May 21, 2009

Still Waiting on Taser Reports to Show Police Officer R.L. Wray Killed 17-Year Old Derrick Jones

Derrick Jones is a 17-year old Black youth killed by police tasers in January 2009. He was fooling around with his white buddies on that day. His buddies were arrested. He was killed. The taser was deployed as Jones came out of the kitchen and “moved rapidly toward” Martinsville police officer R.L. Wray “in an offensive stance,” according to a police account of the incident.

The penalty for goofing around or being "in an offensive stance" should not be death. The facts seem clear to villagers that read this blog. Not so clear to the powers that be in Virginia.

We’re still waiting on reports” from various sources, including the medical examiner, said Botetourt County Commonwealth’s Attorney Joel Branscom.

After Martinsville Commonwealth’s Attorney Joan Ziglar excused herself from the investigation, Branscom was asked to review findings of the investigation that is being handled by special agents in the Bureau of Criminal Investigations office of the Virginia State Police in Salem.

Branscom does not know when results of various tests may be completed.

Tasers are electronic devices that are considered to be nonlethal law enforcement tools used for compliance. Yet, Derrick Jones is one of 19 people killed in America by taser-wielding police officers so far this year.

How long will we allow these extra-judicial electrocutions to take place in America? Isn't it time to have congressional hearings on taser torture?


Gunfighter said...

Consider how many times Tasers are used with a successful conclusion. Consider the number of people that aren't beaten with batons (which kill at a higher rate than Tasers). Consider the deaths the occur from OC (pepper) spray. Consider the increased numbers in terms of shooting deaths that otherwise might have occurred.

The number of Taser related deaths are relatively few.

Of course, this is no comfort to the families of anyone that died after being Tased, and I am truly sorry for anyone who has had to suffer though such a thing... but perspective rules all.

Unknown said...

Gunfighter - I don't see statistics on the number of times that 50,000 volts of electrictity are successfully pumped into a man. I also suspect that the 19 people killed so far this year by tasers would have preferred to been hit over the head by a billy club (baton) ... I know that they would have preferred pepper spray.

Truth to tell, I imagine that the 19 police officers that used the taser that resulted in the death of these young men so far this year would have preferred batons or pepper spray to the ill-fated decision they made.

The only people that I see hailing the taser torture we've been seeing with increased frequency (about once a week) this year are the taser manufacturers. I don't even hear police officers praising the taser all that much any more.

I appreciate your village voice. You do lend credence and credibility because of your law enforcement background.

What is your opinion on the idea of congressional hearings?

Gunfighter said...

I think that Congressional hearings are nunecessary. I think we are seeing an exceptionally emotional reaction to something that isn't as awful as it may seem.

Anyone who whould rather take a head strike with a steel baton rather than a Taser burst only says that because they don't know what they are talking about.

Unknown said...

Gunfighter - Thanks for your opinion on the congressional hearings. I will admit that I'm not a LEO ... nor am I a perp ... so I don't have personal experience. However, I haven't seen 20 people killed by batons or pepper spray ... so I do think that tasers should not be at the same level of the 'use of force continuum' as those methods. But, that is from my perspective as a layman...