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.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Patrick Johnson, 18, "accidentally" dies of "heart desease" in taser-death

Welcome to 1984-speak.

Mentally-Challenged Teen's Taser Death Ruled Accidental
The death of an 18-year-old Northeast Philadelphia man who died in October after police Tasered him twice was ruled accidental by the city's Medical Examiner's office Monday. Patrick Johnson died from right ventricular cardiomyopathy -- a form of heart disease, city officials said. The shocks were a factor in the teen's death and could have kick started the heart condition but were only a factor -- not a cause of death -- for Johnson, authorities said. The official cause of death was accidental, according to the M.E. ... [LINK]

So the death was accidental.

And the cause of death was "heart desease".

And he died right after being tasered twice.

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Recommendation: Sue the city for 9-figures ($xxx Million). Seriously. This is so self evidently stupid that they're just begging for it.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Abuse your tasers, lose your tasers

Mayor takes Tasers away from Waveland police

Waveland, MS - Mayor David Garcia on Friday took the Tasers out of the hands of Waveland police officers. The order issued to Police Chief James Varnell by the newly elected mayor comes a day after three lawsuits alleging Taser abuse by officers were filed in federal court. ... [LINK]

Garcia was the fire chief and was recently elected mayor by a very wide margin.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

New Zealand tasers used primarily to threaten mental patients with electro-shock torture

A new study shows that police tasers are more than twice as likely to be used at mental health emergencies than criminal arrests. The study was conducted by Anthony O'Brien, senior lecturer in nursing at the University of Auckland. O'Brien said he was shocked to find that tasers had been used by police in laser pointing mode at mental health facilities. The laser pointing mode is one step away from discharging the taser. "I was shocked to find that tasers have been used at mental health inpatient units. I would be extremely alarmed if we were moving the way of the United States where hospital staff have been given tasers. That is completely contrary to New Zealand policy which is aimed at improving in-patient services," O'Brien says. The study also found Maori and Pacific people are far more likely to be tasered than Europeans. The study was published recently in the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry. [LINK]

At this point, the idiot taser fan-boys say, "Yeah, so?"

Ineffective taser leads to death of Deputy

Ineffective taser, two dead.

Deputy Killed: Setting the Record Straight [LINK]
The death of Deputy Sam Brownlee is a tragedy for Weld County. ...
1) Deputies chased a known felon and gang member, Rueben Reyes...
2) ...A taser was reportedly utilized. However, the taser ... was ineffective...
3) ...Reyes apparently saw, and took, the opportunity to pull Deputy Brownlee's weapon from its holster. Reyes then shot Deputy Brownlee three times [killing him]...
4) Another officer then shot Reyes three times [killing him]...
The deputy chose to rely on the unreliable taser, and it cost him his life.

The perp saw that the gun wasn't being used, and took it.

Perhaps if the officers had approached Reyes with their hands on their guns, then perhaps the situation would have turned out better. Obviously it couldn't have turned out any worse.

Reliance on tasers is ill-advised.

UK Taser firm "Pro-Tect Ltd.2.0" (a.k.a. TSR Ltd. 1.0)

File under: "How stupid do you think we are?" (*)

(* Answer: "Very." Too bad it's the elected MPs that are asking...)

Pro-Tect were stripped of their licence in September. A spokesman for the Home Office told the Guardian: "Inquiries following the Raoul Moat operation revealed Pro-Tect breached its licence by supplying Tasers direct to police...The inquiries carried out by Northamptonshire police also revealed the company breached rules governing the secure transport of the devices and ammunition." ... [LINK]
Two months on, and the authorisation to supply Tasers has been handed over to Pro-Tect 2.0 Tactical Death Safety Responses Limited (TSR), also of Daventry, Northamptonshire... A number of committee members expressed surprise that both companies were in Daventry: TSR’s registered office lies, according to the AA route planner, just 1.8 miles – or seven minutes' drive – from that of Pro-Tect Ltd. ...
Intense questioning of Home Office official, Graham Widdecombe of the Policing Directorate, by Committee Chair Keith Vaz, and Dr Julian Huppert, Lib Dem MP for Cambridge, revealed some overlap of staff. ...
TSR Ltd was set up on 28 September – the same day that newspapers were reporting the demise of Pro-Tect’s contract...
...and the first director named on the TSR Ltd particulars is a Mr Glenn Cameron – who is also listed as Secretary for Pro-Tect Ltd. ...

In other words, the slime-ball stun gun salesmen are giving the finger to the elected MPs and the rules. And there's NOTHING that the MPs can do about it...

Ha ha...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Taser QotD: "Given the choice, I'll never carry a Taser again."

Taser Quote of the Day:

A police officer [Sergeant Aaron Strahan] who tasered Aboriginal man Kevin Spratt 10 times at Perth Watchhouse has told a corruption hearing that given the choice he would never carry a Taser again. ... [LINK]
...He later added that now following the subsequent events, widespread publicity of the incident and the corruption hearing, he felt uncomfortable carrying what he called a "flawed weapon". "Given the choice, I'll never carry a Taser again." ...

Some learn faster than others...

Surprise, surprise...

Why, you could have knocked me over with a feather when I read the following:

The CCC yesterday produced evidence showing Mr Spratt was not the only person to be tasered at the East Perth lock-up, giving examples of two other men who also refused to be strip-searched. One was tasered four times before police removed his clothes. Another was tasered once when he wouldn't drop his pants during a search. The police incident report said the taser "made him let go of his trousers". The names of the men were suppressed. ... [LINK]

Geesh, I am so surprised... [LINK] ...not.

Do you think that they won't find more?

Ah, that's called TORTURE

Kevin Spratt was tasered 'to force compliance'

The first officer to taser Kevin Spratt at a Perth watchhouse concedes he used the weapon to force the Aboriginal man to obey his orders, a corruption hearing has heard. ... [LINK]

Clearly, using severe pain to force (verb) or coerce someone to do something meets the exact internationally-agreed definition of "Torture".

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Hints:

Notice that "lawful force" is a noun.

Using severe pain to "force" (the verb) someone to obey you is Torture.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Memo to Medical Examiners

To the attention of Medical Examiners and Coroners:

It is becoming a pattern that findings of death by "excited delirium" are being overturned upon judicial review.

  • Mr. Dziekanski in Vancouver. Justice Braidwood determined that excited delirium was not the cause of death and that the concept itself was "unhelpful".

  • Mr. Hyde in Halifax. Judge Derrick rejected the explanation of excited delirium and called it "a red-herring".

Putting yourself in the situation where a judge is forced by the obvious facts to correct your supposedly-expert medical findings is a huge embarrassment.

It's over... The era of getting "medical advice" from the manufacturer of electro-shock torture tools and their merry band of bought-and-paid-for deceptive minions.


Another point worth mentioning: It's a fact, tasers can kill.

If someone is tasered-and-dies, then do not reject the possibility that the taser caused the death. Frankly, you'd have to be a naive moron to take the insane position that the taser will be given a free pass. When someone is tasered-and-dies (immediately), then the obviously-significant direct and indirect effects of the taser must be placed at, or very near, the top of the list of possible causes-of-death.

Feel free to list as many contributing factors as the facts support. But it is an outright lie to claim that a taser cannot cause a death. An outright lie.

If you value your reputation, then you should be very careful about where you're obtaining your information about taser safety and "excited delirium" as a cause of death.

Homework: Google the taser's Curious Temporal Asymmetry.

Good luck.

Taser-associated deaths per month up to end-November 2010

Click image for larger version.

Black line shows running average, now settled on about five or six taser-associated deaths per month.

More on Richard Chrisman

In 2005, Richard Chrisman was caught on video participating in the planting of drug paraphernalia on a mentally-disabled homeless woman.




Direct YouTube link [LINK].

For this criminal act, he was given a one-day suspension and his name was placed on a list of Bad Cops That Shall Remain Employed Until They Actually Kill Someone.

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Now - take a moment to look at the video again. How many other officers "of the law" were present and participated in this criminal act? What is the percentage of participation?

At least three others, and 100% participation rate.


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This story has nothing to do with tasers.

This story has EVERYTHING to do with tasers.

The very strange case of Richard Chrisman


[News from October 7th, 2010]

Phoenix police Officer Richard Chrisman (left) killed Danny Frank Rodriquez.

...Chrisman and Virgillo, patrolling in separate vehicles, both responded to the call at 12:20 p.m. Virgillo said Fernandez asked them to go inside the trailer and talk to her son. When the man refused to let officers in, Virgillo said, Chrisman responded by holding his service weapon to the man's temple and stating that he didn't need a warrant.

Virgillo said Chrisman re-holstered his weapon but that a scuffle ensued inside. The officers attempted to subdue Rodriquez with a Taser and with pepper spray. Amid the struggle, Virgillo said, Chrisman shot a dog that was barking inside the trailer. As the struggle continued, Rodriquez tried to leave the trailer on a bicycle and grappled with the officers over the handlebars. As Rodriquez stood near the bike, Virgillo said, Chrisman raised his gun and fired. Paramedics declared Rodriquez dead at the scene. ... [LINK]
Michael Johnson, a former Phoenix homicide detective and the only African-American on the City Council, ... commended Virgillo for "coming forward" and "telling the truth" about the shooting. Other community leaders also praised Virgillo's actions. "He needs to be protected from peer scrutiny and publicly commended for his integrity to the sacred oath he lives by," said Adolfo Maldonado, a south Phoenix community activist who sits on the city's police-review task force. ...
Barbara Attard, a consultant who served as independent police auditor for excessive force cases in San Jose, gasped when portions of the initial report were read to her over the phone. "There is a thin blue line, and officers are very reluctant to testify against other officers," Attard said. "I think it's going to be a different kind of case than you usually see."

Look at the neck... Look at his neck! It's wider than his head!

For some reason, the phrase "steroid abuse" springs to mind. Maybe that will be his defense...  Insanity caused by illegal drug abuse, specifically steroids.

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Note - the above comments are pure speculation. There is no evidence that Officer 'Dick' Chrisman has abused steroids.  Well... ...except for the obvious fact that his neck is wider than his head, and he appears to have "anger issues".  But except for those, no evidence whatsoever.

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PS: Virgillo should get an award and a fat bonus. Bless his heart.

Taser International "...a Fortune 500 business..."? LOL...

Unfortunately, the Chiefs of Police that use TASERs have delegated their duty to protect the public to a Fortune 500 business like TASER International whose sole concern is its bottom line. [LINK]
Yeah right, in their dreams...


No, not Fortune 500 (annual revenue of US$4.2 billion or more)

Not even 3% of the annual revenue to be Fortune 500.


Not even Fortune 1000 (annual revenue of US$1.5 billion or more)

Not even 10% of the annual revenue to be Fortune 1000.


They'd probably make the Evil 10 list.

They certainly punch above their weight when it comes to killing people and damaging society with the deceptive marketing that surrounds their sometimes-deadly "non-lethal" weapons.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wilmington, Delaware pays $875,000 for taser-fiasco killing of decorated Marine

Wilmington paid $875,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the widow of a decorated former Marine who was fatally shot more than four years ago (November 2006) by police investigating the Pagans Motorcycle Club, according to documents filed Friday in federal court. ... Derek J. Hale, a 25-year-old former Marine and member of the Pagans Motorcycle Club from Virginia, was sitting on the steps of another club member's Wilmington home when police surrounded him and stunned him with Taser guns before shooting him. ... Hale's grandfather, Von Ridings of Cape Girardeau, Mo., said, "I still think they murdered the boy. I don't know of anything they can do to make me change my mind because if they weren't guilty, they wouldn't have paid out a damn dime." ... [LINK]

So...

Examination time again.

What was the benefit of the taser in this case?

Does the term "cluster-f**k" spring to mind?

Are the police putting too much faith in an unreliable weapon?

Perth man 'tasered 40 times in one week'

A Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) hearing in Perth has been told a man may have been tasered more than 40 times in one week. The Commission is conducting a public inquiry into whether police or corrective services officers engaged in misconduct in relation to the arrest and detention of Kevin Spratt. Video footage of Mr Spratt being tasered more than a dozen times on the floor of a police watch house in 2008 was released by the commission earlier this year.

Now security footage of a separate incident has been released. The security video taken on September 6, 2008 shows members of the department's specialist Emergency Support Group tasering Mr Spratt repeatedly as they attempt to forcibly remove him from a cell at the Perth watch-house.
[LINK]
It's important to clarify one little detail...

A taser deployment is a bit like a "bunch" of green onions.

Some produce, such as green onions, are sometimes sold by the "bunch". But I've notice that the grocery store might have green onions "on sale" at $0.79 per "bunch", instead of $0.99 per bunch. But I've noticed that the size of the bunch can vary from week to week. Which makes the sale price a bit dubious...


A taser hit is almost as ill-defined.

The X26 taser emits 19 pulses per second. Each pulse causes pain that is approximately 2000 times what can be called intense.

One taser "deployment" or "hit" might last for a second. Another one might last for five seconds. And if the trigger is held down, another taser hit might last until the batteries are drained.

Unless someone has carefully counted the pulses (at 19 per second) and then normalized the durations back to some un-defined standard, then the claim that someone was tasered 'N' times is a bunch of garbage.

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It is fair to conclude that Mr. Spratt was electro-tortured to a degree that is way past merely evil.

THINK !!!!

COLLINGWOOD, Ont. - The father of a man killed earlier this year by a jolt from a Taser says the police weapon should be reclassified as lethal. On Monday, the Ontario's Special Investigations Unit cleared a provincial police officer who administered the lethal shock to Aron Firman, 27, and blamed the weapon itself – only the second time in Canada that an official link been drawn. [LINK]

The ONLY reason that this is "only the second time in Canada" that a taser has been implicated as a cause of death is because there was a time when the lies and deceptions originating from Taser International were naively believed. There is little doubt that more than a few taser-CAUSED deaths were passed-off as 'excited delirium', or assigned to other causes, or the contribution of the taser was given a free pass.

Now that we understand that, in fact, a taser can cause a death (surprise-surprise), then we have to go back and re-examine some of the previous cause-of-death conclusions.

1) Any deaths by "excited delirium" need to be re-opened. Judicial inquiry after judicial inquiry has rejected this fraudulent or "unhelpful" finding.

2) Any taser-associated deaths need to be re-examined. In many cases that role of the taser in the death was incorrectly excluded at the outset. Now that we have two counter-examples, the truth is starting to peek out from under the carpet.

Only two cases in Canada?

Don't be stupid. Don't be ignorant.

Look at the history.

Look at the trajectory of truth.

Only two, my ass....

Mental health crisis, taser, cardiac arrest

A man is suing Clackamas County for $3 million after a deputy shocked him with a Taser and he went into cardiac arrest. On Dec. 2, 2008, Paul Streeter ran through the parking lot at Clackamas Town Center Mall, pounding on the windows of a mall security car and threatening the guard.... Deputies were already on their way because Streeter’s father had called 911 saying his son had mental health issues and he was off his medication. When Deputy Steve Shelly arrived, he ordered Streeter to get on the ground but he would not comply. Shelly then used the Taser, according to the Sheriff's Office.Deputies put Streeter in handcuffs but realized he stopped breathing. They called paramedics and revived him. [LINK]

Tasers and cardiac arrest.

Taser International and their minion Mark W. Kroll assured us repeatedly that tasers have a huge 15-to-1 safety margin and that there's no way that a taser could ever affect the heart.

But there sure are a statistical surplus of "difficulty breathing" [cardiac effects] happening right after being tasered.

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Telling someone to get on the ground when they're off their medication... Might as well toss them a Rubic's Cube and demand that they solve it.

21-year-old Eduardo Lopez-Hernandez - tasered, stopped breathing, died.

The upcoming inquest was to examine the actions of officers involved in the death of 21-year-old Eduardo Lopez-Hernandez. He was arrested and stunned with a Taser following what police described as a road rage incident the night of Aug. 25. After he was stunned, officers said Lopez-Hernandez stopped breathing. He was rushed to University Medical Center but died a short time later. [LINK]

Gee, I wonder if the taser had anything at all to do with his death?

See also [LINK].

Seattle taser instructor forced to shoot subject

A Seattle police officer at the center of Tuesday night's shooting is an expert in the use of tasers and an instructor in non-lethal force, but was forced to use his weapon [gun], according to Seattle police. The officer involved in the shooting at Third Avenue and Yesler Way in downtown Seattle was identified as Officer Chris Myers, a 20-year veteran and former Officer of the Year. Investigators said police responded to a 911 call of a man at a bus stop with a gun. Officers said they confronted the man, but he began to walk away. According to police, Myers tried to taze the suspect, then saw the suspect reach into the waistband of his pants grab what appeared to be a metal object. Myers dropped the taser, drew his gun and fired one shot into the suspect's torso. A gun was recovered, but it was not loaded. ... The suspect was last listed in serious condition at Harborview Medical Center. [LINK]
 When a suspect reaches for a gun and the officer uses his gun to protect himself, then there's nothing to complain about. Nothing.

When the subject reached for the gun, this officer chose not to rely upon his unreliable taser. He dropped the taser, and then dropped the subject. A very wise decision.


And a few more questions need to be asked:

Why wasn't the taser wasn't effective?

Did the taser help the situation in any way?

Did the taser actually encourage the subject to reach for the gun?

Taser International plays with the world's stupidest investors

Taser International's shares rose as much as $0.74 per share based on the news (released all at once) that they'd, ah, sold some tasers.
The company said the first order received was from a U.S. federal agency to provide 692 of its X26 electronic control devices with 1384 cartridges. The other orders were from four "international customers" and included 3,110 M26; 712 X26 with cameras, and enough cartridges to electro-torture 65,000 citizens. [LINK]
I would have expected that this would be just another week or two's worth of business for a company with a market cap of between $250M and $300M.

The market cap rose about ten times the retail value of the combined sales. Perhaps the idiot investors figured that there's be a similar announcement every day for the rest of the decade.


I notice that the sales of the older M26 continue. Perhaps it's because some overseas clients realize that it might actually be safer with respect to cardiac effects.

Weird...

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The share price has since retreated by about half the inexplicable increase (I guess once the sheeple were all fleeced).


Disclaimer - I have zero financial interest in this.

"Chilling" second video of the tasering of Kevin Spratt

Seven heavily protected prison officers wearing helmets and carrying batons are shown entering Mr Spratt's prison cell and yelling at Mr Spratt to turn around and lie down. "If you don't lay down, I'm going to taser you. Turn around and lay down. That's it, I'm not going to ask you again. If I have to ask you again I'm going to taser you," one officers shouts. After an unarmed Mr Spratt apparently refuses, a prison officer tasers Mr Spratt twice and he is then pinned face down on the floor. The officers then demand Mr Spratt extend his arms straight out while an officer drives a Taser into the small of his bare back and uses it nine times. During the ordeal Mr Spratt can be heard talking in native tongue and praying to God. ... [LINK]

Torture defined:

Under the United Nations Torture Convention of 1984, torture involves intentional infliction of pain, by a public official, to obtain information [...or other purposes as listed below]. The full definition of torture in the convention is:

"Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity."

This definition excludes "pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions", which seems designed to permit the death penalty. [LINK]

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You can read and re-read and read it again until your eyes fall out.

Those officers were torturing Mr. Spratt.

Torture.

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UPDATE: Highly-disturbing video of long-duration electro-torture available here [LINK].

Do this and do that or we will apply high-voltage shocks to your body to cause extreme pain.

It's torture.

Torture.

Torture.

Torture.

Torture.

Australia: Two officers at the Rockingham police station have been sacked

Officers sacked over taser 'entertainment'
An investigation found the Sergeant and Senior Constable improperly used tasers against other officers as a form of entertainment. Police Commisioner Karl O'Callaghan said he made the decision because neither of the officers told the truth to internal investigators when they were first questioned. ... [LINK]
Merry Christmas. The shopping malls are busy this time of year, perhaps they'll be looking for a few good men to patrol the corridors...

The Police Union expressed surprise at the dismissals:

Union says 'taser' officers should be demoted, not fired
"Yeah, we were absolutely not expecting that they'd be held accountable. Normally we police officers really do expect to get away with serious criminal acts such as these. Frankly, our members are in a state of shock at the new reality - that they need to start behaving as if they're in some sort of civil society. Geesh, the transition is going to be very difficult...", Mr. Armstrong [LINK] did NOT say, but may have been thinking...
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You know, an ounce of common sense - that's all it would take.

An ounce of common sense...

They could hire me at $10,000 per day to come Down Under and explain it to them. They'd all gather in an auditorium, I'd walk out to center stage, check the microphone, and then I'd explain it all to them:

"Good morning.

Stop acting like morons!

Now, who do I see about my cheque?"

Judge points out that the use of the taser worsened the situation

Nova Scotia Provincial Court Judge Anne Derrick ...concluded that Mr. Hyde, a 45-year-old musician, died because of the effect on his body of being restrained in the jail. She said that guards and police employed proportionate force, but that use of the taser, while within the accepted guidelines, worsened the situation. She urged that these weapons be applied only as a last resort on agitated people. [LINK]

Obviously tasers are a form of violence.

What's less obvious to some of the more thick-headed folks is just how violent tasers really are. They're off-the-scale with respect to pain. With each deployment there's a risk of death.

Those that treat them as a handy-dandy persuader to encourage a subject to behave are, at best, ill-informed, and at worst, evil and dangerous.

The escalation of violence is itself an evil act. Read some of the details of this case and it's perfectly clear that it was handled very badly from start to finish.

Judge rejects ‘excited delirium’ as cause of NS inmate’s death

A Nova Scotia judge probing the death in custody of a paranoid schizophrenic man has waded into the debate over excited delirium, rejecting it as the cause, and questioning if the controversial condition even exists.

Howard Hyde died the day after he was arrested for allegedly assaulting his wife while off his medication. The Dartmouth man was tasered repeatedly and wrestled into submission by police in a fracas during booking. He struggled later with guards at a local jail before collapsing and dying.

The province’s chief medical examiner had concluded that Mr. Hyde’s death was due to excited delirium.

Provincial Court Judge Anne Derrick – who presided over an 11-month inquiry and tabled a massive report on Wednesday with 80 recommendations aimed at improving treatment of the mentally ill – concluded that Mr. Hyde’s death was the accidental result of being restrained. "
This case should sound a loud alarm that resorting to ‘excited delirium’ as an explanation for a person’s behaviour and/or their death may be entirely misguided," she wrote. ... [LINK]
Yes, exactly as we've been pointing out since late-2007.
Judge Derrick rejected the finding of Matthew Bowes, the province’s chief medical examiner, who said that Mr. Hyde died from "excited delirium due to paranoid schizophrenia."

"Excited delirium, if it exists at all, is irrelevant to this case, a red herring," she wrote. "Furthermore, I believe it is inappropriate to say that Mr. Hyde’s death was ‘due to schizophrenia’ ... he did not die because he was mentally ill."
[ibid]

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Scratch one more "excited delirium" death

Howard Hyde "excited delirium" findings overturned.

Howard Hyde, who died 30 hours after being stunned with a Taser... Three years after Howard Hyde died in a Halifax-area jail cell, a provincial court judge says his death was accidental and not the result of excited delirium. ... A medical examiner [had] concluded the cause of death was excited delirium with three contributing factors: the restraint technique used by guards and Hyde's obesity and heart disease. ... [CBC]

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"Excited delirium"... Part of the lexicon of deception.

--

Background (based on previous news reports):

Mr. Hyde was off his medication. Police were called. At the station, one officer apparently thought it would be a good idea to approach Mr. Hyde with an open knife, in order to cut off part of his clothing. Mr. Hyde, perhaps unsurprisingly, reacted badly. A struggle ensued. Mr. Hyde was tasered-and-immediately-died, but was heroically revived. Later, another struggle, and he died again.

Antoine di Zazzo is a liar, or perhaps just ill-informed

"A Taser has never killed anyone," the director of the Taser’s French subsidiary, Antoine di Zazzo, told the news agency AFP. ... [LINK]

How about Aron Firman? [LINK]

di Zazzo-for-brains either knows this, or he should know it. Mr. Firman's death is not the first to be attributed to the taser.

The simplest explanation is that di Zazzo is a bald-faced liar...

A reasonable alternate explanation is that he is simply a stun gun salesman, but that's essentially the same as the previous explanation.

Tasers can kill. 

   Tasers do kill. 

      Tasers have killed.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

If "tasers save lives", then show me the 683 saved lives in Chicago

The Independent Police Review Authority, a review agency created by a political city ordinance in Chicago, released a new report which claims there were 683 incidents in twelve months, ending September 30, 2010, when Tasers, also known as stun guns, were used by police officers. The 683 figure is much larger than the previous years figures of 197 usages in 2009 and only 163 in 2008. [LINK]

Do you think that tasers "saved" 683 lives in Chicago during that same 12-month period?

How about 68 lives (10%)?

Maybe seven (1%)?

Perhaps none?

Was there actually an increase in officer-involved deaths?

UK Taser firm stripped of license! Changes name, moves down the street.

Staff from the Taser firm stripped of its licence after its weapons were used in the stand-off with gunman Raoul Moat will be working for the new company set up as its sole replacement in the UK, Home Office officials said today.

Pro-Tect Systems will be replaced by start-up firm Pro-Tect Systems 2 Tactical Death Safety Responses (TSR), which is based in the same area and will use some of the same staff as its Northampton-based predecessor.

But Graham Widdecombe, of the Home Office, denied MPs' suggestions it was a "shotgun marriage" to get a firm in place very quickly in an effort to avoid a shortage of Taser weapons and cartridges.

Earlier, Pro-Tect managing director Kevin Coles told the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee that his firm broke its licence when its late director of operations Peter Boatman, a former police officer, decided [Suggestion: check the communications records...] to take the X12 Tasers, which were still being tested by Government scientists, directly to police involved in the Moat manhunt.

Mr Widdecombe agreed the Home Office had withdrawn authorisation to Pro-Tect, then granted a new licence to another company based in the same area with some of the same employees of the previous firm that had been struck off. ... [LINK]

Always a scam going on, isn't there?

PS: Tasers can cause death. Yes they can. It's essentially random.

Taser CAUSED "a" death. -- Okay, now think !!!

How many taser-deaths have been assigned to other causes because of the lies that tasers-R-safe and tasers cannot possibly cause a death?

How many?

Now it is clearly acknowledged that tasers can, IN FACT, cause death.

Taser caused schizophrenic’s death, investigation concludes [LINK]

And the obvious truth about taser safety is becoming more and more clear with each tragic killing. Tasers can kill. Are you surprised?

So what about all the past cases where deaths were arbitrarily assigned to other causes, no matter how far-fetched, because "...it couldn't have been the taser..." ?

WHAT ABOUT ALL THOSE PREVIOUS CASES?????

Taser killed Ontario man

"The Taser is characterized as a less lethal or intermediate weapon both in the OPP operator recertification material and the use of force model," SIU director Ian Scott said in a release. "However, in this incident, the Taser's deployment in my view caused Mr. Firman's death." ... The "officer could have reasonably thought that the Taser deployment would not be lethal based upon his training," he said. "In these circumstances, and in light of Mr. Firman's demonstrated degree of aggression, I am of the opinion that the Taser's deployment was not excessive, notwithstanding the fact that it caused Mr. Firman's demise." [LINK]

Taser International falsely claimed that tasers are essentially safe. Specifically with respect to the possible cardiac effects.

They embedded these lies and deceptions into the training packages, that they control.

OPP probably relied on this defective training long after it had been obvious to everyone that it was flawed.

So the officer is cleared of wrong-doing because the failures were higher up the chain of command.

It seems to me that the OPP and Taser International are in the legal cross-hairs.

I recommend that Firman's family hire a very good law firm, and launch a MASSIVE lawsuit against both of these organizations. Eight or nine figures. Hit 'em hard. If the dollar amount is too small, then nothing will change.

--

The primary good news is that this investigation only required five or six months. That tight timing is a very good thing.

Aron Firman's attributed to taser

Aron Firman, 27, Collingwood, ON - June 24, 2010 - OPP

...In his report, Ian Scott, director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), attributed Firman’s death to the deployment of the Taser, but said the device is characterized as “less lethal,” which led the officer to reasonably believe it would not cause death. ... [via TNT]

24 June 2010 is a bit late to be using the excuse that they "...didn't get the memo."

Although this is "a good excuse" (sic!) for the officer, it also opens up the OPP to perfect liability for not communicating the true facts about tasers and safety; facts that have widely known since well before June 2010.

This outcome crumbles under the weight of its own self-contradictions.

June 2010?

Didn't know?

Puhleeze...

--

PS: This news just in! Tasers can cause death. Gee, do ya think?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Lee County Sheriff’s Office finally acts on advice from a Mommy

FORT MYERS - The Lee County Sheriff’s Office fired a jailer who used his Taser excessively, turning it against his wife, his son and even the boy dating his daughter. Deputy Gene R. Ulbrich, a corrections deputy hired in 2007, violated agency rules for handling a weapon, according to an internal investigation. Sheriff Mike Scott fired Ulbrich on Nov. 23. ... [LINK]

Sheriff Mike Scott has apparently not been fired for failing to implement a taser use monitoring program. Ulbrich had reportedly been 'playing around' with his taser since at least April. But nobody bothered to check the records until prompted by a complaint from the mother of the boyfriend of the daughter of Ulbrich.

Does the taser "training" include any advice about what to do with the available on-device records of deployments? Shouldn't they be audited once a week or so?

Idiots.

Use of taser lands officer in legal trouble

BEAUMONT - Testimony is underway in the trial of a Beaumont police officer charged with official oppression. Prosecutors say James Cody Guedry, 28, used his Taser twice while assisting at a traffic stop in August of 2007. [LINK]

--

Taser Quote of the Day:
In an audio tape of the stop, Duchamp said to Guedry, "I told you I would get you a tase before ya left."

I told ya I'd git ya in a legal mess before ya left.

Brilliant.

Even if he's acquitted, it's still a mess.

Western Australia - catching up with common sense

Western Australia Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan has announced a major policy change on Tasers, saying the stun guns should now only be used when officers believe they are at risk of serious injury. Mr. O'Callaghan said the WA Police Professional Standards Division would also review police use-of-force incidents captured on CCTV to determine if police accounts of incidents matched the tapes. ... [LINK]

So the police and political leadership around the world are so ill-informed that each and every jurisdiction has to have their own tragic or disturbing taser incident before they even begin to impose the sort of common sense (basic ethics) measures that critics and bloggers have been calling for, FOR YEARS!!

Are other jurisdictions paying attention?

--

Anyway, bad news for the scummy and deceptive stun gun salesmen.

And good news for common decency and civil society.

9th issues "landmark" ruling against tasers

In a landmark ruling yesterday, a panel of judges from the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined that police use of tasers can constitute excessive force, and that officers should exercise discretion in deploying such electronic weapons against suspects. [LINK]
...The majority’s response, written by Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw, was unsparing. Wardlaw’s opinion took issue with the basis for the dissent, stating that it was based “upon the largely unsupported and nonsensical belief that use of a device designed to fire a dart up to one-half inch into bare skin and deliver a 1200 volt charge somehow does not constitute an intermediate use of force.” ...

We're getting there.

Decision after decision is going the right way.

Taser International's (TASR) sales figures aren't going to be climbing as they wished if use of Tasers is tightly restricted.

Judge questions Taser rules constitutionality

A federal judge decided last week he wanted to hear more evidence about whether police rules for using Tasers are inadequate and unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Timothy Black said the evidence he's seen so far shows that police officers are "permitted" [by defective policy] to use Tasers against people who are not suspected of committing a serious crime and who do not pose a threat of harm to anyone else. [LINK]

Ah, yeah, duh!

Grade 6 Civics class is all that's required to figure this out.

Tasers are torture. Tasers are potentially deadly. Tasers are almost always excessive force.

And anyone that denies these obvious facts is a threat to civil society.

Aussie Police "threaten" to hand-in their tasers

The Police Union president Russell Armstrong says the Comissioner's announcement has upset officers. "They've said that they should hand their tasers back and we'll start carrying our batons and only our firearms," he said. [LINK]

Hey Armstrong!

You "guys" still have those puffter tasers? I heard that only weak wussies carry those yellow plastic (sometimes deadly, sometimes ineffective) toys. You guys (?) still carry them? Hey, not that there's anything wrong with that... ...ahem. It's 'good' (?) to walk around with a yellow plastic portable electro-torture device on your belt to let members of the public know that they could be the next Spratt, bouncing around on the floor, if they dare to mouth off. Maybe you should get the leopard skin print version, they look simply adorable. What next? A hot-pink Holden with menacing spikes glued on the bonnet? LOL.

Turn 'em in.

Wussies.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Woman Attacked With Her Own Stun Gun

I... Can... See... The... Future...

Hoquiam, WA - A Silverdale man allegedly assaulted a Hoquiam woman with her own stun gun yesterday, Hoquiam Police report the 28 year old man grabbed the woman's stun gun after being told to leave her apartment, the 23 year old woman said that the man repeatedly stunned her until officers arrived just before 11 Monday morning. ... [LINK]

Stun guns as self-protection?

See [LINK] and [LINK] and many more...

"You can't handle the truth..."

Video protecting the truth? Of course that's true. What's not true is that the unexpectedly available video will validate the police version of events as being the complete truth.

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett has apologised to a family who were charged with obstruction before CCTV footage undermined the police case against them. The Walker family plan to lay a formal complaint against WA Police after son Ryan, 24, was tasered by officers outside Tiger Lil's nightclub in central Perth on January 16.

His parents, Ken and Raelene Walker, and friend Luke Hazell, 23, were charged with obstruction after questioning officers about their handling of a melee outside the club. Police have launched an internal investigation after all obstruction charges were dropped, along with a charge of assaulting police laid against Ryan Walker. CCTV footage shown in the Perth Magistrates Court on Monday showed no evidence he had punched a plain-clothes officer, as police had alleged.

Mrs Walker suffered a broken ankle as she was removed from the scene by officers, and she is planning civil action. Ken Walker told ABC Radio on Tuesday that his wife had been severely distressed and cried after seeing police taser their son, and the family was seeking an apology from police. "The officers involved, they didn't handle the situation very well at all," he said. ... [LINK]

I've highlighted the plurals because that reveals a very disturbing truth. It's not just one or two rouge police officers. There's a systematic and disgusting uniformity in that not one, NOT ONE, of the involved police officers bothered to come forward with the true story. Not one.

Sounds very familiar...

A large bucket of warm tar and a very wide brush, please and thank you.

--

If anyone has any example news stories about how any police officer spoke-up about the actions of his 'brothers', then I'd love to hear about it.

Until then, I'll assume that there are a modest fraction that are bad apples, and a vast majority that would cover-up for them.

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This has a direct effect on the requirement for clear and tightly restricted Taser Use Policy. The old argument of "Just Trust Us" is rendered invalid by these sorts of examples that demonstrate wide-spread police corruption in their participation in the laying of false charges.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ineffective taser (3 times) - deputy killed with own gun

GREELEY, Colo. -- Hundreds of men and women, many in uniform, gathered in Greeley Monday to remember a Weld County deputy killed in the line of duty last week. A memorial service for Sam Brownlee was being held on the University of Northern Colorado campus in Greeley. At the end of a high-speed chase Tuesday, the 43-year-old Brownlee was grappling with an accused car thief who fought through three attempts to subdue him with a Taser stun gun, investigators said. Somehow 20-year-old Ruben Reyes was able to grab Brownlee's gun and shoot him three times before another officer shot and killed Reyes... [LINK]

Taser was ineffective once.
Taser was ineffective twice.
Taser was ineffective thrice.
Perp grabs deputy's gun and kills him with it.
Perp is then killed by another deputy (with a gun).

It seems to me that the ineffective taser (and the over-selling deception that accompany it) lead to an escalation that resulted in two deaths.

The stun gun salesmen told us that tasers are "...safe and effective...". They have much to answer for; especially concerning their deception about the rate of ineffective deployments. See this post [LINK]. As usual their bald-faced deception endangers lives. And now an officer (and a perp) are dead.

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My condolences to the family and friends of Deputy Brownlee.

This shouldn't have happened.

This needn't have happened.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Ineffective taser, deputy killed - consider the implications...

Taser didn't stop man who killed deputy

Police used a Taser three times on a suspected Fort Morgan gang member Tuesday before he shot and killed Weld County Sheriff's Deputy Sam Brownlee, but it did not have the desired effect. ... [LINK]

Taser flummoxed by "bulky clothing".

You could hear a pin drop in Scottsdale right about now.

Why even mention "excited delirium" ?

The inquest heard testimony this week from Alberta’s chief medical examiner that Grimolfson, 38, died of excited delirium caused by high levels of the drugs ecstasy and ketamine, an animal tranquillizer. The levels of each drug in Grimolfson’s body were each high enough to have been fatal, Dr. Graeme Dowling said. ... [LINK]
 Then why-oh-why would you even mention the stupid, meaningless, unhelpful phrase "excited delirium"?

Why not just state that the cause of death is 'Drug Overdose' if that's what is indicated by the 1) drug levels AND 2) the timing AND 3) You wish to ignore the effects of the taser.

Why on earth would he even mention "excited delirium"?

Why? Why? Why?

--

Hey look! A unicorn.
Where?
There. Didn't you see it?
Nope.
Oh my Gawd, there's another one!
Where?
Right there!
There's no such thing as unicorns!
Sure there is, we just saw two of them! Oh, make that three!

--

Alberta's strange "excited delirium" and taser no-fault trend [LINK].

Dr. Dowling's DEMONSTRABLY INCORRECT claim about "15 seconds" [LINK]. This one is very strange. Why would he make this claim? Who told him this falsehood? And why was he even speaking with them?

Dr. Dowling's possible logical error [LINK].

Alberta's former SG crazy claim: [LINK]
Fred Lindsay, Solicitor General and Minister of Public Security for Alberta (from 14 December 2006 until 13 January 2010) said, "I want to go on record as saying that of all the thousands of times that a Taser has been used in this province, it has saved thousands of lives."

There's definitely a trend on display here.

I can't explain it.

But I can see it.

Taser Quote of the Month, "...it wasn’t doing what it was supposed to do..."

"I could hear it (working), absolutely, but it wasn’t doing what it was supposed to do... He should have been on the ground. He should have been incapacitated, but he wasn’t," Scott said. [LINK]
Unreliable junk surrounded by false promises.

Waxahachie officers suspended after stun guns used on prisoner

Two Waxahachie police officers have been suspended indefinitely after being accused of inappropriately using their stun guns on a prisoner, Earl Ray Gay, to remove a bag of crack cocaine from his mouth. Officer George Pappas and Lt. Damon James were videotaped by fellow officers during the incident, leading to an internal investigation of the July 16 incident that concluded last week. "They do not work for the Police Department anymore," Police Chief Charles Edge said today. "They're indefinitely suspended." ... [LINK]

A glimmer of sunshine - officers being held to account for using electro-torture "inappropriately".

Tasers are "...safe and effective..."

Taser International claims that tasers are "...safe and effective..." They also claim that tasers operate in a manner that directly affects the muscles and that the mechanism does not relay on pain, and is therefore effective on subjects even if they're high on drugs and resistant to pain.

So, are these claims true? Or just the sort of BS that spouts from deceptive salesmen?
CBC News - ...Scott said he used his Taser once, but with no effect. Another officer deployed his Taser, but again, Grimolfson was not subdued. 'He could feel nothing.' Scott told the inquiry he struck Grimolfson twice in the jaw. Scott deployed a stun gun on Grimolfson a third time. "Nothing was working," Scott said. "He could feel nothing." ...

Police were able to handcuff Grimolfson and put a spit mask on him, but then Grimolfson stopped struggling and ceased breathing. Scott took off the handcuffs and Grimolfson's tongue flopped out as he removed the spit mask. Scott could only detect a faint pulse and started doing chest compressions. Paramedics rushed Grimolfson to hospital where he was declared dead. ... [LINK]

'Effective'? Not the first time. Not the second time. Not the third time. 1, 2, 3 - Do you see a trend here?

'Effective on drug users'? Apparently not so much.

'Does not rely upon pain; directly affect the muscles'? Yeah, right...

How are the claims holding up? Do you see a trend here?


So how about the claim that 'tasers-R-safe'?

Mr. Grimolfson was tasered_and_died.

If he was a drug addict, then (by definition) he'd probably taken drugs many times before. But on this day he was tasered_and_died, in that order, and reportedly in quick succession. (Note: Another report [LINK] claims a "roughly five minutes" time gap, but that doesn't match the above report.)

Given that the official cause of death was assigned to the meaningless and unhelpful phrase excited delirium, then perhaps the official cause of death might be considered to be under suspicion.

It's simply not rational to give the taser a free pass because the manufacturer claims that it's "...safe and effective..."

--

Please note that I'm not so much concerned with the actions of these particular officers on this particular day.

The question I'm concerned with is the subject of this entire blog...

Are tasers as safe (and effective) as has been repeatedly claimed by Taser International?

Apparently not.

Question: Can the police, in general, be trusted [with tasers]?

Answer:
OTTAWA - Stacy Bonds, a young black makeup artist with no criminal history was arrested by Ottawa police, apparently for asking why police had stopped her for questioning. A video of her treatment in police custody is now available on the Citizen’s website, OttawaCitizen.com.

The facts of Bonds’s treatment bear repeating. She was walking on Rideau Street in downtown Ottawa. She was neither drunk nor behaving inappropriately. The police stopped her and asked her name; she provided it. After checking her name and finding nothing, the police told her she could go on her way. Bonds, as is her perfect right, asked why she had been stopped in the first place.

In response, the police arrested her for public intoxication and handcuffed her. As Ontario Court Judge Richard Lajoie later held, Bonds was not drunk. Once Bonds was taken to Ottawa Police headquarters, the judge noted that she was anything but "violent or aggressive." As can be clearly seen in the video, Bonds is much smaller than the police who confronted her.

In spite of the lack of violence or aggression, Bonds was assaulted by police. Judge Lajoie found she was the victim of "two extremely violent knee hits in the back ... and has her hair pulled back and her face shoved forward." ... [LINK]

Note the classic "cover charge" (later tossed by the judge, by the way).

Note that the actions of these out-of-control and violent police were not unique, but are obviously  institutionalized (read that again, it's very important) None of the other officers present intervened, not one. This is self-evidently SOP (Standard Operating Procedure), and the police officers involved saw nothing wrong with their actions and/or they comfortably assumed that they can get away with it (choose your poison).

These officers may be fired or charged. But someone has to point out the obvious conclusion that this event is most likely the tip of a very large iceberg.

It is crystal clear that the police, as a community (in general), have regressed to a point of organizational immaturity such that they simply cannot be trusted.

Certainly not with tasers (instruments of torture). Might as well give toddlers a cigarette lighter. Same thing exactly.

--

This story has nothing to do with tasers.

This story has everything to do with tasers.

--

UPDATE: Actually there is a more-direct connection... See [TNT].

Monday, November 22, 2010

Trevor Grimolfson Inquiry

CBC News - Mother represents son at Taser inquiry [LINK]

Sometimes it seems like the debate has multiple battle-fronts. There will be one bunch still holding onto, or even propagating, the myth (lie) that tasers are safe; and another bunch that accept that use of tasers carries risks (including death) but they state that the police in a given incident were justified in using potentially lethal force.

The first bunch are either being deceptive, or are simply ill-informed. The fact is that use of tasers DOES carry risks, including the risk of death. One of the conclusions of the Braidwood Inquiry was that tasers can cause or contribute to death, even with healthy adults. Even Taser International has incrementally updated their legal warnings to now (1 May 2010) allow that death-by-taser is a risk with each deployment.

The second bunch are starting from a more-reasonable position, and it's worth taking their argument forward to maturity...

Given that tasers can occasionally (almost randomly) kill even healthy adults, then how much more risky are they for use on those already in a crisis? Do the police involved accept that there are risks? Or are they still in a state of denial?

I've stated my position many times before and I'll repeat it again here:

I don't care if the police are equipped with fricken flame-throwers, but when they start blaming 'Spontaneous Human Combustion' for the crispy-fried victims, then the salesmen should be arrested. 'Excited delirium' is to tasers what 'Spontaneous Human Combustion' would be to flame-throwers.

Braidwood pointed out that as an explanation for death, 'excited delirium' was "unhelpful". It's actually worse than unhelpful. One only has to examine the connections from those that make a career out of 'excited delirium', the links from them to Taser International (incompetently whitewashed through IPICD), and how Taser International has been actively promoting an essentially evidence-free conclusion to supplant death-by-taser (also essentially evidence-free). It's all way too convenient for those that might wish to conduct a deceptive marketing campaign based on false claims of safety.

--

Many of the commenters on the above CBC News website are not showing much sympathy for the family of Trevor Grimolfson. Many are quoting the "drug-fueled rage" report, and using that to justify the decision to use the potentially-lethal taser.

It has the potential to be a rational argument, but the entire law enforcement community first needs to get fully on-side with Braidwood. They all need to acknowledge that tasers are potentially lethal (with each deployment), especially with those that may already be in crisis.

It is not acceptable to first claim that "tasers are safe", and then (in cases where the subject does not survive) use the fall-back position that the death was justifiable.

It's not rational to permit the debate to be conducted on two fronts: "Tasers-R-safe, and he deserved it anyway."

Once everyone is fully on-side that tasers can occasionally (almost randomly) kill even healthy adults, and that the risks can only be higher with those in crisis, then they can tighten their Taser Use Policies.

I'd be happy if we could move the debate that far along.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Abbeville, policeman being sued over Taser

Like I was just saying...
The City of Abbeville and Abbeville Police Officer Spencer Roy are being sued by Buffus Bolden who was allegedly tasered by a police officer. [LINK]


This incident even includes the de rigueur 'cover charge'.

The gray area [LINK] is the most expensive real estate in the jurisdiction. LOL.

Tasers fall into the tricky grey area = problems

It really sometimes seems that tasers (inherently) make some police officers act stupidly. But it's not fair to simplify this observation. There's something deeper going on...

One possible explanation is that taser occupy a grey (gray) area. Tasers are colorful and look like cheaply-made toys. It's obvious that tasers can cause extreme pain, but the police are misled that a taser cannot possibly cause a death, ever. They're often called "non-lethal" (a lie). It's all a muddle and can be very confusing.

It's not even perfectly clear what is the actual purpose of a taser. If you actually think about it, the purported justifications fall like dominoes.

Operating within a grey area requires reasonably high intelligence, subtle education, well-developed ethics, and some luck. Frankly, many police do not always have all of these characteristics. Therefore it's inevitable that mistakes are made, people get tasered for no good reason. And some of them even die as a result.

It would be better all around if things were made very simple. Simple black-and-white and avoid the grey area.

Man stunned by deputies in his bedroom gets $380,000

Here's the lesson: anyone can be tasered, even you!

Skip Torrance is a commercial banker with no criminal record. He has committed no crime. He was not drunk. He's not on drugs. He left a restaurant one night, stubbed his toe, muttered a curse, and then went home to bed. Later, he is rudely awoken by Deputies Jose Pelayo and Jason Mann, who reportedly fail to properly identify themselves, at his bedside in the dark. Next thing - he's tasered. ...

Deputies arrested Torrance anyway... Orange County prosecutors later declined to criminally charge Torrance with resisting a peace officer, citing ...idiot deputies I have to deal with... insufficient evidence.

Torrance sues, and is awarded $380,000. The county of Orange paid $300,000, while the city of Laguna Beach paid $80,000.[LINK]

The sheriff's department, in a statement, said it "...has conducted an extensive review of policy, procedure and training in all areas of Sheriff's operations including Fourth Amendment search and seizure requirements and the use of the electronic control device," since the September 2008 incident. "The department has also implemented systems of review and accountability, which include the timely review of critical incidents, the identification of related issues or concerns, and the implementation of immediate corrective action where necessary."
That's their way of saying, 'sorry'.

$380,000 seems low. But on the other hand, it's enough to move into a nicer house. Or retire early. So perhaps not too bad.

--

I seriously doubt that the police would have fired their gun in these circumstances.

I also seriously doubt that the police would have beaten Mr. Torrance with a club in these circumstances.


Somehow, it's just the taser that comes with inadequate guidance relative to the abusive electro-torture and the risk of death or other risks.

Was Julian Fantino involved with illegal wiretaps???

Former shopping mall security guard, turned OPP Commish, turned Conservative Party candidate (and uncritical taser fanboy [LINK])  Julian 'Off-The-Rails' Fantino has had his name mentioned [ROLLS-EYES] in a CBC report (*) about illegal wiretaps.

CBC News: Toronto police illegally bugged ex-chair: tapes [LINK]

...Then police chief Bill McCormack and Julian Fantino - Superintendent of Detectives at the time and later police chief and OPP commissioner - have repeatedly refused to say whether they requested or were aware of the surveillance. ...The officer who made the tapes, Det. Garry Carter, claimed he was acting on orders. ...
File the following under You Couldn't Make This Sh_t Up:
Carter left the force in 1995, but later pleaded guilty to stealing $47,000 in connection with the missing money from the police investigative fund. He was sentenced in 2002 to a year of house arrest.

--

* Note to CBC: It's much more entertaining to FIRST allow Them to be elected in peace and quiet, and THEN publish all the old dirt. That way we can all enjoy hypothetical future headlines such as "Federal Justice Minister arrested".

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Australia - Spratt-gate reveals that "truth" is a function of time

What is the truth about the Kevin Spratt Affair?
Andrew O'Connor, ABC News Australia

The truth can be elusive, morphing into different forms over time. In the weeks since the Corruption and Crime Commission released the video of Aboriginal man Kevin Spratt being tasered 13 times in the Perth Watch House, we've been offered three versions of the truth. ... [LINK]
[via TNT]

A recommended read.

WA Police Union worried about something or other

Police Union questions CCC taser investigation [LINK]

The Police Union has questioned the need for a new investigation into the recent taser incident at the East Perth Watch House. Yesterday, the Corruption and Crime Commission announced it would take over the investigation into the use of tasers on Kevin Spratt, sidelining the WA police. The Commission has also told WA police to stop any active investigations of their own. Mr Spratt was tasered on five separate occasions in 2008 and at the watch house, he was tasered a total of 13 times in the one incident.

That amount of taser abuse CLEARLY meets the internationally accepted definition of 'Torture'.

...the union's Russell Armstrong says the cover-up whitewash investigation was of the highest standard. ...

Let's stop and think. What on Earth could he actually be worried about? If the previous investigations were actually done to a high standard, then the next layer of oversight will arrive at the same conclusion, and it'll be another vote of confidence in The System. They should look forward to the opportunity.

The CCC will also review the police internal investigation.

Oh, I see. Well, in that case, they're all screwed.

--

See also Australia: Corruption and Crime Commission Takes Over Spratt Probe [via TNT].

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

More on "Sleeper holds" - and parallels to the taser-safety scam

Read this:

Prosecutors aim to wrap up case in '04 jail death [LINK]

...Eighteen witnesses, including 12 employees of the sheriff's office, testified over eight days as federal prosecutors presented their case against Sheriff James Telb, Internal Affairs [OMG!] Capt. Robert McBroom, and retired employees Sgt. John Gray and Deputy Jay Schmeltz. The four are named in a 12-count indictment on criminal charges related to the 2004 death of inmate Carlton Benton and allegations of a subsequent cover-up. ...

What originally [Previous Post] caught my attention was...

...When questioning the three forensic pathologists, defense attorney Richard Walinski spoke about "excited delirium" and asked whether Mr. Benton displayed symptoms of the disorder. ...

--

Excited delirium.

The new millennium version of, "He, uh, he fell down the stairs."

"Yeah, four times!"

"Shhhhh!"

--

It's nice to see that 'Internal Affairs' has been invited to participate in the proceedings.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Australia: Taser-torture victim Kevin Spratt was 'cover charged'

It has been revealed that on the night Mr Spratt was tasered 13 times by police at the East Perth Watch House, he was also charged with obstructing officers. The police statement says Mr Spratt became violent and aggressive to police trying to restrain him, by kicking and flailing his arms. This account is contradicted by video of the incident in which Mr Spratt appears subdued before being tasered. [LINK]

A classic taser-incident "cover charge".

And notice how many police officers were involved in what can only be described as a cover-up.

Although most police officers are "good people" (etc. etc.), it seems crystal clear that rate of membership in the 'Blue Brotherhood of Silence' is approaching 100%. Incidents such as this one, and the taser-death of Robert Dziekanski, reveal the problem. This disturbing truth should be more widely acknowledged. And measures must be put in place to discourage it.

The next layer of disturbing truth is to consider that these videos must have been reviewed by another, presumably more-senior, layer of supervisors. Let that obvious fact percolate in your mind for a while.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Taser International attempts to distract the public

Taser International, manufacturer of electro-torture weapons that are far more dangerous than they falsely claim, hosts the Arizona 'Distracted Driving Youth Summit'

Good source of details regarding the taser-death of Nickolos Cyrus

Jury could decide whether police used excessive force with taser gun in man’s death

[State Bar of Wisconsin]

... At that point, Mukwonago Lieutenant Thomas Czarnecki drew and fired his taser gun, striking 29-year-old Nickolos Cyrus in the back. Cyrus fell to the ground, and was lying on his stomach. Either before or after back-up arrived, Cyrus stood up, staggered, and then fell to the ground again. More “taser stuns” were deployed. Czarnecki testified that he fired the taser gun six times, twice upon the initial encounter and four times when Cyrus was on the ground. However, the taser gun’s internal computer registered 12 trigger pulls during the relevant timeframe. When the officers finally handcuffed Cyrus, they rolled him over to find that he was not breathing. He never gained consciousness and was pronounced dead later that day. ...
...Czarnecki argued that “asking a jury to infer causation without expert testimony would be akin to proceeding under a theory of res ipsa loquitur – improper in a [section] 1983 action. …” In that case, Czarnecki argued, the Cyrus estate would be arguing that force must have been excessive because people do not ordinarily die from taser shock. ...
One wag noted that the taser is "a street-level death lottery".

Five of six people will survive a spin at Russian Roulette, but one of the six will have a bullet in their brains. So it can be claimed that "people do not ordinarily die from Russian Roulette".

Although the odds vary, the logic is identical.

Fish, barrel, bang.

--

See also previous post Federal Appeals Court says 'Not so fast there, Sunshine' [LINK]

RCMP rookie stabbed in arm, uses taser, makes arrest

Stabbed RCMP rookie still makes arrest [CBC News]
The incident began with a complaint about a suspicious vehicle. Insp. Al Ramey said "A member with six months' experience attended the scene and was confronted by a man brandishing a knife. The man attacked our police officer, cutting him severely in the forearm. Our member responded with the deployment of a conducted energy weapon [assume taser], managed to immobilize the suspect and take him into custody."
It is good to read about a story that describes an incident where it appears that a potentially-deadly weapon was used successfully and (assuming the story is accurate) without any moral/ethical downsides. As some comments on the CBC website have noted, the officer could have drawn his revolver and plugged the suspect in the chest.

That he chose to reach for his taser is a questionable decision (due to the relatively high rate of ineffective deployments). But perhaps the details not mentioned made his choice rational.

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Critically - please compare the rate that such apparent success stories appear to the rate of taser use.

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UPDATE: More details here [LINK]. Subject is 61 years old.

Speculation Alert - I wonder if the story will eventually shift so that it is revealed that the stabbing occurred because the officer was relying upon his untrustworthy taser?

Taser expert Patrick Burrell fails to tell the truth, the WHOLE truth, and nothing but the truth

I realize that the above post title is redundant. The honorific "Taser Expert" implies a certain baseline level of deception (and often deep ignorance of technical topics, for example electricity). This comes from them being too-closely associated with the fork tongued stungun salesmen.

Australia - Antonio Galeano taser death inquiry:

Police training warned of Taser dangers [LINK]

Taser expert Patrick Burrell told the inquest into the death of Antonio Galeano that... ...a 2005 bulletin issued by Taser International stated that repeated or prolonged exposure to the electrical charge generated by a Taser could impair breathing.

Did he mention anything about how Taser International later retracted that exact warning based on a made-to-order study? Their ever-changing and self-contradicting claims are clear evidence of The Great Taser Safety Scam.

He said evidence of flashes of blue light between the Taser wires and a loud clicking noise suggested the device was not able to perform a complete electrical circuit. The device was almost silent when working effectively with only a small arc of electricity visible between the metal barbs which were in contact with the subject's skin, he said. If the device was able to generate a complete circuit, only a small arc of electricity would have been visible between the two barbs which had connected with Mr Galeano's skin, he said.

Taser International claims that the taser is effective even with a TWO-INCH air gap. That's what the 50,000 volts is intended to do. This extraordinarily high voltage is intended to ionize the air gap and establish a good conductive path, through up to two inches of air. Accomplishing this technical feat is obviously going to put on quite a display.

The taser can be effective if it makes direct contact. And the taser can be effective (I'm quoting Taser International) even with an air gap of up to TWO INCHES combined gap. These two extremes will obviously result in different displays of arcing and different sounds.

But since the taser is supposed to be a constant current source, the effects on the subject should be similar over the entire range of air gap, from zero up to the maximum of approximately "two inches".

Therefore his "expert" testimony that there are only two possibilities, and that one of them can be assumed to be ineffective, is not in keeping with the information published by Taser International.

His claims are not true.

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Also, as if further proof were required, review the many videos of Taser International demonstrating the taser by firing it into a tin-foil coated target. Those demos clearly show sparks and arcs, and one can hear loud clacking sounds. And yet the darts are firmly embedded in the target's layer of tin-foil. Conductive tin-foil.

--

But his testimony is hanging those involved in the taser death out to dry. And that's a different approach than typically used in North America.

Weird...

Deja vu all over again a second time just like before

Groundhog Day
Groundhog Day

JULY 17, 2009 - $145M taser-associated lawsuit to proceed [LINK]
A federal judge has ruled [LINK] that a wrongful death lawsuit can go to trial against Frederick County and the sheriff's office in the death of 20-year-old Jarrell Gray who was ShockedWithATaserAndDied by Corporal Rudy 'Call Me Sparky' Torres [LINK] in 2007. The family is, according to some reports, seeking $145 million. [LINK]

NOVEMBER 10, 2010 - $145M suit in Maryland taser death will go to trial [via TNT]
WASHINGTON - Four years after a 20-year-old man died after being shocked twice by a Maryland sheriff's deputy's Taser, a federal appeals court has ruled the family's $145 million lawsuit can go to trial. ...

Observations:

Notice how Taser International no longer even bothers to pretend to be indignant when a headline uses the phrase "Taser Death"? After Mr. Dziekanski was killed by a taser in 2007, Taser International went ape-sh_t and sent out "over 60 Legal Demand Letters" demanding that the media retract those outrageous words. These days, not so much.

Notice how many of these taser death lawsuits or criminal cases are associated with particular police officers that lead their department in their overuse, misuse and abuse of tasers. E.g. Corporal Rudy 'Call Me Sparky' Torres [LINK]. E.g. Scott Nugent [LINK]. There are several possible explanations for this correlation, all of them ugly.

Medical emergency + police response := death

Precious time: The death of Bob Rigg [Denver Post]

...The officers pulled him from the car....handcuffed him, put him in a police car and headed for jail, suspecting that he was driving under the influence of drugs and in a trancelike state sometimes referred to as "excited delirium." -- But Bob Rigg wasn't on drugs. He was diabetic and suffering from heart disease, and he was dying. ...

Here's a death that really was caused by "excited delirium", but in way the reflects poorly on those that promote it as a handy but misleading label.

Even the mere existence of the idiot-concept led to bad assumptions, delayed the correct medical response to Mr. Rigg's diabetic state, and these appear to have contributed to his death.

As Justice Braidwood stated, 'excited delirium' is "unhelpful"... ...the understatement of the decade.

Tybee, GA to pay Clifford Grevemberg $250,000

City of Tybee, GA Mayor Jason Buelterman said that 18-year-old Clifford Grevemberg will receive $250,000 to settle the case. [LINK]

Previous posts:

MAY 24, 2010 - City of Tybee, GA rummages around desk, looking for checkbook [LINK]. Included a prediction of the eventual settlement "...well into six-figures..."; a three-pointer.

JUNE 10, 2010 - Two officers and the Police Chief 'down' in Tybee [LINK]

JUNE 29, 2010 - Autism is not a crime - please stop with the tasers already [LINK]

AUGUST 27, 2010 - Tybee Island, GA still cleaning up after taser incident [LINK]

AUGUST 30, 2010 - Being Taser-Stupid costing Tybee, Georgia a fortune [LINK]

Because this incident was so perfectly crystal clear, the repercussions are large in relative magnitude and very wide in scope and coverage. Two officers in a world of legal pain. Chief caught up in the mess. Careers ruined. A huge mess. All because the "Taser Training" is clearly defective (judging by results).

It's not really fair that such outcomes are so rare.

"Sleeper holds" - some parallels to the taser-safety scam

Coroner testifies in Telb trial [LINK]

That are some very disturbing similarities between the taser-safety scam, and what's happening in this case of death-by-'sleeper hold'.

Read the article at the above link. How long until the defense raises the possibility of "excited delirium" as a handy-dandy excuse for death? ...Paragraph 13.

Notice the bit about how an incomplete report from the police led to initial conclusions that relied upon THE LACK OF EVIDENCE to support a fantasy conclusion. Sound familiar?

You'd be forgiven for assuming that one important difference between the taser problem(s) and 'sleeper holds' is that at least there isn't a 'sleeper hold' industry with ill-qualified, ex-policeman "experts" (sic) running around claiming that 'sleeper holds' are "perfectly" safe no matter what. Unfortunately, there are such folks.

The parallels reveal the underlying pattern.

Federal Appeals Court says 'Not so fast there, Sunshine'

A federal appeals court on Wednesday ruled the parents of a man [Nickolos Cyrus, 29] who died [July 2006] after being Tasered by  police in 2006 can proceed with their lawsuit against the officers and the village and town of Mukwonago. ...officers fired a Taser at him repeatedly... The Waukesha County medical examiner later ruled that he died from cardiorespiratory failure, partly [?] as the result of the multiple electronic shocks. An inquest jury in Waukesha County concluded the officers used reasonable force. [LINK]
His family sued, claiming he had been subjected to excessive force. U.S. District Judge Rudolph T. Randa granted summary judgment to the defendants in April 2009, finding that the force used by officers was reasonable. [But] ...the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Randa and sent the case back for trial. The court ruled that key factual disputes under the Fourth Amendment -- like just how much of a danger Cyrus posed, and how many shocks were administered -- can't be resolved by summary judgment. ...


UPDATE: See this decision CYRUS v. TOWN OF MUKWONAGO [LINK].

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Repost: Instant Cure for 'Tasers-R-Safe' Brainwashing

From 26 July 2009 [LINK].

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Instant Cure for Tasers-R-Safe Brainwashing:

See the Taser's Curious Temporal Asymmetry [LINK]

[Explained yet again below with alternate wording in case it helps...]

If taser use has zero cause-and-effect relationship to the many hundreds of taser-associated deaths, then one would expect to see a constant rate of death-per-unit time by "excited delirium", or via the subject's "pre-existing medical conditions", or by whatever pathetic excuse they dream up, during the entire temporal sequence of all taser-associated death incidents.

I mean both before and after the actual taser hit. The period BEFORE the taser hit provides a built-in experimental control. And there seems to be at least as much BEFORE time as AFTER, possibly much more.

There should be many hundreds, or even thousands, of police reports where the taser was drawn from the holster (thereby triggering a written taser incident report in many jurisdictions), but the subject fell over stone cold dead in the time just BEFORE the taser was fired.

Or the police incident reports (if not 'taser-incident' reports) specifically mentioning the inexplicable sudden death ~and~ the ALMOST-fired taser.

Or the inexplicable sudden death incidents where the taser completely missed the subject, but the subject fell over dead right anyway - at that time - in spite of the taser MISS.


If you share the worldview of Taser International, then you should believe that there are vast numbers of such almost-tasered but died anyway incidents.

Where are they?


Furthermore, if you believe the worldview of Taser International, then the death rate per unit time should plunge after application of the taser. After all, it stops the 'badness' and is 'perfectly safe', thus there should be a sharp downward step-function in the death rate per unit time comparing the minutes AFTER to the minutes BEFORE the taser hits.

Do you think that is true? Show me.

By any accounting, there should be many hundreds, probably thousands with complete accounting, of such incidents where the subject died during a 'taser-drawn-from-holster' incident, but BEFORE the taser hit the subject.

I believe that this is the end of the line for Taser International's claims of zero cause and effect.

Plaintiffs' lawyers paying attention?

Hurry up. We have a company to bankrupt.



Basically Taser International is technical "correct" in their claims.

Given the inherent lack of physical evidence that could be found postmortem when dealing with a device that might be capable of triggering death via arrhythmia, then it may be impossible to use deductive reasoning to prove that any particular taser-associated death was "directly caused" by the taser.

But it ignores the larger picture. If you take a big step back, and look at the endlessly-repeated sequence of tasered-then-dead that occurs over and over and over again, then one can observe the taser's Curious Temporal Asymmetry. This observation, based just on the news reports and the lack of rebuttal from Taser International, appears to be completely inexplicable given their worldview.

But if one applies inductive reasoning, given the many hundreds of news reports of tasered-then-dead incidents, combined with the apparent lack of people falling over dead at the mere sight of a drawn taser, then the conclusion that tasers can "cause death", "even in healthy adults", and "through a variety of mechanisms" is well supported by simple inductive logic.


It'll be pretty tough to maintain that tasers-R-safe given the simple observation of the taser's Curious Temporal Asymmetry.


Braidwood, p. 322: "I am satisfied that these weapons [tasers] have the capacity to cause death to a human subject, through a variety of mechanisms."

Braidwood, p. 229: "...to cause heart arrhythmia even in healthy adults..." [Left untreated, as is often the case, arrhythmia typically leads to death.]


PS: If Taser International has a rebuttal, they have my e-mail address (right-hand column). Or they can post a comment to the blog. If their rebuttal makes sense then I'll be happy to broadcast it and I will explicitly acknowledge their point. But their rebuttal will be examined closely and if it contains logical errors, then I'll tear it to shreds publicly.

I'll take their continuing silence as a passive admission that the taser's Curious Temporal Asymmetry is a completely devastating observation.