October 11, 2009

Police Don't Let Taser-Killing of Derrick Jones Change Taser Policy

17-year old Derrick Jones was the first person killed by taser-wielding police officer R.L. Wray in 2009. His death took place on January 8 at the hands of the Martinsville (VA) police. The taser-deaths have continued at a rate of one-per-week ever since.

Martinsville City Manager Clarence Monday received a "very brief" report filed in the Virginia State Police investigation into the taser-death. The report stated that the taser could not be definitively excluded “as a causative or contributive factor” in Jones’ death. [SOURCE]

No charges would be filed against R.L. Wray, the police officer who deployed the taser gun, and the 9-month investigation of the incident was concluded. In fact, city officials determined no changes were needed to the current policy on police use of tasers.

Basically, as far as we’re concerned, the case is closed,” Clarence Monday said. Police Officer Wray is back on full duty and “has been for some time. We feel our taser policy is in accordance with guidelines” governing the use of tasers. “We have examined our policy to make sure it’s up to date, and we feel no changes are needed at this point,” Monday added.
Previously, Martinsville Police Chief Mike Rogers said those policies conform to guidelines prescribed by the state and outlined in the Standards for Law Enforcement Officers.

The Rev. William Avon Keen of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) said, "our position remains the same. We’re still calling for a moratorium until we find out whether or not tasers are causing deaths."
Villager's Voice: It is apparent that the SCLC is taking an aggressive role in these taser-related deaths. That is a good thing. Perhaps it will lead to congressional hearings. Too many people are dying. In this case a young 17-year old who was not the subject of the original police action died outside of his own home. And the powers-that-be in his city say ... 'Oops, my bad' ... no change to our policy. The young brother wasn't important enough for us to make a change in a policy that kills.


Monie said...


I admire your dedication to getting the word out about taser killings.

To me blogs/ bloggers are at their best when they make an effort to effect change.


Unknown said...

Monie - Thank you very much for your kind words and encouragement. I hope that others will take on this issue as well...