June 18, 2009

911 Tape: Police Officer Ken Thompson Taser-Kills Brian Cardall Within 42 Seconds of Arrival on Scene

Hurricane police officer Ken Thompson must be having nightmares. Thompson is the officer that made the decision to electrocute Brian Cardall last week out on the side of a southern Utah highway earlier this month. The nightmare for Officer Thompson is that his actions are documented on audio tape.

Thompson was one of the multiple officers called to the scene by a 911 call placed by Brian Cardall's wife. Anna Cardall tells a dispatcher that her husband didn't have weapons on him. She states he hadn't been drinking and wasn't under the influence of drugs, outside of his Seroquel (prescribed to deal with his bipolar disorder).

Thompson took all of 42 seconds to fatally shoot an unarmed Cardall with his taser gun. 42 seconds. Listen the the police audio tape and judge for yourself.

Thompson arrives on the scene at 1:17 pm and begins to yell, "Get down on the ground! Get down on the ground!" Brian Cardall responds twice in what sounds as a panicked voice, "Is this a standoff! Don't shoot."

About 42 seconds after arriving on scene the officer deployed his Taser yelling, "Taser deployed! Stay on the ground! Stay on the ground!"
Thompson is heard on the tape to say, "He went down, he tried to get up and I told him to stay down. I tased him again and then after the second time..." You can hear Brian Cardall moaning and screaming for about five seconds after Thompson first deploys a Taser on him. Following a two-second pause, Thompson deploys the Taser on Cardall again. He says in the recordings Cardall had tried to get up.

Officers struggle to get Brian Cardall into handcuffs. You can also hear Brian Cardall's wife yelling at him to comply. Almost immediately, they notice something wrong.

"He's not breathing," an officer said on the tape. They also notice he is pale. More than three minutes after the Taser was deployed, someone can be heard saying, "no pulse."
The officers and paramedics on the scene know immediately Thompson messed up as they realize he shot Cardall twice with a Taser, once when Cardall -- in the midst of a psychotic episode -- was already on the ground.

"Did he come after you?" an officer whispered at taser-happy officer Ken Thompson.

"Huh?" Thompson replies on police and 911 dispatch recordings.

"He went right at you?" another officer asks Thompson again, later.

"Yeah," Thompson flatly replies.
Brian Cardall died at the scene. Hurricane police have declined to comment as to why the Thompson chose to use a Taser instead of attempting to subdue Cardall with other methods. Multiple officers were on the scene. Yet, they could only afford 42 seconds to assess the situation before getting busy with their so-called 'non-lethal' taser on a confused man.

What is your take on this taser-related death?


Gunfighter said...

asers are not "non lethal" they are "less lethal"

I know that the difference sounds semantic... but there really is a quantifiable difference between the two.

Villager said...

Gunfighter - I appreciate your patience in helping me understand this stuff.

My reading of the Use of Force Continuum shows that Level Five is "less lethal" while Level Four is taser, pepper spray and such.

It appears that the UFC policy specifically makes a difference between tasers and other less than lethal methods of dealing with uncooperative people.

Am I reading the Use of Force continuum wrong? Or has the general one (recognizing that it can be modified in any juristiction) been updated to move the taser guns from Level 4 to Level 5 of the policy?

Thank you in advance for your continued patience with me...

NOTE: If you want to provide me with a blog post with your thoughts on this whole taser situation in our country ... I would be honored to publish it here on this blog (figuring that you will crosspost to yours as well). The offer is open to talk about taser issue in general or any of the specific cases such as Brian Cardall (where we are now writing).

langenheim said...

First, thank you for your work.

Second, the audio speaks for itself and I feel you synopsis is accurate. I can only speak for myself, but I'm sure others will agree, it is my hope and meditation that true justice is realized and the officers are held accountable for their unjustifiable actions. We'll see how that goes.


Villager said...

Greta - Thank you for your kind words. I'm glad that the Cardall family released the tapes to the public. This tape from the police tell the story as clearly as can be told.

Unarmed man needs help.

Police arrive.

Officer Ken Thompson not patient enought to give help.

Unarmed man doesn't obey Thompson's order to "get down" ... 42 seconds ... Thompson uses his taser.

Unarmed man is STILL ALIVE as he tries to get up ... Thompson tases him a second time.

Police officers realize that he is pale and without a pulse.

It truly seems clear that Thompson did the wrong thing. Hard to understand why the Hurricane Police are still defending his actions?!?

peace, Villager

langenheim said...

I'm not at all convinced that he tried to get up. Regardless, both tasings were totally uncalled for.