March 23 2017
Almost every week you read or see a media report about someone dying from and encounter with the police where a Taser is used.
Many times the police are called by a relative concerning a family member who is off his or her medication and acting strangly. Sadly, the police do not receive a lot of training in dealing with mentally ill people. Sadly, some police only know , or claim to know, how to use “force”, when often, there is a better way to deal with the situation. What we need is more police training when it comes to the mentally ill. That is a particular problem when it comes to the homeless here in Sarasota. Many are truly mentally ill and helpless. They simply do not understand.
Taser death statistics are alarming.
If a person has a heart condition or is on drugs, being Tasered can result in cardiac arrest (a heart attack) and often death. The police will always claim that the use of force (the taser) was justified but often, it was not. The police justify using a taser claiming that it is better than some other form of force like a billy club or a gun. The problem may have been solved however without any form of force. If you are curious, go on Google and do some homework on taser deaths.
You can form your own opinion.
What you do not hear about are the deaths in jail or prison where a taser has been used. As a Sarasota criminal defense lawyer, I often come into contact with people who have been the victim of police excessive force. A dead giveaway is when you look at their booking picture. I you see the face bloodied or black and blue, chances are that person will have been charged with battery on a law enforcement officer. The police make that charge to justify the beating. I have had clients who were allegedly “taken down” with a leg sweep and slammed head first into the concrete. There are some great dedicated cops that with experience have learned to properly use force. There are some others that took the job because they are bullies or were themselves bullied early in life, and have copped an attitude. A badge and a gun in the hands of a policeman with “little man syndrome” is a dangerous thing.