June 10, 2009

Another Taser Death in America -- This Time in Mormon Country

The police force killed another person with 50,000 volts of taser power this week. Brian Cardall, a 32-year old Utah man returning to Arizona to complete his PhD in ecological genetics, was tased to death by a Hurricane (Utah) police officer.

Video Courtesy of KSL.com

Cardall leaves behind a wife, a daughter, Ava, and a baby due in September. The Hurricane Police Department is already in full C.Y.A. mode as evidenced by this notice on their website which says:

Police and medical personnel responded to a call for assistance with an agitated subject on State Route 59 this afternoon in Washington County. During the incident, Kenneth Thompson, a Hurricane City police officer deployed a taser and the subject lost consciousness. The subject was treated within moments by EMS personnel, but was pronounced dead after being transported to the hospital.
The folks who created this lethal electrocution device were quick off the mark as well. They issued a press release within hours of Cardall's death.

What are your thoughts as you learn about the 21st death in America this year at the hands of a taser-happy police force?


kennyx6 said...

The U.S. Attorney General should have this matter of "Taser death" investigates by the FBI labs. The labs could establish standards for lower safe voltages. We may not need to ban or give up on the Taser, but simply get the adjustments needed to have it function properly. The purpose of Taser devices is to save lives whenever possible. Please let us not go back to standard (law enforcement) issue weapons like shot-guns, 45 caliber handguns and other weapons whose only purpose is to kill.

Villager said...

Kenny - I agree that we need a federal investigation. I've been calling for a congressinal hearing...

Changeseeker said...

As I say about Taser deaths here:

Numbing U.S. citizens to the use of force resulting in "accidental" deaths ought to be reminding us of Nazi Germany, when the population was trained fairly quickly to accept whatever happened to "other people" until it started happening to everybody and it was too late to put on the brakes. Anyone that has done even a cursory exploration of history knows better than to believe the assumption that if you just "keep your nose clean," you don't have to worry about those with the Power-To-Define, including in this case, the police, who get to define these situations and their outcomes in ways that make the question "Am I not human?" moot.

Diana - FreeStyleMama said...


Villager said...

Changeseeker - I read and enjoyed your Am I Not Human? post from last month that focused on taser torture. I see that the issue is gaining traction in the mainstream media today with the taser incident involving the 72-year old great grandmother...

Diana - Agreed!

Whimsical Creations said...

OMG...that is terrible!

MacDaddy said...

Yes, they need to investigate.

When they do, they're going to find out that the taser is not the savior they thought it would be. Instead of a saver of life. But it's turned out to be a taker of life.

When they do, I think they are going to have to put more time into reducing the anger or stress of the subject first. Tasing a person with all those volts while they're so emotionally hyped is bound to cause harm, even death.

Gunfighter said...

A few ways to reduce "death by Taser"

1. Don't try to fight the police.

2. When the Police say "STOP", it would be a good idea to stop.

3. Don't call the police when your mentally deranged kin-folk get agitated. The police aren't medical porfessionals. They won't treat your crazy cousin like he is ill, they'll treat him like a dangerous person who is non-compliant.

4. When the cops tell you to step out of the car/put your hands behind your back/sign the ticket, etc.... do it.

I think it's time I blog on the subject.

Villager said...

MacDaddy - Good point. There is obviously something wrong. We didn't have this many taser-related deaths in the US last year or in the years before. Something ain't right...

Gunfighter - I look forward to your post. I notice that one of the recent taser-related deaths (Gary Decker) has been ruled a homicide. I wonder what happens to the police in that case?

Gunfighter said...


"homicicide" means death at the hands of another, more or less. Homicide isn't always a crime.

The person who died of his injuries was seriously intoxicated and fighting with the police, as near as I can tell. Intoxicated people are frequently more difficult to subdue, do to the chemicals that are in their systems.

If the cops had to fight this guy into the handcuffs, it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that he got badly hurt.

That the man died is certainly sad, but that doesn't mean that a crime was committed.

Villager said...

Gunfighter - Thanks for the 411 on 'homicide'. I didn't realize that it wasn't always a crime. As for Gary Decker being intoxicated ... maybe so ... but, at the end of the day he was a buck-naked man ... contained in a hotel room ... with his only weapon being a toilet bowl seat cover. I remain convinced that police are too quick to use the so-called "non-lethal" taser rather than commonsense.

What was the rush to get this buck naked man in handcuffs?

I acknowledge that it is much easier to be an armchair blogger rather than the police officer in the heat of the situation. However, it just seems wrong that so many people are dying from these tasers.