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Editorial: Police too quick to use Tasers

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While we have supported the concept of electronic stun guns — Tasers — being used by police as an alternative to deadly force, we’ve expressed concern that the devices might be pressed into service too frequently as a way of expeditiously restraining unruly but not particularly dangerous people. Based on some recent anecdotal evidence at the Schenectady Police Department, as well as a new report by the New York Civil Liberties Union, those fears were ...


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comments

wmarincic
October 23, 2011
5:45 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

The Police used a Taser in the 1st case because they did not know who they had running, he could have been one of the many murder susppects they are looking for. They did hava a choice with the 2nd case with the woman biting the Police officer, they could have used their clubs to beat her off.

You say they should use a better way of restraining a suspect? They did that on Union Street and three Cops lost their job because a accused rapist said they used too much force and our know nothing chief jumped on the bandwagon. Whenever the police are in a physical confrontation they are at risk of being hurt or even having their gun taken. If somebody flees an automobile he is guilty of something and you can't just let him flee. These tasers ALL have cameras on them so that the use of them and the arrest can be reviewed.

It is no surpprise to me that you people at the Gazette would listen to ANY repport from the NYCLU. They are anti police communists. They were threatening to sue Schenectady County a few years ago for the rights of pedophiles just released from prison to live near schools. Just Google my name and you can read the story. But hey, you are the Gazette, why check for facts and common sense.

dandarling32103
October 24, 2011
1:35 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

I agree. I would like to add some things. I responded in a letter to the editor which will apparently be published.

I love how they use the phrase "uncooperative customer" to indicate someone who has done something or was suspected of doing something and then resists arrest or physically interferes with the police. Great way to skew the lens here. I also love how they only use two incidents as examples, both of which were fully justified in using the taser. I will reserve my issues with the NYCLU.

Fleeing suspects especially ones that are reportedly dangerous are absolutely able to be tasered justifiably. Two reasons here. The first is that they are fleeing arrest. It's called DeBour levels and there are four of them. When someone suspected of a crime flees, it is an automatic pursue and arrest situation. This is something that the supreme court decided on. So someone suspected of anything criminal who is fleeing is essentially evading an arrest. Additionally, officers are most often injured and on disability for periods of time due to injuries sustained while in pursuit of a suspect. It's officer safety to tase a suspect who is evading arrest. The asp won't work, the spray won't work, the gun will work but most often it's not justifiable. Tasers are excellent tools in keeping our police safe.

Regarding the 13 year old in Rotterdam, it was a large fight and he was in it and he was sizeable. We've all seen teenagers who look a lot older than they are simply because of their mere size. Officer safety.

dandarling32103
October 24, 2011
1:37 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

My last issue with this is the "less nasty measures like pepper spray or a night stick". I mean, come on! Less nasty than a blunt force object which can injure, maim, and kill much faster and more efficiently than a spray and a taser. Tasers are Faaaaar more safer to use than a baton, both for the officer AND for the suspect. Tasers are painful, no doubt. But when it's done, it's done. Let's now look at pepper spray. Oleoresin Capsicum is the name of the inflammatory agent in most peppers. OC Spray. It is extremely painful. Check your average hot sauce. It's probably a few thousand to maybe a hundred thousand scoville heating units, the basic unit to measure the "hotness". The ghost chili pepper discovered in India, the hottest pepper in the world, is around 1-1.5 million scoville heating units. Pepper spray is typically 2 million scoville heating units. It is extremely painful. You can't see. You can't even force your eyes open. You can't breathe. You can't function because of the pain. Water doesn't help as much as one might think. It sucks. And it lasts for much longer than the regular 5 seconds that someone gets tased. When the electricity stops, the pain stops. The pepper spray is the pain that keeps on hurting. Hours it takes... Hours. And when you think you've got it off, the first time you shower it happens all over again with the residual spray on your hair. Pepper spray is really nasty stuff. I would say that it is also "torture-like".

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