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by Peter Moskos

December 17, 2009

Handcuffed man gets tased, dies

Despite my strong opposition to the taser as a compliance tool (I much prefer old-fashioned force), this is a tricky case because the guy was handcuffed. He got squirrelly and started fighting.

[Hey, once I was rolling on the ground with a handcuffed man. What could I do? He already had his hands tied behind his back and I still couldn't get him back under control.]

If you strike a handcuffed man, you're begging for a lawsuit and assumptions of police brutality. That's why departments love tasers. It makes it seem more legit. But if they just hit the guy, he's still be alive. Damned if you do. Damned if you don't.

1 comment:

Marc said...

Maybe a greater emphasis on control and restraint techniques, pain compliance, fighting that doesn't look like fighting (open hand blows), etc would be beneficial. A little training goes a long way. I've personally been able to control guys that were giving the police some trouble and I've seen and heard of more than a few incidents in the ER where the cops were lucky that some of our medics train in martial arts and aren't afraid to go hands on. Of course, the police academy in the county trains against full resisting opponents exactly zero times, so unless the individual officers take it upon themselves, they're stuck with an incomplete toolbox.

When "excessive force" is frequently judged subjectively instead of objectively, it pays to be able to use techniques effectively with minimal repetition.

Then again, I recently caught that crappy new Steven Seagal show on A&E and for being the Grand Fucking Aikido Master he sure uses the Taser a bunch...Just another cop show glorifying all the wrong aspects.