Thursday, April 23, 2009
The NAACP is investigating Excessive use of tasers by police
According to Electronic Village:
"The NAACP Frederick County Branch is seeking information and testimony from people about alleged excessive use of Tasers by police. NAACP has been looking into the use of tasers after the death of Jarrel Gray in November 2007 by Frederick County Sheriff’s Office deputy Corp. Rudy Torres."
Thought to be involved in an altercation that included at least 4 or 5 people, in a parking lot in the Gresham Court East housing complex on November 18, 2007, Jarrel Gray, a hearing impaired man was shocked twice by taser and killed.
The supposed justification for this is connected to Officer Rudy Torres' order to four people to show their hands. When Jarrel Gray did not respond by showing his hands he was tasered.
Jarrel was intoxicated, a fact backed up by witness testimonies, but this does not negate the fact that the officers were warned that Jarrel was far too incapacitated to do well with direction. After the first taser shock, there was no sign of movement from Gray, but he was tasered again for no apparent reason 23 seconds later. Gray's hands were beneath him during this time. Officers claimed they thought Gray had 'passed out', but officers didn't check his pulse after attacking him with the taser. His pulse was only checked when emergency personnel arrived on the scene and discovered Gray had gone into cardiac arrest. They proceeded to do CPR on him to no avail, as he died 3 hours later. The cause of death was determined to be a combination of the method of restraint chosen by police on the scene, alchohol intoxication, and Gray's anatomical makeup.
Officer Torres was somehow cleared of wrongdoing, but it won't stand. An innocent life has again been taken by an officer who took an oath to protect and serve. That cannot be discounted. An oath and duty of that magnitude are not made of hollow words. They have to mean something. Gray's family filed a $145 million federal lawsuit against Frederick County, and rightly so.
Is it necessary to taser someone who isn't posing a threat? No. It isn't. Why wasn't Mr. Gray simply handcuffed and brought to the station? Why was electrocution necessary in this situation. I truly do not see a cause for the taser to have been pulled out at all, in this instance.
What of the rules associated with Force continuum?
Officers that act as renegades and do not follow the rules create a major problem in society, to put it mildly. I'm relieved the NAACP is finally taking action. Many, many innocent lives have been taken by renegade officers. It's long been time to find a solution to this dilemma, as it absolutely cannot go on. It is a problem that has plagued the United States and countries abroad.