I received a link from a reader detailing the death of yet another man at the hands of the police. Kenneth Oliver was Tased at least four times by police early Friday morning in Miami. The article stated that Mr. Oliver was under the influence and knocking on doors screaming for help. The police were called and ordered Mr. Oliver to the ground and to put his hands behind his back. Not moving quickly enough, the police began Tasing Mr. Oliver. According to Mr. Oliver’s brother, Oliver had pins in his shoulders making it difficult to put his hands behind his back. I have provided the link at the end of this blog if you want to read the article and watch the video.
According to Amnesty International: “Tasers are powerful electro-shock weapons in use in more than 7,000 of the 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States. They are designed to incapacitate by conducting 50,000 volts of electricity into an individual’s body. The electrical pulses induce skeletal muscle spasms that immobilize and incapacitate the individual, causing them to fall to the ground.” So that means Mr. Oliver received 200,000 volts of electricity into his body. Shocking!
The latest statistics that I could find was a report released by Amnesty International on March 28, 2006. In 2005 there were a total of 61 Taser related deaths and since June of 2001 the total number of Taser related deaths stands at 152. The report also quotes Dr. William F. Schulz, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA as saying “Despite a lack of independent research on TASER safety, police officers are using these weapons as a routine force tool — rather than as a weapon of last resort.”
According to the same report: Most of those who died had pre-existing medical conditions, were under the influence of drugs or medication, and/or were subjected to multiple or prolonged electro-shocks. Among TASER-related deaths in the past year, for example, 40 were shocked more than three times and one person as many as 19 times. A majority of those who died went into cardiac or respiratory arrest at the scene. Whatever happened to a good old fashioned night stick ass whipping?
I am neither anti nor pro police! There must be some form of protection for the average citizen. However, I do not advocate the use of Tasers. Getting hit with 50,000 volts of electricity is a form of torture. If two or more police officers cannot subdue a man without killing him; just what the hell do they teach at the police academy?