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by Peter Moskos

September 25, 2008

More on the Tase

The Times says the LT who ordered the Tas is getting in trouble.

Supposedly the Post has a video. I wonder if it will change my mind. Here's the link.

Hmmmm.... Unfortunately the video doesn't clear much up. It doesn't show the interaction between the light bulb and cop on the fire escape. That's what I want to see. Was the officer being attached and could the officer not get away?

At the moment of Tas, there was certainly not justification for lethal force. And maybe time for a tactical retreat from the fire escape. But if a person attacks an officer who can't get away, I got no problem with shooting him one way or the other.


MJO said...

The two questions I have are:

Was the officer already tied to the fire escape and thus could not retreat? If the answer is yes, why did the operation begin before the airbag had arrived to the scene?

PCM said...

Those are very good questions. I think it's safe to now say: "mistakes were made."

Anonymous said...


Big fan of your blog and your book is on the to do list.

I can't understand how policeman can be "attacked" with an 8 ft flourescent light bulb. Someone armed with a baton can quickly shield their eyes and shatter the bulb rendering it harmless. I can't see how the police did anything other than escalate the situation and then cause an unfortunate death.

PCM said...

You can attack anybody with anything. No weapon is harmless. And how can you shield your eyes and then strike? (Though in this case I think the officer had a helmet with a visor/mask.)

In an ideal world, you can do what you say. In the real world, The bulb breaks and stabs the officer. Either going right through his eye or hitting an artery.

I think the only real fault is in what mjo pointed out. Why did the operation begin before the airbag arrived.

And because of this mistake, the guy died and the L.T., I just heard on the radio, killed himself. That's a real shame.

And though I concede my first reaction in total defense of the polices officer was a little short sighted, I'll still defend my first reaction: Officers do not get paid to be attacked. (And certainly not when you're standing on a fire escape.)