Mission Statement - De-Spinning the Pro-Taser Propaganda

Yeah right, 'Excited Delirium' my ass...

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The primary purpose of this blog is to provide an outlet for my observations and analysis about tasers, taser "associated" deaths, and the behaviour exhibited by the management, employees and minions of Taser International. In general, everything is linked back to external sources, often via previous posts on the same topic, so that readers can fact-check to their heart's content. This blog was started in late-2007 when Canadians were enraged by the taser death of Robert Dziekanski and four others in a short three month period. The cocky attitude exhibited by the Taser International spokespuppet, and his preposterous proposal that Mr. Dziekanski coincidentally died of "excited delirium" at the time of his taser-death, led me to choose the blog name I did and provides my motivation. I have zero financial ties to this issue.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Idiot deputy to cost El Paso County $56,000

El Paso County Sheriff’s deputy Jerome Mercado-Vargas pulls over Jiles Theron Bennett, 48, and his wife, Jill, because he was doing 33 mph in a 45 mph zone. Yes, you read that correctly. Bennett reported that the roads were snow covered and slick. (The El Paso County Court ruled that Mercado-Vargas did not have probable cause to stop Bennett. Not one of charges against Bennet stuck. Not one.)

During the incident, Deputy Mercado-Vargas foolishly mistook Bennett's perfectly natural frustration - perhaps at being forced to deal with an idiot on a power trip - mistook the perfectly normal body language of frustration as a threat, and basically went ape-sh_t. Bennett was tasered twice and seriously roughed-up. Read the details here [LINK].

All the arguments about who was in the wrong in this stupid incident are resolved by the clear fact that all the charges against Mr. Bennett were tossed, and it is the El Paso County Commission that is currently rummaging around in their desk drawer looking for their cheque book.

One wag suggested that tasers make bad cops much worse. This incident seems to back up that opinion.

UPDATE: $56,000 $161,000 !!!

El Paso County commissioners voted today to pay $56,000 to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit involving a Peyton man who was shot twice with a stun gun in 2007 by an El Paso County sheriff’s deputy following a traffic stop.

The $56,000 settlement, which will be paid to Jiles Theron Bennett, 48, and his wife, Jill,  is only a portion of what the case will actually cost county taxpayers. In addition, El Paso County paid approximately $105,000 in legal fees and other costs associated with the federal lawsuit, El Paso County spokesman Dave Rose said today. The 4th Judicial District Attorney’s office also incurred the cost of two trials in county court involving the traffic citations and a misdemeanor stemming from the incident, as well an appeal. Bennett said he prevailed in both a trial before a judge and in a jury trial ...
[LINK]

A frankly stupid series of bad decisions leads directly to huge settlement expense. And it seems clear to me that the deputy in this mindless incident would have been much less likely to escalate if he had not been equipped with a taser and brainwashed as to its appropriate application. Your opinion may vary, but I don't believe the deputy would have used any other weapon in the circumstances described. The taser is essentially unique in this regard, which makes it a very dangerous and financially expensive device.

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