Saturday, December 29, 2007

Quit Tasing Me, Bro!

So aparently the appropriate police responce to a call about a weapon with a vague discription of the suspect is to tase the first person they see that fits the description. It just so happens to have been this guy more than once. If I were him I would also be filing suit.

Here is the description given police; a black guy with light blue hat, black coat and light blue T-shirt on with a silver gun under his coat. Notice there is no mention that the man is acting violent or threatining or suspicious in any way. He has just been "seen" exercising his constitutional right to bear arms.

Here is a list of reasonable questions to ask before resorting to violence:
1. Is this tip legitimate?
The vague nature of the call should suggest that the call might be a hoax or prank or a spitefull attempt to provoke harassment of this man by the police. Further probing of the caller may have revealed any of the above.
2. How old is the suspect?
3. What does his hair look like?
4. Does he have any facial hair?
5. Does he have any piercings or tatoos?
6. What does the coat look like? Is it puffy? Does it have any writing on it?
7. Is his hat a ball cap or a knit cap? Does it have any writhing on it?
8. What do you mean by "light blue"? Is he wearing North Carolina gear?
9. Describe the gun. Was it entirely "silver"? Is it automatic, or a revolver?
10. How do you know the "silver" object you saw was, in fact, a gun?

All of these questions inhabit the grey area between doing nothing and jumping and then tasering an innocent man in the mall who was just waiting to get his McFucking sandwich. But unfortunately the police chief of Madison Wisconsin cannot see this grey area and it can be inferred from his comments that the officers training reflects that ignorance.

Allow me to expand on a point I made in an earlier post. The police have to deal with the worst element of society all day and are compensated precious little for putting themselves in harms way. (thats really two points but I will expand on the first one) However, the police frequently display an inability to tell the difference between the people they deal with that present a clear and imminent threat, and those persons who are not dangerous.
For example, my brother-in-law once witnessed two police officers approching an 80 year old woman with a walker, with their guns drawn. If that kind of behavior can be considered appropriate by police standards, it is time to rethink the standards of behavior we allow the police to set for themselves.

No comments: