November 16, 2009

Taser Death: Matthew Bolick (East Grand Rapids, MI)


Once again we have an episode of Tasers Gone Wild in which 30-year old Matthew Bolick ends up dead in police custody after being jolted 4-5 times by the taser-happy East Grand Rapids police. Our nation continues to endure these taser torture killings at a rate of once per week. When will the police realize that they do not have to kill a person in order to get handcuffs on them. Resisting arrest is not supposed to be punishable by DEATH in our nation.

Bolick's father called police to report he was worried about his son's behavior. The man then left the home with another son. I'm fairly certain that neither Bolick's father or brother wanted to see him killed by a barrage of taser gun activity when they called in the police. It would be nice to see the police do more 'protect and serve' and less 'taser and kill'.

Police say when they arrived the suspect, 30-year-old Matthew Bolick, assaulted an officer in front of the home. Police say the officer then tased him, with no apparent effect. The suspect then ran into the home.

Bolick was taken into custody after a struggle with police that resulted in him being tased another 3 or 4 times. Bolick died at the scene while under police custody.

It seems that the police were treating some cuts on Bolick's hands while his heart stopped beating from the multiple electrical shocks of police taser guns. I wonder if the police even noticed that he was dying? Did they call paramedics at any point? Perhaps they simply stood around trying to figure out how to cover for the multiple taser shots as we heard the police do in taser-death of Brian Cardall earlier this year in Utah.

Meanwhile, the officers involved in this Michigan incident are on administrative leave while Grand Rapids' major case team and an internal affairs unit investigate. An autopsy to determine the cause of death also needs to be completed.

Villagers, I'm not mad at the police officers that are involved in this killing. I'm made at a taser-happy policy within police departments all over the nation. A policy that won't allow for the fact that killing people with a so-called non-lethal weapon is no longer acceptable.

It is time to stop the Taser madness -- it's time for all bloggers whether you be, Black, White, Latino, Native American, Asian, or progressives to come together on this issue. I encourage all bloggers to join us on December 4, 2009 when we gather for a Day of Blogging for Justice to Stop Taser Torture.

Please Sign up now!

10 comments:

jaco said...

Some serious lawsuits need to come from all of this. Someone should be held accountable, mainly the acting officers of EGRPD.

Villager said...

Jaco - A M E N !!!

Helen said...

What about people being held accountable for their actions and acting civilized. When you act like a wild animal you need to be treated like one. My condolence to the family who unfortunately lost a son. My support to the police who put their lives on the line trying to protect us from ourselves. Lets hope this sends a message: If police say stop, STOP. Don't engage in activities that my require tasing...it could be leathal.

Villager said...

Helen - You make my point. The penalty for resisting arrest should NOT be death. The police appear to have lost the skillset to bring an unruly person into custody without pulling out their taser --- and if they need to taser a suspect, does it need to be 4-5 times? Is it any surprise that this person is dead when such an over(kill) reaction.

In any case, thank you for sharing your perspective. The police do have a hard time...

Helen said...

Clearly it was the consequence of resisting arrest not the penalty for resisting arrest that caused death. The intent of the police is to secure safety not cause harm. With variables unknown in a crisis situation, such as, are there loaded weapons, knives, or other objects in the house that could be used to inflict injury, it is not unreasonable for police to react for their protection (I would.) It was already obviously established unsafe, the person was volatile, and did not want to stop. How would you handle it, or if your son/daughter was an officer responding how would you suggest they handle it?

Dank said...

Jaco, I'm with you brother. I just wonder in all the infinite training that these "fantastic" examples of law enforcement have received, have any of them been train in the use of pepper spray?

Villager said...

Helen - The police officers in East Grand Rapids had their suspect (Matt Bolick) in handcuffs when they shot him 3 more times with a taser. What harm could he possibly be doing anyone while IN HANDCUFFS?

I respect that the police have a difficult job to do. I don't call for the banning of tasers. However, I think that something is wrong with the training or the policy that allows for an American citizen to be killed on a weekly basis by police carrying these so-called 'non-lethal' weapons.

Wouldn't you agree?

Helen said...

Yes, I agree that if someone is already secured it is senseless to continue to tase. I also think Dank made a valid point on using pepper spray. It only stands to reason that an item that causes the least amount of harm and is effective should be the first line of defense.

I am sure, as in most incidents with negative out comes, if they could be replayed a different course would be taken. My heart goes out to the Bolick family for the pain and the loss they feel.

My question on taser if they are "non leathal" and are killing shouldn't the manufacturer take them back to the drawing board, or a limit set on the number of shots a person could receive? What weapon would you want the police to have in their position if you made a 911 call for "unruly" behavior? My finale thought I wonder how many police die a week in the line of duty protecting American citizens?

Villager said...

Helen - I don't know how many police officers lose their life on a weekly basis. I doubt that any of those deaths are as a result of a taser. My issue is with the cavalier use of tasers by police. Pepper spray isn't being used. Didn't police handle cases like Mr. Bolick for decades without a taser? What happened to that skillset.

And in this case ... the taser was used 4 times. This torture-like device was pumped into defenseless suspect while in handcuffs.

It is hard to justify this one based on the facts we know so far. For now, let's keep our eyes open and hope that police departments in other parts of the country will learn from the 48 deaths so far this year...

JT Williams said...

No, please stop blindly defending the officers. The average cop on the beat does not have the training or the restraint to deploy a portable electroshock weapon against the general public! These cops came into his home, and shocked him (5'6") multiple times! Here are some other very recent tragedies:
Paul Martin Martinez Jr. (Roseland, CA) 12/11
Douglas Boucher
(Mason, OH) 12/13
Hatchel Pate Adams III
(Hampton, Va) 12/11
Andrew Grande
(Panama City, FL) 12/11

It is happening every day and noone cares! Sue the hell out of taser, inc. (Class Action suit vs. cruel and unusual punishment)