Police Caught Tasing Teen Without Warning

from the is-that-really-the-best-use? dept

quack points us to a story in which police in London Ontario came to break up a fight among some teens. Rather than say anything, asking the participants to stop, or even holding any of the participants, a cameraphone video from someone across the street shows the cop just walk into the area and immediately shoot his taser into one kid’s face.

A report on the incident has the police saying that the officer acted appropriately. The mother of the kid who was tased argues otherwise. She says her son was the victim, was attacked by two other boys and was trying to defend himself when he got tased. Furthermore, the taser got stuck in his face and had to be removed by medical professionals.

Of course, if the whole thing weren’t on videotape, most people would probably have taken the police officers’ word on the story. But the video shows that he made no other effort to stop the fight, when it seems clear that he easily could have used less dangerous methods. Hell, by the time he gets to the area and shoots the kid with the taser, the two boys have already separated. He easily could have stopped the fight by stepping into the space between the two of them.

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Comments on “Police Caught Tasing Teen Without Warning”

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241 Comments
Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

If it is true that he did not announce himself as police and tried nothing other then shooting the first person in his cross hairs, then it’s excessive use of force. He did not determine that the use of the device was necessary, thus it’s irreverent if it was truly necessary or not.

All the cop had to do was yell (loudly and forcefully as they are trained) “NYPD, (or whatever department he was from) break it up”. If he did that, this would not even be a question. Ether the kids would stop fighting, or he would be justified stepping it up (yes, even the taser).

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

And you might be astonished to hear that a thorough public inquiry concluded that they were not in fact justified in using the tazer, and that they later deliberately misrepresented the facts about the incident to investigators. The report called their conduct “shameful”. The Centre for Public Complaints also called the tazer use “premature and inappropriate”, and said the officers’ stories were “not deemed credible”

Bengie says:

Re: Re:

“Single cop, working alone, facing a street brawl…. I think he did exactly the right thing. He ended the situation directly.”

By attacking the victim?..according to the mother anyway.

So, all I have to do is “pretend” to want to start a fight with someone, and a police officer will taze them? Wow, now I can NEVER get in trouble while still getting what I want.

Insider says:

Re: Re:

“Single Cop”…
Should’ve called for backup if he can uphold the law in a constitutional manner.
“working alone”,
See above

“facing a street brawl”.
Well… he wasn’t facing anything. He chose to intervene, even though he wasn’t prepared to handle it properly and his actions resulted in us questioning the integrity of the police.

PUBLIC OFFICIALS ARE HELD TO HIGHER STANDARDS THAN PRIVATE CITIZENS. Period. Don’t like it? Get a different job.

Daddy Warbucks says:

Re: Kids

What if these KIDS were joking around?
What if these KIDS were provoking this type of response?
What if these KIDS were acting in a stupid KID movie?

Assessing the situation so no one gets hurt is the Police’s First Priority.
You don?t know what was going on and neither did that office.

I’ve seen story after story of Police perpetrating violence on others without being provoked in the name of “Controlling” the situation.

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

If I get into a fist fight in the street where I have the chance to walk away or get shot in the head without warning, I’m sure I’ll think twice.

The kid was shot in the head with a Tazer and reports say he was the victim of the brawl. Do you understand that? There was no warning, no order to stop. The cop just pulled the weapon and fired without appraising the situation or delivering a warning. Had he shouted “Police! Break it up!” they would have stopped. They have a responsibility for the safety of the public to use the least amount of force necessary to diffuse the situation. This cop did not and put innocent people at risk needlessly. He should be fired.

John Doe says:

I couldn’t tell for sure from the video who was the aggressor. Maybe the cop thought he knew. Either way, a verbal warning should have been issued before going right to the taser.

That being said, I wouldn’t want to be in the cops shoes. A local cop followed a robbery suspect and was attacked by the suspect and is now a paraplegic. A fight may seem childish at times, but it can carry serious consequences.

crade (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Maybe pouring over the video afterward in complete safety you can see that a tazer wasn’t neccesary but thats a far cry from blindly tazing someone. For all we know the last time this cop arrested this guy for fighting he tried to stab him with a knife. Just because we have no context doesn’t mean the cop doesn’t.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“For all we know the last time this cop arrested this guy for fighting he tried to stab him with a knife. Just because we have no context doesn’t mean the cop doesn’t.”

Doesn’t mean the actions weren’t over the top and not procedure. In fact, that may mean that the cop is physiologically not capable of doing his job. If he gets traumatized by one event and then cannot properly do his duty in others…

crade (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

huh? being traumatized has nothing to do with it. If he has history with this guy and knows he is dangerous, it’s just common sense to take him down quickly before he has the change to hurt someone. Thats what I’d do anyway πŸ™‚

As far as police procedure goes, I understand that after an incident in 2010 tazers are restricted to times when the person is trying to hurt someone or the officer has reason to believe the person will try to harm someone. The procedures may not be perfect yet, but I don’t think he was breaking procedure.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Just shows the cop lacked the kind of “presence of authority” that used to be burned into the profession.

I remember a teacher at my school breaking up a fight like this by just shouting at the boys to stop – he then commented that the deputy head would not have needed to raise his voice – and the headmaster would only have had to look – whilst a ypoung teacher would have had to go and get between the qrring parties physically. Oddly enough the young teacher was the only one who could have stopped the fight physically – the others were relying on psychology. Seems to me that being routinely armed (even with a tazer) makes police too lazy to learn how to do things properly.

Spaceboy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The Internet is full of stories where bad things happen to good people. In your example the cop was being a cop. Being a cop means you take on a certain amount of risk.

The cop in the above video didn’t even announce his presence or give a warning. He tased a guy in the face. Again without warning. He had no way of knowing what was happening and his life wasn’t in immediate danger, nor were the lives of the other people.

He walked up to the guy, he didn’t run. There was no sense of urgency in his actions.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

That is his job it comes with the territory, if he can’t work under those conditions he shouldn’t be a cop on the streets.

Is like being a lifeguard and being afraid of water.

Also I’m fully aware that cops are only called when things get ugly and so they have a distorted view of people they start thinking that everyone is a criminal and start acting like everyone is a criminal and there is no psychological test to see those burned up cops.

It may explain but it doesn’t justify what the guy did there, even though I believe the aggressor was the kid tased.

Nate (profile) says:

semantics are everything

I have an alternative view on this situation:

The kid wasn’t tased; he was _shot_ with a Taser.

A Taser is shaped like a gun, is used as an alternative to a gun, and can kill someone if misused. The operative word here should be shot, not tased. It might seem like a small thing but the word shot has a much worse mental image than the word tased. One feels violent and the other does not.

Needless to say, I think the office misused the Taser when he shot the kid.

Stuff like this will continue to occur so long as a Taser is not viewed with the same seriousness as other weapons such as guns.

Spaceboy (profile) says:

Re: semantics are everything

Interesting. When I was just out of High School in 1986 or so my friends and I were in to paintball. We would shoot each other in our neighborhood. We never shot at anyone else or cars, just us. No one paid us any mind and we didn’t bother anyone else.

Today paintball guns are considered firearms.

There is a massive marketing and legal effort behind the Taser brand to make sure the public does not associate it with lethal force. This is part of the reason that they people are ‘tased’ and not ‘shot with a taser’.

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2008/05/02/20080502taser0503.html

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: semantics are everything

“What is not popular is the discharge of paintball guns in public, as opposed to in an authorized recreational establishment.

http://www.generalcode.com/samples/04Spr_1.html

What does this look like to you? Another governmental attempt to limit competition (must one pay to attend these authorized recreational establishments?). Of course it’s done in the name of safety (and I do think there is some truth to that).

and they call this free market capitalism.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: semantics are everything

“The kid wasn’t tased; he was _shot_ with a Taser.”

I disagree.

A taser is very different from a gun that fires bullets.

The Inuit have a hundred words for snow, because the difference matters to them. We should probably have a few different words for police weapons, since the difference also matters a great deal.

People, like you, have an agenda when they try to change language to be less specific. You do so because your agenda is served by a conflagration of two different things. But specific language is far more useful, and more descriptive of truth and reality. By using “tased” there is no confusion about which weapon the cop ABused.

Let people argue about whether tasers are lethal or not. Let them argue about whether that was too much force or not. But don’t try to change the terminology to make it sound worse.

I’ve seem a similar effort to expand the definition of “rape” to include things like molestation or groping. While I sympathize with the intent of the people using the word incorrectly, I do not agree with making language less specific, and less useful to suit any political agenda.

Ron Rezendes (profile) says:

Re: Re: semantics are everything

“Let people argue about whether tasers are lethal or not.”

There is no argument there – people have died after being SHOT with a taser. The corpses are all the proof you need.

As for the semantics – your twist is somewhat misleading as well. Yes, a gun shoots bullets. A taser shoots electrodes, there is still a projectile. The bullet comes to a rest and there is no more interaction from the projectile discharged. The electrode can be activated as often as desired after impact for as long as desired, until the power supply is drained. You may want to reconsider your argument.

Certainly a gun is more deadly than a taser on a shot to shot basis. No argument there.

HothMonster says:

Re: Re: Re: semantics are everything

i think his point is you dont say “shot with a gun” you just say shot and the with a gun is implied. If I got shot with something other than a gun I would specify, “I got shot with a paintball”. If I got shot with bullets I would just say, “I’ve been Shot!!!”

I think tazed, incorporates the shooting aspect because as you said a tazer is a projectile. However there are non-projectile versions as well.

I agree that saying tazed is much more trivial than the actual action. But i agree with derrick that watering down the language isnt our best option. Rather people should be made more aware of the dangers of tazers and that they are not truly non-lethal.

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 semantics are everything

Or if you had a needle you might say, “I got a shot.”

Or walk into a bar and say, “Gimme a shot!”

Yes, a shot implies a gun.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/shoot

I’m thinking the kid was shot just as much as if it had been a slingshot. Or would the kid have been “slung” in that case? What about a bow? Do we say someone is arrowed?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: semantics are everything

There is no such word as tased. When people say tased it’s a nice way of saying shot with a taser. Like using the word googled, means I used google to look something up.

A taser is a electroshock weapon, that’s something that seems to be overlooked or forgotten about these days. They are a weapon, possibly lethal and should be viewed that way until there is conclusive evidence either way.

If they’re so harmless why can’t the public have easy and legal access to them?

Spaceboy (profile) says:

Re: Re: semantics are everything

“Let people argue about whether tasers are lethal or not. Let them argue about whether that was too much force or not. But don’t try to change the terminology to make it sound worse.”

I couldn’t agree with you more, except Taser International is doing just that by suing people that associate Taser with anyones death. Saying someone was shot with a Taser is correct. Just like you would say shot with a crossbow, stungun, paintball or nerf gun.

crade (profile) says:

I certainly agree that we should be allowed to video the police, but I don’t agree with jumping on every out of context grainy video. Corruption, actual malice are things to watch for. This is (read: could very well be) just a cop not knowing how dangerous a violent situation is until afterword when you can sit in safety and pour over a video.

” if the whole thing weren’t on videotape, most people would probably have taken the police officers’ word on the story”
What is the officers word on the story? Where is the part where he is lying about what happened?

Also, of course the mother says he’s the victim and it was all the other kid’s fault. It’s always the other kid’s fault.

The nice thing is that we have this video as evidence, which should help in any lawsuit or trial but that doesn’t mean it tells the full story. I believe procedures around tazer use are under scrutiny recently in Canada as well, so videos such as these might help with that as well.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

This is an officer who quite calmly walked into a fight, stepped between the two fighting, and shot the smaller person in the face with a tazer. Defend it any way you like, the cop was at fault. There is audio. Maybe you should watch it, again, and listen for the cop identifying himself as he approached? And why did he not tell the other person to stay where he was? Instead, the other boy picks up his backpack and makes ready to leave.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

From what I saw in the video, the smaller one as you called was the one dishing out all the pain on the other two, he also was the one who started jumping up and down on a defensive position signalling he probably was in fight mode and not flight, the other 2 boys were more calm.

So lets take this for what it is, failure to fallow proper procedure, he failed to make itself known, to identify itself as authority and to issue any commands before aggressive action was taken on an unnamed violent kid, which by his size could not have taken down the officer and didn’t pose much of a threat to the officer either.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re:

believe procedures around tazer use are under scrutiny recently in Canada as well

Yes they are, after the RCMP used them to murder* a Polish immigrant for the crime of being confused and irritable in an airport.

(*I do not use this word lightly or flippantly. After the initial incident, I was completely ready to accept it as a tragic mistake – if only the officers had admitted that from the start. A simple “we made a grievous error while doing a difficult job” acknowledgment would have made for a whole different story – but instead they chose to attempt a coverup with deliberately misrepresented facts. It shows they knew that what they did was wrong AND that they were not guilt-free enough to admit a mistake. Thus, I call it murder.)

PrometheeFeu (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“This is (read: could very well be) just a cop not knowing how dangerous a violent situation is until afterword when you can sit in safety and pour over a video.”

Are you arguing the proper response when ignorant of the specifics is to resort to violence? If this cop can’t deal with the stress of being in a dangerous situation, maybe he should do something else. But under no circumstances is it acceptable for a cop to use anything but the most minimal amount of force necessary.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re:

” I believe procedures around tazer use are under scrutiny recently in Canada as well, so videos such as these might help with that as well.”

If I recall correctly, the US had 350+ wrongful deaths occur because of tasers last year.

These are people such as Kelly Thomas

Audrecas Davis

Lareko Williams

They also are used as pain compliance, even causing death as evidenced in the article for one Michael Evans. The point I am making is that tasers are a dangerous responsibility. I wouldn’t want officers to be equipped with this ability to harm people, immobilize and bully them simply because they have a badge. I would not want a police force who looks to resolve problems with aggressive behavior first without trying to figure out what is going on in the situation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The kid should be extreme grateful that, even after repeated illegal acts, fighting in the street, and causing a public nuisance that all he got was a tasing.

Cause and effect here – don’t fight, no requirement for police to use non-lethal force to break it up.

I wish people would take responsibility for their own actions and understand why they are where they are. The entire situation is avoidable, and it doesn’t start with the cop (but he certainly ends it).

They yutz with the camera yelling “you shot him you shot him” over and over again isn’t helping out much, is he?

Dave (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Moral of your story: Don’t get jumped by two guys, and if you do, make sure you are obviously losing when the cops get there.

I wish people would take responsibility for their own actions and understand why they are where they are. The entire situation is avoidable, and it doesn’t start with the cop (but he certainly ends it).

I wish cops would take resposiblity for their actions and understand that their authority comes with a higher level of scrutiny. At least it should. The taser was avoidable, and shouldn’t be the first thing the cop tries.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

No requirement for police to use non-lethal force to break up a fight between teenagers? Seriously?

You might want to take a gander at the Criminal Code of Canada before you open your mouth. Specifically section 26:

Every one who is authorized by law to use force is criminally responsible for any excess thereof according to the nature and quality of the act that constitutes the excess. [R.S., c.C-34, s.26.]

S (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“repeated illegal acts” — so I assume you’re volunteering to be shot when you get one parking ticket too many?

“public nuisance” & “fighting in the street” — so now if someone attacks you, or you annoy your neighbours, you’re requesting that someone shoot you with a lethal projectile weapon?

Let’s make this clear, in case you are incapable of comprehending this on your own: guns don’t ALWAYS kill their targets, but they’re “lethal weapons”; knives don’t ALWAYS kill their targets, but they’re “lethal weapons”; unless you want to start calling the local mugger’s 9mm a “non lethal weapon”, then a taser is a lethal weapon too.

WarOtter (profile) says:

This may be the wrong crowd to mention it...

… but people need to realize that the risk of injury is much greater when physical restraint and force is used. I know pepper spray and taser might seem to be more dangerous, but the risk of lasting injury is MUCH lower(if I remember the statistics about 60% lower) than if the police have to wrestle someone to the ground.

I’m not commenting on the usage here, and policies should be in place for their usage. I’m just saying that before you go condemning their usage overall, please know that the alternative will mean more injuries and unnecessary deaths than they ever cause. (side note: I have been both tased and pepper sprayed. Yes it sucks when it happens, but then you man up and grow a pair)

Jay (profile) says:

Re: This may be the wrong crowd to mention it...

Actually, you are commenting on the usage. You’re saying the risk of lasting injury is much lower, which flies in the face of the fact that this particular individual was tased in the face. If it had been 2 cm lower, the teen may have been grievously injured.

Then to say that people should “man up and grow a pair” when few see a need for it to be used here?

WarOtter (profile) says:

Re: Re: This may be the wrong crowd to mention it...

No I’m not commenting on the particular usage in this case. Yes shooting someone in the face with the taser present new risks, and that should be addressed in this case. But overall usage of taser and pepper spray is much safer than physical force. My point was that people are very quick to condemn their usage at all, and I thought people should realize the risks of not having them available.

DCX2 says:

He was SHOT IN THE FACE

WTF is wrong with you people? Arguing over whether the use of the taser was excessive force?

Whether the taser was appropriate or not may be debatable, but the officer shot the teenager IN THE FACE. The teen needed medical professionals to remove the taser. And yet the vast majority of commenters don’t even seem to care about this detail, when in my opinion it is the deciding factor in making this a totally inappropriate use of force which rightfully deserves a lawsuit, even if the kid who got shot in the face started the fight

Prisoner 201 says:

Re: He was SHOT IN THE FACE

I agree. Why the face? High risk of damage to the eyes, and any resulting scars will be visible no matter how you dress.

A more proper target would have been the chest area or the legs.

And at least a courtesy “cease and desist or I will shoot!” would have been nice.

Also, re: safer than wrestling, falling uncontrollably from standing is quite dangerous. Your head falls 5-6 feet down into the street. I have ben told by two different cops that its common for people to suffer more damage falling down than the actual punch that made them fall down.

So on the whole, less violence is better.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: He was SHOT IN THE FACE

He doesn’t appear to be aiming for the face, the guy is bobbing up and down like a prize fighter. I would say he was aiming for the chest, and fired just as the guy sort of ducked down and lowered his head.

Takes two to tango,and this guy was certainly a moving target (and aware of the police presence, and that the officer had a weapon in their hand).

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: He was SHOT IN THE FACE

If th policeman isn’t competent to shoot accurately at that short distance, then he should have held back.

Can you imagine explaining in a firearms case:
“Sorry, I shot the kid in the chest from 10 feet away, although I was aiming for his leg.”
“Sorry, I hit the other person than the one I was aiming for.”

Inappropriate use of force, inappropriately targeted and with no attempt to do anything except be lazy. I hope the kid gets a good lawyer!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 He was SHOT IN THE FACE

Hey Marcus Carab you talentless schmuck, why don’t you actually watch the video first?

The officer didn’t fire blindly.

If you want to be an asshole, do it on your own posts. Your shit is so weak, you should spend your time working on that rather than trying to be “cute” and put words in my mouth.

You are truly a fucking asshole.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 He was SHOT IN THE FACE

The officer didn’t fire blindly.

Yes, I am aware he had the capacity of sight at the time. It’s called a figure of speech.

do it on your own posts

Er, what posts? I don’t exactly write here very often. I haven’t posted anything in weeks.

You are truly a fucking asshole.

Yup. I’m a big supporter of all the standard True Fucking Asshole causes, like “holding police to high standards of behaviour” and “not shooting kids in the face”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: He was SHOT IN THE FACE

Watch the video again. Sure he was bobbing up and down, but at no point did his head get low enough to reach the level of the highest his chest ever got. The kids bobbing might have kept the cop from being able to shoot him within 5 or so inches vertically, but the chest is a much bigger target than the amount of bobbing the kid was doing. Had he even attempted to shoot the kid in the middle of his chest while at the highest point of a bob, even when the kid was at the lowest part of a bob the taser would have still hit him in the chest.

Anonymous Coward says:

Mike, I also have to say I love the title.

“Police Caught Tasing Teen Without Warning”

“caught” suggests that they are doing something specifically illegal (not proven). Perhaps the more logicial is:

“Video Shows Police Tasing Teen Without Warning”.

The assumption also is that the police had not been on the scene before, that the fight happened only in this location, and isn’t part of a large situation, or one that occurred around the corner in front of the cop already. We just don’t know – it’s an incomplete video.

Dave (profile) says:

Re: Re:

No. He was caught. If there wasn’t any video, it would all be swept under the rug as “appropriate action”. It probably still will, but at least there’s some attention to it.

And why are you advocating non-partiality here? Seriously? This isn’t a news report. I think Mike can use inflamatory headlines if he wants to. Personally, I think he downplayed it a bit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“caught” suggests that they are doing something specifically illegal (not proven).

Horse shit. You can be “caught” doing a lot of things that aren’t illegal. And being “Caught on camera” is a common phrase. Someone could take a picture of you at the mall with your friends for instance. “Hey, I caught Johnny AC at the mall on Saturday.”

When your mother caught you jacking off in the bathroom, it was just embarrassing to you. That doesn’t make it “specifically illegal.”

MikeC (profile) says:

I am in the camp of out of context — I don’t see that much wrong with his actions and give him the benifit of the doubt. Could it be to agressive, probably, but I don’t know the context so I won’t judge to harshly. The cop didn’t start the fight, it’s just his job to end it before it escalates – who knows what they were yelling – maybe the kid was saying he’s going to be shooting someone.

The kid or kids could have a history, the cop is by himself. Does anyone know – maybe he broke up a fight last night with these kids, or they are known gang members, previous arrestees, or just boys who are being boys. Odd no one on news front seems to ask this question – it’s not the storyline that sells now is it.

Also if he’d called for backup and the kid(s) got hurt he would be crucified for not stepping in quick enough. I doubt he aimed for the kids face too – tasers aren’t that accurate.

Another point, he’s out numbered 3 to 1 min (lots of other folks around that might get involved) he’s at big risk of someone behind him or outside the immediate fight, etc.. pulling a knife or gun or whatever. His first duty is to go home alive IMHO.

Lastly it is funny though, in these situations, the one who gets the bullet or taser or whatever always seems to be angel among the devils.

S (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The face is a small target at the VERY TOP of the human body — at least, most humans’; perhaps there is something different in your case.

In other words, there is absolutely no reasonable way he could have hit the kid’s face if he wasn’t trying to, unless he was so hopped up on confiscated drugs that he couldn’t control his limbs effectively.

PrometheeFeu (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“His first duty is to go home alive IMHO.”

No it’s not. His first duty is to not violate the rights of individuals. If that means he leaves in a body-bag, well, that’s sad but that’s the way it is. If he can’t handle that, he should look for a different job. Also please consider his actions. After he shot his Tazer, he is now close to everyone involved without any long-range options. He is now at more of a risk of being knifed than if he had stayed back and called a warning.

“Also if he’d called for backup and the kid(s) got hurt he would be crucified for not stepping in quick enough.”

Yes well, there was an option between just waiting for back-up and walking up and shooting. He could have started with a warning and then shot with his Tazer. That cop deserves jail time.

MikeC (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

>”His first duty is to go home alive IMHO.”

>>No it’s not. His first duty is to not violate the rights of individuals. If that means he leaves in a body-bag, well, that’s sad but that’s the way it is.

Wrong. He didn’t violate anyone’s rights.. In the US you ahve 1st amendment rights but you can’t yell “FIRE” in a crowded theater. You don’t have the right to attack someone and not expect a response. In the video the kid had a chance to run away but didn’t, he attacked – was he the agressor/victim? Who knows. Cop probably didn’t but he certainly doesn’t need to risk his life to find out. Not knowing the context, he might have made the right decision. You don’t know, I don’t know, but based on the video, I will give him benifit of the doubt. Should he have handled it different, perhaps, but your or anyones monday morning quarterbacking doesn’t count — unless there is more evidence than this video, I will be on the cop’s side.

As to waiting, he walked up and took action. Once again, with nothing more than this video — you can’t evaluate the entire situation you can’t correctly judge. Would be nice to have more info. Does the cop have a history of excessive force, does the kid(s) have history.

Still I not you didn’t comment on the fact that video only shows one side, all the kid(s) were perfect angels right? If you are judging the actions of context why do you just accept that side? Easy to and fits the every cop is a jerk (plenty are BTW) .. mantra. The guy who pepper sprayed the ladies — he should be crucified — plenty of context and evidence he was wrong, here not the case.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The officer shot a kid in the face with a taser without warning. He put himself in a more dangerous position than he would have been in if he stood back and identified himself, with his taser at the ready.

That’s all their really is to it. The officer used excessive force. Read Section 26 of the Criminal Code of Canada – Every one who is authorized by law to use force is criminally responsible for any excess thereof according to the nature and quality of the act that constitutes the excess. The officer should be charged, there was no reason to use a weapon to break up a fist fight.

Thomas (profile) says:

Good to know..

that it’s not only cops in the U.S. who don’t hesitate to use excessive force. I never cease to be amazed at what the police do and then the so-called “internal affairs” investigates, but the real goal of “IA” is to say the cop acted correctly.

Nowdays, people are rightly worried if a cop approaches them. It doesn’t matter if you are simply taking a walk; you’re subject to pepper spray, being tasered, thrown to the ground and arrested at any time.

right says:

Re:

Maybe this a common place for Teen violence or he knows the two “boys”( the size of men) from past events where they ran. I didn’t see any other people try to stop the fight before the cop showed up.If you saw this fight going on would you try to stop it? most likely not because you are worried you will get punched stabbed or shot. Also does not look like the best part of town to be working as a cop.

Mr. Smarta** says:

If that was my boy...

If I was the mother of that boy, I’d walk right up to the officer, grab the stun gun away from him saying “Gimme that damn stun gun!”, then proceed to shock some sense into that boy.

“Don’t you know that fighting is wrong???” *zzzaaaap*
“Don’t you know that fighting doesn’t solve anything???” *zzzzaaap*
“Who broke that lamp in the living room five years ago??? That was you, wasn’t it???” *zzzzaaaap*
“To hell with the belt!! I’m buyin’ one of these contraptions. And the next time you go off like that, I’m gonna shock your a** again!!” *zzzzaaaaap* *zzzzaaaaap*

Anonymous Coward says:

This is foolish. The officer should have just shot him with his firearm. This would have accomplished several things:

1. The suspect would have been eliminated entirely with no chance of getting up to harm the officer,
2. No one else around the scene (especially the other suspect) would be willing to challenge the officer after displaying his willingness to use deadly force.

Beta (profile) says:

with a gun in your hand you see bullseyes everywhere

I’ve broken up worse fights than that without a weapon, and without suffering (or inflicting) injury, when it wasn’t even my job. All it really takes is a little courage and intelligence; instead, this guy has a badge and a weapon.

I’d love to know what story he would have spun if he hadn’t known about the video.

Anonymous Coward says:

I always thought that the Police had to respond with an appropriate level of force and only as much force is required to defuse the situation.

If the Officer had 1. Identified himself 2. Ordered the suspects to stop and get on the ground and then they refused or kept fighting? Then the Tazer or sidearm would come into play. Again with orders to stop and get on the ground.

I would hate to see what happened if there was any kind of weapon involved. Would the office have shot him with his sidearm without identifying himself?

I think that the kid has some good grounds for suing the officer on this one.

aim says:

some people get what they deserve

If you are fighting in the street like an animal…maybe being tased isn’t the worst thing. Ok the kid got tased in the face, maybe the cops aim was off but a taser is a safe way to get someone to comply. Yes, i know tasers have killed some people, but that is a small percentage. And hopefully this kid will think twice before engaging in such behavior in the future.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: some people get what they deserve

What percentage level do the wrongful deaths have to reach before it’s not OK any more?

My problem with the taser, and I have a big one, is not that it might kill. In a sense, it’s not lether enough. Despite, in my city anyway, being promised that tasers would only be used in situations where a gun would otherwise have been employed, the fact that most people can get shot with a taser and live has led to rampant and massive abuse of them. They are used well beyond situations where a gun would otherwise have been used.

They are used to enforce compliance from nonviolent but noncompliant people. They are used, like in this situation, as a measure of first resort as an easy way to “pacify” people by lazy cops. They are used to overtly torture.

If they were more dangerous, we members of the public might be a bit safer from abusive or lazy cops. As it is, tasers make it all too easy for cops to demonstrate one fo the main reasons that they aren’t trusted or respected by a very large percentage of the population.

aim says:

Re: Re: some people get what they deserve

Those “lazy” cops you are talking about put there lives on the line everyday. Yes I understand that police men and women are only human and as with any group you will have good ones and bad ones, but if you are in the middle of committing a crime I don’t see how being shot by a taser is abusive or excessive. Don’t be a criminal and you don’t get tased!
And as for the cops…you talk all the crap you can about them but they are the first ones you call when something bad happens to you. They DO put there lives in danger everyday to keep criminals like this boy off the street. They get paid crappy wages to help serve and protect YOU! Not only that, they have families praying everyday they come home safe as they selflessly respond to YOUR calls! This boy was not permanently hurt, and thankfully the policeman wasn’t either. Probably because he responded the way he did.

Almost Anonymous (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: some people get what they deserve

Ok “aim”, now answer to some of his other points. Specifically, I’ve seen video of cops tasering people because they would not follow specific instructions like “get up from that chair”. Absolutely no threat of violence, just disobedience. Is it ok to tase someone in that situation?

The correct answer is “No”, but they do it anyway because the taser is considered non-lethal. If everyone saw a similar video of a cop schwacking someone upside the head once with his a police baton for not following instructions, everyone would be screaming bloody murder. But a taser? Meh.

aim says:

Re: Re: Re:2 some people get what they deserve

I say the answer is yes! When a cop tells you to do something you are suppose to do it! period!!! If someone whats to act like a child and be like “no, i wont do what you tell me” then tase the hell out of them! Being hit in the head with a baton IS excessive force while being tasered is NOT. People get more injuries when they are subdued by physical force than they do with tasers.
And like I said before, act like an animal and you will be treated like one.

aim says:

Re: Re: Re:6 some people get what they deserve

I never said the police where infallible. what i did say was they are human and with any group you get bad ones and good ones. but when an officer of the law tells you to do something like stop or get on the ground you do it. if not you should be tasered. if you were being pulled over for a traffic violation, are you just going to run bc you simply don’t want to do what they tell you?

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 some people get what they deserve

“but when an officer of the law tells you to do something like stop or get on the ground you do it. if not you should be tasered. “

Can you explain when exactly the kid got a chance to follow those instructions? It must be somewhere on the video and I’m just not seeing it…

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 some people get what they deserve

well of course I’m not saying if a cop told you to eat dirt you should do it.

Oh you don’t? Well that’s funny, because what you originally said was:

When a cop tells you to do something you are suppose to do it! period!!!

So maybe you should choose your words a little more carefully next time.

aim says:

Re: Re: Re:8 some people get what they deserve

it’s people like you that make the police angry and want to fuck somebody up! as a society we give the police authority so they can do there jobs and then we say “fuck the police”! Yes there are some bad ones out there. the ones drunk with power and throwing around there weight. These are probably the ones that were picked on in school and as soon as they get a badge they think they can do the picking. but to have some sort of civilized society we have to allow them to do there job and we have to not be rebellious little children who just want to go against them just for the sake of going against them.

Listen, for the record, I am a tree hugging, pro choice, pro gay marriage, democrat voting, atheist liberal. But when it comes to crime I believe people should be punished. There should be some fear in people that if they do a crime they will be sent to jail and or prison. I say this bc I would like to be able to walk down a city street and not be scared of someone attacking me. I would like to be able to allow my child to go outside without the fear that they will be attacked or killed. Prison should be feared and not a right of passage.Many criminal types see it as a badge of some kind of screwed up honor! police have to have some power, if they dont they can’t do there job and the streets would crumble into chaos.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 some people get what they deserve

And like I said before, act like an animal and you will be treated like one.

And, as you’ve indirectly said, if you act like a citizen, for instance if you decide to stand up for your rights in the face of a bad cop, you’ll be treated like an animal.

You scare me. I hope you aren’t a cop, because your statements here are prime examples of why cops have a bad name.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 some people get what they deserve

It’s not the job of the cops to punish anybody. That’s what the courts are for. If the cops are doing any doling out of punishment, they’re engaging in abuse.

I’m in no way saying that criminals shouldn’t be caught or punished. I am saying that the police exceed and abuse their authority too often.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: some people get what they deserve

Um no they dont, being a cop is statistically one of the safest jobs you can have. Working on power lines is dangerous, working construction is VERY dangerous, being a cop is one of the safest jobs there is. This is statistical fact.

The reason you do not understand why it is excessive is because you do not understand, or perhaps have not even read, the law. Cops are instructed to use minimal force necessary to subdue a suspect. Key word, suspect. You used the operative word criminal to describe what was in fact a suspect. Criminal implies a conviction in a court of law. At that point, not knowing who initiated the violence before the officer arrived, ALL parties involved should have been treated as suspects. Not criminals. Self defense is not a crime.

Your ignorance of the law, and what it means to have a “dangerous job,” is astounding.

aim says:

Re: Re: Re:2 some people get what they deserve

hahahaha you make me laugh…using a taser is minimal force. and this so called “suspect’ who i saw in the video fighting like an animal in the street, got exactly what he deserved. I only wish the cop had another taser to tase the other “suspect’.

And being a cop is NOT one of the safest jobs…I would love to know where you got that load of crap.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 some people get what they deserve

um no. verbal commands are minimal force, physical restraint or placing himself between the suspects, is minimal force. a taser is not minimal force.

would your feelings be different if you and a loved one were walking down the street, attacked, and then as you defend yourself, and happen to surprise your attackers with your ability to do so, appear to be the aggressor, and are shot in the face with a taser? what if it had hit him in the eye, would you still be glad this “animal got what he deserved?” your sick, and i pray that one day you are in his situation so you can understand what its like.

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cfoi.pdf

here is your “load of crap.” OSHA has some great statistics as well. im not gonna work the google for you anymore, you probably get the idea.

just because you are ignorant, doesnt mean others are. keep trying to defend your position, it is very telling of your moral standing, or lack there of.

aim says:

Re: Re: Re:4 some people get what they deserve

the video does not show who the aggressor was. and if I was attacked on the street i would try to get away and not participate in the fight. This officer did his job and if you don’t like it don’t call them when someone attacks you bc they might get tased and hurt your little bleeding heart.

You seem to me to be one of those people who tell there children how special they are when they are mediocre at best and they grow up felling entitled and above the law. Probably like this kid feels.
And a cop’s job is very dangerous…who do they call when someone has a gun, or when someone has a knife, or some crazy ass person is threatening people? Most people run away from these situations while the police run directly to it.

Prisoner 201 says:

Re: Re: Re:5 some people get what they deserve

You and your girlfriend are walking home from the movies. You are attacked by two people.

Do you fight to defend your girlfriend (and yourself), or do you turn your back and run? Leaving her to be raped and beaten? Of course you dont.

And when the cops come, they do not give you any chance to show that you are the good guy. They are not even interested. They taser you in the face and pepper spray your girlfriend.

Because you were fighting in the streets like animals.

Yeah thats totally reasonable. Thats totally the kind of society I want to live in.

aim says:

Re: Re: Re:8 some people get what they deserve

Prisoner 201 – you are so wrapped up in you male ego macho bullshit its pathetic! Be honest – if someone came at you you wouldnt try to get out of the situation bc that would hurt your ego and make you feel less of a man!

And if someone was chasing me and i had on heels i would remove them!!!

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: some people get what they deserve

if you are in the middle of committing a crime I don’t see how being shot by a taser is abusive or excessive. Don’t be a criminal and you don’t get tased!

It depends on the crime. Would you agree that getting shot with a taser would be excessive for a litterer?

As to your “don’t be a criminal” line, I wish that were a guarantee against getting shot. Because it’s far from it.

And as for the cops…you talk all the crap you can about them but they are the first ones you call when something bad happens to you.

Actually, no, they aren’t. I seen too many instances of cops behaving badly to want them around in moments when I’m feeling vulnerable. I’m not just talking out of my hat — there have been three times when I’ve been the victim of crimes, one including serious assault, but have not called the cops.

Listen, I know there are some good cops. I’ve met them personally. But there are a higher percentage of bad people who are cops than bad people in the general population, and the cops themselves show little to no interest in making sure that they are prosecuted or, at least, kicked off the force.

The only safe thing to do when faced with a group of people who are given extraordinary power and who have a larger-than-normal percentage of bad guys is to view them all as risks until proven otherwise.

And yes, they do indeed put their lives on the line, although not all of them are doing it for altruistic reasons. Regardless, I don’t minimize the risks they take. They’re substantial and I’m glad they do. By the same token, taking those risks doesn’t get them a pass to act badly toward the public.

aim says:

Re: Re: Re:2 some people get what they deserve

it doesnt give them a pass to act like cowboys. but with they way the police are treated i can almost see why they would become jaded. I myself am not a cop but I do know a lot of them. Some are assholes and just people I wouldnt choose to be around all the time, but the most i know are really good guys who get such a bad rap just bc of there job. I’m not saying let them have total power but they do need some to do there job. and i do think that tasering a litterbug would be excessive! lol but wildly throwing punches in the middle of the street..well…I just wish that the kids nowadays would realize that they too can be punished, and just bc you are a kid you should still be held accountable.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 some people get what they deserve

We aren’t so far apart after all, even if we do differ about the severity of tasering. πŸ™‚

Some are assholes and just people I wouldnt choose to be around all the time, but the most i know are really good guys who get such a bad rap just bc of there job.

Actually, I think they get a bad rap because the bad cops tarnish the entire force. This is why I’ve always been mystified by the lack of effective self-policing among the police. If the cops held themselves, as a group, to a higher standard then they would have a much better reputation overall.

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: some people get what they deserve

“And as for the cops…you talk all the crap you can about them but they are the first ones you call when something bad happens to you.”

Only because you will be charged if you handle the situation yourself. Most laws are to make or keep present jobs.

“They DO put there lives in danger everyday to keep criminals like this boy off the street.”

Too bad they didn’t know that when they signed on.

“…criminals like this boy off the street.”
I’ll feel much safer when all kids are off the street.

point.vector (profile) says:

cop was by himself...

No cop is by theirself. They have a radio…he wasn’t being directly attacked. He could have called for backup. He DECIDED to intervene. He didn’t have to. It was three kids fighting, that’s what kids do. The cop should be fired because: 1 He consciously decided to shoot the kid in the face, or 2. he is a terrible enough shot to miss the kids center mass from three feet away. Pick one, needs to lose job. He is an old man who cares nothing for the kids on the street and feels compeled to discipline them because he is an authority. He is in the middle of the suburbs with alot of other kids around, not in the middle of the ghetto. You people need to quit watching so many cop dramas. Not everything is as critical as it is on TV.

Anonymous Coward says:

Side note:
Under the law in Canada a Tazer is considered a prohibited firearm. The public cannot own one, nor can they own pepper spray or mace. Under that definition you would be charged with the same thing whether you were carrying a Tazer or a machine gun.

Just because its a conducted energy weapon does not mean the Officer should not have to follow the same rules as they do when they use a gun.

brianberneker (profile) says:

Taser = Gun

When the TASER was initially introduced, it was with hesitation and passed mainly because it was proposed as a safer alternative to drawing a deadly firearm, but warranting the same protocol. As demonstrated in BC with the needless death of a Polish man by TASER this restraint is nonexistent.

Anyone who says that use of a TASER is appropriate should ask themselves if it would be appropriate to draw a firearm in the same situation, as this was the standard of use for which it was approved.

Instead of respecting use of a TASER according to the same caution one would using a firearm, cops are treating it like an alternative to pepper spray or it would seem at times just for kicks. If the police continue failing to respect this weapon and treat it like a toy, it should be taken away from them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Yes the boy was in fight mode that was visible he (the boy) was also the one who initiated or reinitiated the physical contact, but the officer failed to command authority, failed to make itself known and it failed to use appropriate force, since the boy was no threat physically to him, he was not yielding a weapon and had nothing on him that is visible that could be used as one, he was also half the size of the officer, which I’m sure also could have been carrying pepper spray which is a lot less lethal than a taser and works wonders for teenage brawls on the streets.

This officer should be reprimanded he failed at his job as a enforcer of the law.

DMNTD says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I fight is a fight. It’s not “animal’s” going after each other and the fact I have to tell you that proves you should not be dealing with people honestly. Infraction’s, death, etc happen all the time and as a peace keeper(see that’s what police are supposed to be), not an authority figure. Help resolve to what the law allows until you give up your right’s as a citizen but it seems to me that we have no right’s UNTIL we demand them these days and not before.

It’s taken a bad turn and needs to be resolved before all credibility is lost. Partaking in the law, NOT above it.

Old Man in The Sea says:

Authority vs No Authority

What strikes me is the increasing lack of Authority that the various police forces are gaining. If a man in a cosack can walk into a gang war and everything stops (the gunfire and the violence) and he brings both sides to their senses – this is Authority. When an authorised officer has to use abuse, threats and violence to stop a situation then there is NO Authority.

The number of times that I have pulled up young ones for acting dangerously to those around them and only used my voice shows that as individuals we can have authority even if not officially. These young ones have pulled their heads in even if they give you the evil eye (which they just don’t realise is a complete waste of time).

The various stories written here lately show that those who have officially been given positions of authority do not seem to recognise that they are losing it by there own actions.

That is a serious problem and a pity.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Authority vs No Authority

Welcome to “generation dis”, the disrespectful generation. You get plenty of it here on Techdirt, albeit from the 300 pound keyboard warriors stuffing their faces with cheetos and blurting out “fuck the world” while listening to gangsta rap. In the real world, there are real issues with the lack of respect both for the law and those who put their lives on the line enforcing it.

No doubt some will come in here and say “look at this kid shot in the face with a taser, that is why there is no respect”, not realizing that it happened because of a lack of respect from the kid, not the other way around. They confuse cause and effect very often.

Generation Dis also thinks that they can ignore any law they don’t like, and that there should never be any punishment for doing it. They usually crack off some nonsense about the first amendment protecting their right to be a prick and to ignore the rights of others. It usually doesn’t work, and they turn into bigger pricks and start blogs to go on and on about it (Hi Mike!).

The lack of respect is overwhleming!

Prisoner 201 says:

Re: Re: Authority vs No Authority

If you hate USA so much why don’t you move to a country more suitable for your allergy to human rights? Like Syria, Iran or China?

You would feel right at home there, they dont care one crap about free speech or any of that gangsta prick blog nonsense you hate so much.

Don’t send a postcard, we would rather forget you as soon as possible.

Tata.

aim says:

some people get what they deserve

no. look at it like this…where you see flashing lights in your rear view mirror do you pull over? or do you just say ‘i didnt do anything wrong so i’m just going to keep going’ ? Most people would say no, you pull over. police have to have some sort of authority. not absolute power but why do we even have cops if they can’t do what they are suppose to do?

Phil says:

Cops are liars by nature

This is crazy the cop obviously used way too much force, he could have tried a respectful approach instead of acting like a bully, like open his mouth & ask WITH RESPECT for them to settle down instead of abusing a poor boy. Cops tend to forget that all forms of intimidation are forms of abuse & abuse is illegal. I also find it completely stupid that police officer’s words mean anything, when you think about it a lie is anything that it 99.9% “true” or less & what cop is going to ask, “Can I search you? Bare in mind that as we are not the same gender you have the right to request a ____ to search you.” cops are the biggest liars and sadly few people realize that a career built on lies makes a person completely incapable of distinguishing between fact & fiction. Which is why police lie in court constantly, they simply can’t help not knowing how to tell what the truth even looks or sounds like.

You Sir, are a Tosser says:

Easy Fix

If a Taser to the face is all it takes to stop crime, i say bring it in as a widespread punishment, I would love my town to under go this treatment, as it would become really peaceful, really quick. Think about this, the kids put lives at risk by fighting, one good blow to the head can kill a man. So who are you to paint the cop as evil for doing this? when each of the kids endangered their own and others lives. An easy fix to crime, and an easy fix to violence. I know I would never fight again if i copped one to the face. Good work officer. May all police take this on board, bring back the harsh punishments.

Lars says:

what a bunch of idiots.

this wasn’t some innocent person walking along the street and some bully cop tazed him for no reason. This was a stupid little thug swinging a chair at another person. Very little injury was sustained here and luckily no TRULY innocent person was hurt. Little hint for all you wanna-be thugs and idiots feeling sorry for the punk that was tazed…. “don’t violently attack other people… and you won’t get tazed.”

Cop from elsewhere in the world. says:

Ignorance of MikeC

His first duty is to go home alive, I don’t know what world you live in, but as a COP why should I expect to be assaulted or seriously injured just so little street kid with the huge criminal history can be “treated gently”

There is alot this video cant tell us, like previous dealing with this individual, alerts that police have when dealing with him, or the level of violence he uses when being confronted all of which vastly affects how we treat people on a day to day basis.

The other thing is that this “kid” was doing was committing an offence, fighting in a public place. If you dont want to have your public streets quiet and safe, dont call the police for a pissy fight.

1. Police will protect themselves as priority 1.
2. Police will protect the public as priority 2.
3. Police will protect the offender as priority 3.

This is and always will be the way police around the world operate, you have no right to tell a police officer he should be putting the offenders safety over his own, IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCE. I am especially astounded at your ignorance and serious belief that I should be going home in a body bag, just because that’s the way it worked out, you sound like a model citizen…

I’d like to see you do it for a living, but by the wording of your comment, I can guess at which side of that confrontation you’d like to be on.

Anon says:

semantics are everything

This is a bad false analogy, I’d rather be “shot” with a taser than with a gun, I think the odds of surviving without serious injury are somewhat better!

The more we use terms like “shooting”, the more sensationlist the articles sound, i.e. “Officer shoots youth in face”, bad huh? Overuse of these kinds of terms detracts from the seriousness of the times it’s used appropriately. A tragedy of a mother forced to live in a run down apartment and bring up her child on benefits (example), is not equal to a tragedy of millions of starving people in Africa…

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