Sunday, January 08, 2012

Another reason tasers should be banned

Jaime Gonzalez, an 8th grade student in Brownsville, Texas, was shot three times and killed by police on Wednesday after he refused when - I love this description - he was "asked" that he put down what later proved to be a pellet gun.
[T]he two officers fired three shots, and hit Gonzalez at least twice, once in the back of the head.
I'm not going to judge the cops here: The gun supposedly looked real, they could have felt genuinely threatened, and reports say that on the emergency recording they can be heard several times demanding that he drop the gun before they fired. So while there are still several questions, such as the possibility of excessive force (how did he wind up getting hit in the back of the head, for example) and the severity of the perceived threat (was the gun pointed up or down toward the floor, for one example; did the boy take an "aggressive stance," for another), I will withhold judgement on that score.

But I am going to insist that this is just more evidence of why tasers should be banned.

Why? Because why the fuck wasn't one used? Dammit, this is exactly the sort of situation for which they were supposedly designed, exactly the sort of case for which they were intended. And yet we get a dead kid instead.

Nearly eight years ago, I wrote here that
With the increasing availability of tasers, especially combined with repeated assurances that they are safe and even "humane," will come the increasing temptation to use them routinely, no longer in lieu of lethal force but in lieu of persuasion and patience, no longer against someone posing a physical threat but against someone giving "a hard time," no longer for protection but for dominance.
The intervening years have proven the accurary of that prediction. And now, it appears, they're not only being used for things they supposedly are not for, they're not being used for what they supposedly are for.

Ban them. Now.

Footnote, I Don't Think You Quite Get It Div.: At a memoral service for Gonzalez, the Rev. Jorge Gomez said
"I implore you young people, learn from this experience. ... Young people, I invite you to get out of trouble. Don't get lost."
There is no indication Jaime Gonzalez was involved in gangs or any sort of trouble beyond the usual teenager crap like staying out too late. If he was "lost," it wasn't due to the sort of "trouble" Rev. Gomez meant.

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