Tasers aren’t fun

Adam Doster

News from up north that the four Mounties involved in the Taser death of a Polish immigrant at a Vancouver airport broke numerous rules of how the weapon should be used, as laid out in a 2005 report by the British Columbia police complaint commissioner.Let's review."Tasers should be used only against a subject who is actively resisting arrest or posing a risk to others, not someone who is "passively resisting." In this case, Dziekanski, who did not speak English, appeared not to be resisting and there were no other people in the area who could be hurt by his actions."Officers should avoid shocking a subject multiple times." Dziekanski was shocked twice within a matter of seconds."Following a Taser shock, a subject should be restrained in a way that allows him to breathe easily." At one point four officers were on top of Dziekanski. Two officers knelt with their full weight on his neck and back.This news comes on the heels of a story from Chicago, where an 82-year old, mentally ill, GRANDMA was tasered without provocation. If you'd like to get more riled up about unnecessary police brutality, check out ITT Senior Editor Silja Talvi's November 2006 cover story on taser-related deaths and a short essay about tasers and guns in Colorlines' excellent new package on police killings, published, eerily enough, the same day an 18-year old Brooklyn resident was shot to death for holding a comb.

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Adam Doster, a contributing editor at In These Times, is a Chicago-based freelance writer and former reporter-blogger for Progress Illinois.
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