investigation.

    There appears to be a systemic cover up of investigations and falsification of police reporting that police oversight is but picking up a scattering of infractions, and only when it becomes public through some outside agency or happenstance. This to me is where the problem lies and where across the board, all jurisdictions, states and levels thorough and open investigation should be taking place.

    If allowed to pass at even the most minor levels this sort of practice undermines the entire law and order system of this country and corruption at the highest level becomes easier to get away with.

    Just look at Victorian police for replacement windows scam and the debacle of the cover up of the death in police custody of Cameron Doomadgee as just two examples at both ends of the severity spectrum, of the many dozens that keep cropping up.

  21. reb, remember Jeff Kennett’s sanctioning the use of horizontal and jabbing baton charges against peacefully protesting teachers, even when there were children present?

    It was only regular video footage appearing on news bulletins of the blatant overuse of terrible force against mostly women that eventually had this practice stopped, much to the protest of Kennett.

  22. Remember this from 2007 Sydney APEC:

    http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=294390

    Police are a law unto themselves. They’re only accountable if they get caught which is one of the benefits these days of mobile phone cameras.

    Who really polices the police?

  23. To be honest, I don’t remember that Mobius, but it’s a bloody disgrace.

    Everybody knows that the Victorian police force are the most trigger happy in the nation.

    Me thinks these Tasers just give all the cops an excuse to pretend like they’re drawing a “real firearm” under the guise of it being “less lethal”.

  24. reb, it was at Richmond Secondary College which Kennett had closed down but they kept running despite that. Kennett ordered the police in on about 30 protesters. The police used jabbing batons from a moving phalanx and the teachers, mostly women had nowhere to retreat to so bore the full brunt of the thrusting batons.
    Some protesters were seriously injured and sometime later they all received compensation for unwarranted force perpetrated against them. I think from memory the payout was in the hundreds of thousands.

    Kennett also authorised a dangerous type of headlock neck pinch hold.

  25. Adrian, got to hand it to you, you sure know how to spin a thread to your obvious hatred of all things Coalition!

    I suppose Kennett flew up to Townsville and instructed the cop to fire twenty eight times too?

    UNBELIEVABLE!!!

  26. Sound like officers haven’t been warned of the dangers of ‘overkill’

    Simple really, I’d imagine being hit three times would be more painful than than being shot with a handgun :

    He was blasted with three Taser shots of 1200 volts.
    He died just 30 minutes later.

    Stun gun rollout on hold
    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25642557-2702,00.html
    THE rollout of Tasers to Queensland police has been frozen as it emerged officers last week repeatedly shot a man, who later died, against the warnings and training by the stun gun’s American manufacturers that multiple use on a person is dangerous

    I’m assuming that multiple hits from tasers as opposed to a single hit could have fatal consequences. The aim is to immobilise temporarily (and not fry) in order to allow officers to apprehend the offender.

    Another issue surrounding police training: how many sieges or armed stand-offs involve someone with a mental illness? I’m willing to bet around 70-80%

    Yet it’s reported that “Five years ago Jane Moses, the only psychiatrist employed to teach trainees at the Police Academy at Goulburn how to deal with mental health patients, was forced to take redundancy after 15 years in the job.

    Elijah Holcombe police shooting witness bombshell
    http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,25628560-5006009,00.html
    WITNESSES to the fatal police shooting of Elijah Holcombe have contradicted claims the officer had no choice but to shoot him. Read more here

    Two women have independently sworn they did not see Elijah Holcombe armed with a knife and said he was at least 15m away from officers when he was shot in the chest. In statements obtained by The Daily Telegraph, the women claim Mr Holcombe, who suffered from mental illness, was “calm” when ordered to stop by police in Cinders Lane, Armidale, this month.

    “The second person (a plain clothes police officer) was moving fast but never caught up with the first person (Elijah),” one witness said.

    “I estimate the distance between them to be four or five car widths.”

    The second witness said Mr Holcombe’s “demeanor seemed casual” and he was “in no hurry just strolling along”. She said he had complied with an undercover officer’s orders to stop and was calm, contrary to police claims that he ignored warnings to drop his knife.

    “The young man turned around casually and I would say he had a look of bewilderment on his face – but he was fairly calm and casual,” the woman said.

    “He just turned around and stood still. I can’t remember anything about his hands – I was looking at his face. He didn’t say anything.”

    On the day of the shooting Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie said the officer had no choice but to shoot Mr Holcombe because he had made threats with a knife and refused to put down the weapon.

    One witness said there was no attempt by the undercover officer to negotiate with Mr Holcombe.

    “The gun discharged immediately after the third warning. I remember also that the third warning was immediately after the second warning,” she said.

    “The young man came off the footpath into the gutter. He fell into the gutter. His head moved around a bit. His body moved slightly. I did not see the young man with a weapon.”

    The sworn statements were made independently by two women who had parked their cars near the scene of the shooting behind the Armidale shopping centre.

    Mr Holcombe’s widow Allison Garvey had told The Daily Telegraph she is “completely devastated”

    “The police were presented with many choices and in every instance they (made) the most careless choice they could make,” she said.

  27. You voted for Kennett, didn’t you Adrian?

  28. Kennett is now President of Hawthorn, which I think is a fine match of position to capability.

    The only job he’d ever had outside politics was running a suburban advertising agency.

    He was a complete waste. Several of his ministers were far more capable.

    At the time I made a commitment to various people that if he was ever elected to premier, I’d leave the state.

    I had to spend years outside Victoria, as a refugee, and I blame him!

  29. Interesting,

    I can assume now that those that oppose the right to own arms here in the States finally accept the notion that “people kill people, not guns”? Now this is progress…………

  30. Not at all, Sparta. We believe people kill people yes, but they can do it with tasers AND guns. As such, these irresponsible people should not have access to either.

    This, I think, supports the concept that unrestricted access to even “non-lethal” weaponry is a stupid thing.

  31. Sparta

    With rights also come responsibilities. After extensive training with weapons in the military it never ceases to amaze me just how gung-ho and completely irresponsible people could be with guns, even those who received the same or similar training.

    Ben’s argument sums it up. Tasers are no doubt seen as non-lethal toys for immobilising offenders. This is simply not so in the wrong hands.

  32. Tasers are clearly very effective.

    It’s just that you have to pull the trigger 28 times !

  33. Tom of Melbourne, on June 18th, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    Funny you say that because the greatest migration out of Victoria to Queensland occurred under Kennett, and the reverse immigration to Victoria when Kennett was voted out.

    Says a lot about him and why he was voted out even with the right wing pundits screaming he was the greatest thing to ever happen to the State. There are many today who still go on about how they can’t understand why Kennett was voted out so convincingly.

    There are none so blind as conservatives who don’t want to see. Goes for the Howard lovers as well, who still go on about media and anything else but Howard as being the failure at the election.

  34. But you voted for him, didn’t you Adrian?

  35. scaper…, on June 18th, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    I suppose Kennett flew up to Townsville and instructed the cop to fire twenty eight times too?

    Got to hand it to you, you certainly know how to completely miss a point.

    Take off the blinkers scaper.

    UNBELIEVABLE

  36. Yes James in fact I did vote for Kennett (i.e. the local Liberal) in his first election and then moved to NSW for a job before his second.

    I vote for Joanna Gash in Gilmore.

    Who do you vote for James, stupid question, conservative always and forever no matter how competent or incompetent.

  37. Well, Reb, there are people who turn up to Economic Forums with pre-packaged bags or water pistols filled with urine, yes. And those people deserve what they get.

    A mass protest at an Economics Forum is a bit different to the topic of citizens being killed by tasers at the hands of police. In regard to protests though, I do have a problem with police being used as a force by the government against it’s own citizens primarily to prevent their right to be heard and seen. Civil protest is a legitimate voice of the people and should be non violent (on both sides). Police are used to protect private corporations and powerful people while the voice of the tax paying citizen is actively suppressed.

    How long will the Iranians be allowed to protest before things get ugly and people are killed?

    Anyway back to topic:

    I have to wonder why some people become police when they are too scared or too power crazed to do their jobs properly without killing people.

    How could a decent trial of tasers be completed and the stun guns get rolled out without giving the user any limitation on the number of times it can safely be fired (without causing the death of a person)? It’s like they have deliberately not wanted to have any limits.

    The civil libertarians were correct when they said that the police would use the guns (as overseas research suggests) as a punishment device rather than a last resort before firing a hand gun. Research into tasers also suggests that instead of defusing a situation it’s usage on people will often serve to inflame and provoke them even more .

    And if one blow from the gun knocks someone to the ground and effectively immobilises them, why is there a need for further firings?

  38. Adrian, it was quite clear that you were implicating Kennett as the perpetrator of police violence in relation to your comment.

    That is a tall statement and unlike yourself I don’t wear blinkers, I question your motive and please present some evidence to back up your allegation.

    I suppose he was to blame for the ‘Bottom of the Harbour Scheme’ too…LOL!

  39. I just bring this up, Adrian, because you repeatedly trumpeted your “independence” using your voting for Kennett as the example.

    As for me, I vote for whoever I think is likely to give the best chance for families and communities to prosper both socially and economically, whilst at a broader level, keeping Australia safe and proud on an international level. Often that means voting for an independent, last election in Victoria, it meant DLP. To my eternal disappointment, it meant the Bracks led ALP when he got in, mainly due to the gag Kennett placed on his ministers. History shows that result to have been disastrous, both at a Victorian level, and at a Coalition level.

    Sadly, neither party at the moment at either Victorian or Federal level, have the slightest interest in representing families and local communities, which I consider to be far and away the most important social and economic foundations of a healthy, happy, safe, and prosperous society. If an election were held today, I’d probably vote either for an independent or I’d write a funny poem.

  40. You’re a bit harsh, Kittylitter, as there were two sides that I presented and then responded to a specific question from Reb. And the right to freedom of association etc applies to everyone and if protest groups want to restrict that right in some, then they deserve to have the cops intervene.

  41. “it meant DLP”

    Really James, you are unwise to own up to that.

  42. James, I hope to vote for the AIC at the next election.

  43. You should love them, Tom, they are anti 4WD.

  44. You’re a bit harsh, Kittylitter

    Only on the motivations of governments when they place more importance upon protecting the interests of private corporations and wealthy, powerful individuals rather than serving the public who they are supposed to represent (and who pay the wages of themselves and the police).

    Sorry if you saw it that way james, didn’t mean it to be, was just offering a comment of my own really, am genuine in saying that nothing personal is intended.

    Now what was very interesting about this story was that the CCTV footage was in direct contrast to the official report of the officers attending the incident. The difference would not have become known if it hadn’t been for the camera.

    That’s another problem, the way that police will lie about events and cover up rather than admit fault. People can’t trust them, they are vilified by a corrupt police hiding in the safety of a powerful system. Funny how CCTV footage goes missing, gets corrupted, is rendered unusable or is turned off, facing the ceiling and/or broken when police are accused of wrongdoing.

  45. And the right to freedom of association etc applies to everyone and if protest groups want to restrict that right in some, then they deserve to have the cops intervene.

    it is the protest groups whose freedom to associate is being restricted – by the governments. They put in place procedures, barricades and even refuse admission to public streets so that civilians right to be heard is squashed.

  46. There really are two sides to this whole thing. There is a major problem with the police force and I can’t quite put my finger on where the cancer originates. It is an enormously political body, it has a particularly unhealthy “us against them” mentality, and it fails time and again to address its demons.

    My wife some years ago represented an intellectually disabled teenager in Gippsland who took a leak in semi bushland on his way home from school. Some lady witnessed this and called the cops and within an hour one Noel Ashby was on the radio announcing that they had arrested a pedophile. This is on the public record so there is no problem with naming him. Now I’ve met this kid at his 21st last year and it takes around 3 seconds of conversation to realise his disability. The cops beat the daylights out of him and charged him with a number of offences of a sexual nature. He was taking a leak. Despite medical reports detailing his disability and the rest, the cops proceeded with the trial and it ran for 10 days. Needless to say he got off. My wife was the third solicitor approached to represent him, 2 others didn’t want to take it on. Leaving aside the conduct of the cops at the time, why proceed with such an obviously stupid case? What sort of form of measurement are these cops subjected to that cause them to pursue to the end such worthless crusades? I am envious of my wife for having had the opportunity in her life to take on such a cause and get to look after this poor kid. It’s the stuff of movies.

    But on the other side, when I was a teenager, we had a pervert who used to camp outside our house masturbating as my sisters changed clothes. The ordeal went on for some months before he was finally caught. The cops in this situation could not be faulted. The caring manner that they showed in dealing with my sisters could not be faulted and their ability to talk myself and 2 brothers out of taking our own action was professional and firm. They were good cops.

    So you’ve got good cops and lousy ones, pretty much like in every profession. I think the culture within the police force needs to change and a good start would be offloading some of the big players in the police union, who seem to be corrupt to the core. But at the same time, we need cops and there’s a big difference between requiring a level of accountability and and throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Kittylitter, the cops are not an army charged with protecting the masses in their particular crusades. Rightly or wrongly, those corporates had a right to meet and conduct their business. The protesters did not have a right to prevent that. The thing about freedoms is that they apply to all. Whilst I don’t deny, obviously, that there is an element of police brutality floating about, I don’t think those protests are representative of it.

    It’s a chicken and egg thing. An effective police force needs to be respected and clearly in many cases they are not. Personally, I think respect is something that needs to be earned, so the onus is on the cops for the most part. But gee it’s a tough environment to conduct oneself with purity and integrity and I think society needs to be a bit mindful of that when judging them. And where clearly excessive force is applied as described in cases in this blog, well I think the penalties should be pretty severe, as they are for people in other professions of responsibility.

  47. Geez, Kittylitter, do you understand what you are advocating?

    Let’s use a hypothetical. Scaper, Tom and I announce that we are meeting to form a political group that wants to adopt the worst extreme right wing policies. We want to reinstate the death penalty, ban women from the workforce except in secretarial and household type occupations because the blokes don’t want those jobs, shift Aborigines to small settlements until they are bred out, allow only Aryan immigration, and remove government funding for health and education. Do you think, in a democracy, that you have the right to prevent me from entering the venue where that meeting is to be held?

    Because whatever you think of globalisation, and it should be clear to you that I share your disgust for the “global economy”, those who believe in it have the right to meet to discuss it. Those who oppose them have the right to protest about it but not to the extent where they are prevented from meeting.

  48. Do you think, in a democracy, that you have the right to prevent me from entering the venue where that meeting is to be held

    No, james you miss my point, i don't advocate preventing your meeting, you can have the best of times in there!

    I do however advocate that to get to your meeting, you may need to pass closely by the public, hear and see their displeasure and the dissenting voices to your ugly policies. You happily advocate extreme and divisive policies, you should be prepared to hold your head up high as you walk into the meeting, no secret back door entry, diversions or protesters contained by police a block away from you.

    The rights should be equal, not having one side protected whilst the other is squashed.

    Anyway, I've got to go now so that's all from me.

  49. James,

    That’s a damn goos post on the Vic Police. Well done.

    I agree that the source of the problem is the culture within the police service. Its the same here in NSW. There’s good cops and bad cops but the overall culture resembles that of the Rum Corps. And the Police Union doesn’t do its membership any favours, either.

    Every time a cop shoots someone dead (whether its s righteous-shoot or not) the Union spokesperson is always first on the TV trying to put a spin on things. Quite often they’re made to look like absolute prats later, when it turns-out that there was nothing righteous about what happened at all. By then of course, its all water well-under the bridge and a quiet pay-out to the the grieving rellos usually follows.

    Why do the cops persist with unwinnable cases? Because they can.

    If its an indictable offence and gets sent-up to the DPP, cooler heads usually prevail. A Crown Prosecutor checks the brief and will always refuse to proceed with the prosecution if the case is fatally flawed.

    But if its a summary matter (or an indictable that they elect to proceed summarily with) it’s Raffertys’ Rules. The accused or their lawyer can always make “representations” to the cops as prosecuting authority have the matter dropped, but these are invariably dealt-with at local command level.

    This means that the local commander makes the decision. No prizes for guessing what that decision usually is.

    The only advantage with making Reps is that later, when the case is thrown-out of Court, the accused can clobber the Coppers with a costs application (and have a damn good chance of winning-it, too) if he or she has made unsuccessful representations beforehand.

  50. Sorry, James, that shoud read: “a damn good post…..”

  51. scaper…, on June 19th, 2009 at 10:03 am Said:

    Adrian, it was quite clear that you were implicating Kennett as the perpetrator of police violence in relation to your comment.

    …and you continue to miss the point, and there was noting clear about the implication at all, except in your narrow view that the past should not be used as a frame of reference to the present, especially when that past used as an example belong to a certain side.

  52. Adrian, the discussion is about cops. You brought in Kennett. Now why you felt the need to turn a social discussion into yet another left/right brawl I don’t understand.

  53. Tasers are no doubt seen as non-lethal toys for immobilising offenders.

    Speaking of that, and of impaired people and cops beating them…IIRC there are other instances in the US where tasers were used repeatedly on people who had physical or mental disabilities and were unable to comply with orders. (IIRC one may have been deaf or not understood English and thus didn’t even hear a comprehensible order, but don’t quote me on that.) I also seem to recall another case where the cops demanded an illegal entry to a household and were refused (within the householder’s rights) and used the taser to force compliance. And again IIRC there were other cases where cops gave orders at roadside stops that were rightfully refused and they also used the taser.

    The issue seems to be that (some) cops now feel that they have
    (a) the right to force compliance with their demands much more broadly than the laws require
    (b) a “tool” to “safely” force that compliance through the application of severe pain

    This is a nasty development. There’s a long way to go to a full-blown police state, but it inches a little closer…

  54. Lotharsson

    I agree, ‘very nasty’!

  55. Tazering to procure compliance of police commands: an all too familiar scenario. It happens in the US and it happens here. The following account of the tazering of a 72 yo is from America:

    A 72-YEAR-OLD great-grandmother chose the wrong policeman when she dared Deputy Constable Chris Bieze to Taser her.

    Kathryn Winkfein made headlines last month after she was stopped by Const Bieze for speeding.

    Caught doing nearly 100km/h in a 70km/h zone in Travis County, Texas, Ms Winkfein refused to accept the ticket.

    The official police word was Ms Winkfein “mouthed off, then was physically non-compliant”.

    Const Bieze’s response was to send 50,000 volts through her body. Twice.

    Ms Winkfein told her story to media outlets, claiming she did nothing to provoke the Taser “attack”.

    But video footage released overnight from Const Bieze’s car shows Winkfein swearing and shouting at the officer, then daring him to Taser her.

    “You gonna shove me?” Ms Winkfein tells Const Bieze in the video. “You gonna shove a 72-year-old woman?”

    “Step back or I’m going to Taser you,” she is told.

    While the granny should have just taken the ticket, the punishment most certainly did not fit the crime. Re the incident of the man on Oxford Street, tazered in the back – A severe punishment for no crime at all – WTF? When will it stop?

    I agree, Lotharsson, we are fast becoming a fascist society (I think that’s an oxymoron).

    The video of the 72 yo is here:

    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25619277-38198,00.html

  56. Sometimes I’m not sorry I’m getting old because of what I see happening in our society. It really is just getting sicker all the time.

    Tasering a 72yo woman? Just sickening.

  57. Daphon

    # Grandma doing 100kmh in 70 zone
    # Refuses to accept speeding ticket

    It must be my sense of humour, but she did ask for it. Her dare backfired big time.

  58. Take a look at the evidence

  59. Not sure what effects might occur in the presence of water (the target standing in a puddle for example) or the wearing of metal (the target wearing jewellery or other metal adornments)?

    These items certainly are an issue with the use of defibrillators, so why would it be any different with a tazer? Don’t both pieces of hardware deliver electrical energy to a target? The tazer is way more powerful though with far greater electrical magnitude than the humble defibrillator. How can an electrical current of such magnitude delivered to a human target be safe. It interrupts neuromuscular function – The heart is muscle – circulation and therefore life-sustaining blood supply is interrupted. The diaphragm is muscle – breathing and therefore oxygen supply is interrupted. Common sense tells me that such a device has a lethal potential.

  60. How can an electrical current of such magnitude delivered to a human target be safe. It interrupts neuromuscular function – The heart is muscle – circulation and therefore life-sustaining blood supply is interrupted. The diaphragm is muscle – breathing and therefore oxygen supply is interrupted. Common sense tells me that such a device has a lethal potential.

    My understanding is that the taser should replace the need to use a handgun. Unfortunately, as the incident with the 72 year old grandmother shows, an officer who could have quite simply used a little physical force resorted to his toy.

    You make an excellent argument about the potential dangers. Do not use unless faced with extreme circumstances needs to be the directive to all officers (this would mean educating them in what constitutes extreme)

  61. Last comment on this and to follow up re my statement about 2 uncles having been Inspectors of police. My opinion is that police ‘these days’ have too few life experiences..that the emphasis is on the academic which means officers are unable to handle normal situations..maybe problems with even recognising these.

    Uncle Geoff Lucas was ex Navy when he entered the police force and Uncle Eric Senior..well umm, he had been a postal worker and a tram conductor…but at least he had extensive experience with the public.

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