November 15, 2008

Case Study: The Death of Darryl Turner

Amnesty International is tracking taser abuse as a human rights abuse issue in the United States. Since June 2001, more than 320 individuals in the United States have died after being shocked by police TASERs. Most of those individuals were not carrying a weapon. Amnesty International is concerned that TASERs are being used as tools of routine force -- rather than as an alternative to firearms.

They recently posted a case study about the taser-related death of Darryl Turner.

Darryl Turner, age 17, died in March 2008 after he was shocked by an officer from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in North Carolina. Turner, who worked in a grocery store, reportedly went home for lunch with two snacks for which he had not paid. His mother told him to return to the store and admit what he had done.

When he returned to work he got into an argument with the store manager. A store video recording of the incident shows that Turner entered the store's customer service area and pushed an object off the counter. He walked out but came back into the room and pointed at the manager. A police officer entered the room with his TASER, which he immediately fired at Turner, who was standing behind the counter with his hands at his side. There was no visible attempt by the officer to talk to the teenager or calm the situation. With the TASER probes in his chest, Turner moved past the officer, after which he reportedly collapsed out of view of the camera.

Downloaded data from the officer's TASER shows that he held the trigger down for 37 continuous seconds until Turner collapsed -- and shocked him again when he was on the floor. Attempts to revive Turner were unsuccessful. The coroner later ruled cause of death to be a fatal disturbance of the heart rhythm due to stress and the TASER shocks. A police investigation subsequently ruled that the officer's initial decision to use the TASER was within departmental procedures, but that holding down the trigger was not justified. The officer was suspended for five days.




When black men are fed up with these legalized electrocutions, then they will organize nationally and take a visible and collective stance with law makers...they will file class action suits... they will engage the media...they will push NAN, NAACP, NUL to aggressively protest...they will put their money where their mouth is...

They will not let up until the laser lynchings end.

When black men get fed up....

Unknown said...

Lisa - Many brothers are taking on this cause. We've created a blog, Tasered While Black, as a centralized place of information. One step at a time. My hope is the entire Black community will look deeper into these unnecessary taser incidents ... regardless of gender.


Hey Villager,

I understand what you mean but black men need to start solving problems and NOT EVEN thinking about involving black women in every thing...can the black men in this nation rise up and just start solving problems and let the sistas sit and watch the men HANDLE SOMETHING ANYTHING on their own that will benefit the black community as a whole?

I am sad that this boy was killed...and it was wrong...but where was his father and WAS his father in the home raising his son and why was his son stealing from his employer? The behavior of this boy indicates that he was NOT in control of himself. It is STILL no justification for being electrocuted but I think sometimes our people pretend that these are innocent victims.

This boy did NOT deserve death. Not at all. But he was stealing from his employer and he was behaving inappropriately. This is not a reason for the police to be called on the scene but let us start addressing WHY our black boys are conducting themselves this way. This behavior is all too common in that age group.

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

Unknown said...

Lisa - Two people can view the same painting or taser incident and see different things. You see the death of Darryl Turner as an indictment of Darryl himself as well as his father. Me? I see it as an indictment on the white manager who felt the need to call the police and the police officer who felt the need to shoot 50,000 watts of energy into this boy's body for over 35 seconds. We should probably just agree that we see things from a different vantage point on this case ... and look for other areas where we might have move common ground...