Death by “non-lethal” weapon… again…

I’ve written about lethal “non-lethal weapons” here before, written about it in previous blogs, and I’ve simply fumed silently on several more occasions, but here is yet another case where perpetuating the idea that tasers are “non-lethal” weapons has caused yet another death. Granted, the victim had to be tasered an unusual number of times (9) in a short span for it to be lethal in this case, but if the officer in question had not had a taser, the victim would most likely still be alive.

Hopped up on cocaine, the victim was hard to stop. I can understand that. I can sympathise with the officer to an extent. There are two things that make me very upset about this, though.

  1. The coroner’s report that the man was likely dead after the 7th shock, and was shocked twice more after death.
  2. The following quote from the cop’s lawyer:

“The only thing he could have done other than to say, ‘OK, we’re going to let you go’ is to beat him or Tase him.”

I submit that a billy club to the knee is safer and more humane.

One parting shot:

In the year since Winnfield police received Tasers, officers have used
them 14 times, according to police records — with 12 of the instances
involving black suspects. Ten of the 14 incidents involved Nugent

So clearly we have here a police officer who thinks, “I’ve got a great non-lethal tool here. I should use it.” Which would be OK if tasers were actually non-lethal….

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  • CraigM  On July 23, 2008 at 9:55 am

    Like a pistol, billy club, and handcuffs, a tazer is a tool. Overuse of any of these items can lead to problems. This officer clearly overused tazers, probably because he was either afraid of those whom he was charged with arresting, or because he is a habitual bully with too much authority. Either way, he should have been pulled back to desk work, or been relieved of his tazer.

  • Barbara B.  On July 23, 2008 at 10:59 am

    “Hopped up on cocaine, the victim was hard to stop. I can understand that. I can sympathise with the officer to an extent. There are two things that make me very upset about this, though.”

    According to the article Pikes wasn’t “hopped up on cocaine”. I think you must have missed this part:

    “Curry said Pikes told officers he suffered from asthma and had been using PCP and crack cocaine. But Williams said he found no sign of drug use in the autopsy, and no record of asthma in Pikes’ medical history.”

  • America's Stepson  On July 23, 2008 at 11:03 am

    Don’t forget the coroner didn’t find any traces of cocaine or pcp, nor was Pike suffering from Asthma. So if the officer lied about that, it’s conceivable that he might have lied about Pike resisting arrest. Just from the brief history provided in the article, corruption seems to run rampant in that town. And, when you have 12 out of 14 taser incidents involving Black suspects, this is just your good ol’ fashion southern racism at it’s finest.

  • wolfger  On July 23, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Yes, thank you both for correcting me. I actually started to post before I finished reading the article. I came across that statement from the pathologist before I finished the post, but didn’t go back and fix myself.


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