Monday, December 22, 2008

Another California Man Dead After Police Use Taser

Maybe California officers need additional training in Taser use? This "combative" 39-year old with a criminal record and a history of mental problems was "hit" three times by a Taser. From the San Jose Mercury News:
When deputies arrived, they were confronted by a combative, 39-year-old Nathan Vaughn. A deputy fired a Taser gun once at Vaughn, who they say continued to resist. The sheriff's department says the deputy fired the stun gun twice more at Vaughn.

Authorities say after Vaughn was subdued, he showed signs of medical distress after being put in handcuffs. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
Ok, I've held off stating the obvious. Tasers use Electro-Muscular Disruption technology that is designed to incapacitate neuromuscular function by delivering an electrical shock. Here's the obvious part: The heart is a muscle that operates on electrical impulse. Doesn't ANYONE see the obvious? It isn't a good idea to deliver clusters of Taser hits that disrupt the heart's natural operation; and it is even a worse idea to deliver Taser hits to persons on meds or that have other medical conditions.

If the subject does not go down after one Taser hit, or at the most two, then perhaps it is time for the officers involved to apply elbow grease to the situation and not risk stopping the subject's cardio system.

The question that the officer must ask is: When does the Taser progress from a non-lethal device into a lethal weapon?

The Taser is a tool that deserves a place in the peace officer's arsenal. However, there are limits to this tool's use as with every other tool. If officers can't or won't recognize the tool's limits they should not have them.

Please don't accuse me of being anti-police. I did my time as a peace officer (Mobile, Alabama Constable 2001-2005).

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