August 20, 2009

Taser Death: Ronald Eugene Cobbs (Greensboro, NC)

It happened again! This time we learn that an inmate in the Guilford County Jail died after a detention officer used a Taser on him during a scuffle inside the jail on August 18. [SOURCE]

Ronald Eugene Cobbs, 38, of Greensboro, was being held in the jail on charges of kidnapping, armed robbery and a probation violation. Cobbs was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

The police say that Cobbs resisted and assaulted a detention officer when the officer was trying to recover contraband in Cobbs' cell. An unnamed officer physically attempted to make Cobbs comply and thought it would be a good idea to pump Cobbs with 50,000 volts from a Taser gun.

Cobbs was then restrained, handcuffed and shackled. When Cobbs became unconscious the officers realized that they messed up big time. They rushed Cobbs to the hospital ... but, it was too late.

Sheriff BJ Barnes of Guilford County said that Cobbs' death is a sad event.

"I hate it for the family and for the officers," Barnes said. "I want the public to know and have confidence that everything was done that should have been done and the investigation will show exactly what happened."
The sheriff appears to have no compassion for the family of the dead man. He appears to have been a bad guy ... however, the penalty for being disrespectful to a prison guard ain't death.

This is the 31st taser-related death in America this year. I still think that something is seriously wrong with the current taser policy in our country. Something is wrong when our law enforcement officials are killing an average of one person per week with these so-called 'non-lethal' weapons.

It is popular to blame the deaths on the victims. However, the excuse that I keep hearing is basically, 'Shyt Happens'.

Villagers ... This continual killing is unacceptable ... especially when we see that over 40% of these taser deaths are African American men. I renew my call for congressional hearings on these taser-torture deaths. Please sign our online petition to support this call to action!


Gunfighter said...


Your rhetoric is starting to border on the irresponsible. You already know, as I have explained before, Tasers are non considered "non-lethal" they are considered "less lethal". There is more than a semantic difference in those two terms.

Non lethal means that a thing won't kill. Less lethal means that a thing, in this case, a weapon, isn't likely to kill. Tasers aren't likely to kill when they are used properly.

Unknown said...

Gunfighter - I see that you're back from vacation (smile).

I would like to see if we (and any other interested villager) can dialogue on this matter.

It appears that we have a disagreement on a basic factoid. My understanding of the use of force continumm is that tasers are level 4 or non-lethal weapons. The next level, level 5 is for less lethal action/weapon.

Can you review my earlier post on use of force continuum and point me to a more recent explanation of the continuum if the one I'm referencing is now outdated?

Finally, I acknowledge that I've been getting more provacative in my blog post language re: taser deaths. Mostly that is because we never seem to get the "other side of the story" ... only the comments or media releases from the police. I'm seeking out the counterpoint...