March 24, 2008

Taser Death: James Garland (Florida)

Another Black man died as the result of being attacked by a policeman welding a taser gun. This time it occurred in South Florida when 41-year old was spotted naked wandering through traffic waving his shirt. Cops are supposed to apply the 'use of force continuum' when they want to subdue someone. The taser should only be used if earlier levels of force are not successful.

Anyhow, these officers pulled out their taser and zapped Mr. Garland so that they could take him into custody. It blows my mind that the police are afraid to deal with a naked man waving a shirt. No weapon. No knife. No gun. It was a SHIRT for goodness sake.

They took him in a marked patrol car to a local hospital where he died. Another death by taser. Since when does strolling through the street buck-naked equal the death penalty in America?

The other common occurance is that the media, at the urging of law enforcement officials, always want to ensure we know about the criminal record of the person that they taser to death. In this case, we learn that Mr. Garland was a registered sex offender with 10 arrests over the past six years, mostly for cocaine-related charges.

Villagers, let's stipulate that James Garland was an irresponsible person with some serious problems. Even if that is the case ... did he deserve to die last week at the hands of a taser-happy policeman?


Danielle said...

I think it is obvious that the police tasered him before knowing his criminal record.

Is there any movement toward a complete ban on tasers?

I have to admit though, that my all loving self does have a small capacity for hate. That voice says Karma ruled supreme.

Villager said...

Danielle - Karma for a sexual predator would be turning him into a eunich. I don't think that karma for using cocaine or being a sexual predator is death by taser.

re: ban on taser movement. I've seen recent discussions by a number of bloggers on how to respond to the increasing number of taser deaths. Personally, I see the benefit tasers bring in protecting law enforcement officers ... however, I just think that they are simply trained well in when to use them.

Anonymous said...

You're right it does seem that police reach for the taser first instead of escalating to it after unsuccessful attempts with the other methods of the force continuum. Maybe they've thrown out the force continuum all together or maybe it now just has two steps 1) taser 2) gun.

Villager said...

Kenya - Based on the facts known to us now it seems that the Florida cop(s) that killed Mr. Garland with taser gun should be fired.

The guy was buck-naked with a shirt in his hand. How does that require 50,000 watts of taser death?