Monday, March 24, 2008

17-Year-Old Killed by Taser Over Shoplifted Hot Pockets

17-Year-Old Killed by Taser Over Shoplifted Hot Pockets

By Pam Spaulding, Pandagon

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More Taser insanity. The mounting incidents of violence being perpetrated by the inappropriate use of Tasers is unnerving. The stories from readers keep flooding into my inbox.

Here’s one from my state that will turn your stomach (h/t n8nyc and Virginia F.). Darryl Wayne Turner was a cashier and bagged groceries at a local Food Lion. He lifted a couple of Hot Pocket lunches and his mother told him to do the right thing — go back to the store and fess up. Then something went horribly wrong.

A 17-year-old died at Carolinas Medical Center Thursday after a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer shocked him with a Taser during a confrontation at a grocery store in northeast Charlotte.

…Around lunchtime, Turner had come home to eat and told his mom that he had stolen a couple of Hot Pockets from the store. A supervisor planned to get a district manager involved and he feared disciplinary action, she said.
She said she told him to go back to the store and face up to what happened.
It wasn’t long after lunch she got a call from one of her son’s co-workers, who told her about the incident, she said.
After Turner was hit, police called the Charlotte Fire Department and paramedics, department policy anytime an officer uses a Taser gun, the release said.
Homicide detectives are investigating Turner’s death and will present their findings to the district attorney, the news release said.

Turner had no criminal record and no health problems.

Not to be topped, read what happened in the case of a Matteson, IL man, who was on the wrong end of a Taser — he has been acquitted of assaulting an officer.

Read that, and see a video about the use of Tasers in Eugene, Oregon, after the jump.

(Southtown Star):

A Matteson man cleared by a jury Wednesday of assaulting a police officer plans to sue Posen police for what he alleges was a case of racially-motivated police brutality, his attorney said.

Julius Little, 44, was pepper-sprayed, bitten repeatedly by a police dog and shot with a Taser by police outside his mother’s home near the intersection of 145th Street and Richmond Ave. on June 22, 2006.
A Markham courthouse jury took little more than an hour to clear him of aggressively approaching Cpl. Bill Alexander, clenching his fists and threatening to punch him.
“The police were just trying to cover up for what they did to him,” juror Maud Powell told the SouthtownStar after the verdict was announced, “It was obvious from what the officers said in court that they were lying.”

During the two-day trial, Little testified that he was taking out the trash at his mother’s home when he saw police questioning his son.
When he asked the officers what was going on, he was told, “get your black ass out of here,” and then attacked by three white cops and a K-9 officer, he alleged.
…Several eyewitnesses corroborated Little’s account, contradicting the officers’ claims that Little was the aggressor, and the officers’ claims not to have used racially-charged language.

Take a look at this short doc, Tazing Eugene, about the adoption of Tasers by police officers in Eugene, Oregon. Nezua of The Unapologetic Mexican has the reaction on the street.

***

As I was writing this, n8nyc sent over another item about a fatality, this time in the Sunshine State:

A Deerfield Beach man, whom Broward sheriff’s deputies said was naked and belligerent, was Tasered when he resisted arrest, and died in BSO custody early Friday. When they arrived, they found Garland strolling naked past the Ocean Boulevard Condominium at 191 SE 20 Ave.
…Deputies tried to detain him, but he became angry, and refused to comply. Deputies hit him with a stun gun, and were able to take Garland, who became violent, into custody.

Now perhaps there may have been a good reason to tase this man, if he was that out of control (and given paramedics confirmed Garland’s behavior). With some of the prior incidents, witnesses have come forward and contradicted police reports about the violent behavior of the individual.

The problem is that the Taser when employed is effective in subduing people, but the number of incidents where 1) the situation isn’t violent, the person has no weapon, and tasing is used as the measure of first resort; and 2) someone dies are mounting in published reports from around the globe, and there are no mandatory training standards in place in response to the disturbing incidents.

The Blend Taser files.

Pam Spaulding blogs at Pam's House Blend.

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