State Legislator Says 11-Year-Old Tased By Cop Deserved It And Her Parents Probably Suck

from the christ-what-an-asshole dept


Cincinnati police officer Kevin Brown’s decision to fire a Taser at an 11-year-old girl suspected of shoplifting from a grocery store in August immediately drew criticism from city officials and advocates.

But Ohio state Representative John Becker had a different take. Had it been his daughter, he announced in an August newsletter, “I’d be ashamed and embarrassed that she did something stupid enough to get herself tased.”

This is even worse than the police union’s take on the incident, which referred to the completely expected backlash as “kneejerk.” But, hey, I guess deciding to tase an 11-year-old in the back — one who reportedly was all of 4’11” and 90 pounds — couldn’t possibly be portrayed as a kneejerk reaction by a law enforcement officer. When force isn’t truly needed, we can be sure some cops will deploy it anyway.

But Rep. John Becker’s take is the hottest take of all. Anyone tased by a cop — even an 11-year-old — is a person who brought that crackling, barbed punishment down on themselves. There’s no reason to question the wisdom or necessity of the Taser deployment. Rather, we should question ourselves. And perhaps society. But mostly ourselves.

Becker also addressed police shootings in his newsletter. If his child were shot by police, he wrote, “rather than blaming the cop, I’d be blaming myself and endlessly soul searching to figure out how I failed as a parent and why my kid grew up to be a punk.” He added, “Based on the evidence of what I see on television, it often times appears to me that justice was delivered to the dead punk.”

“Based on the evidence of what I see on television…” Holy shit. This is an elected representative. And he thinks the TV is giving him the “evidence” he needs to make snap judgments on tased kids. Blame the victim. And blame the victim’s parents.

The police chief — in a surprisingly reasonable statement — said the Taser deployment was “unnecessary.”

Back to Becker:

Becker also told The Appeal that if police tase a child, “it could be an indication of a parenting problem.” He added, “If I were to do research, I would expect to find that kids that come from two parent in-tact [sic] supportive families are less likely to get in trouble with the authorities than kids that came from tougher environments.”

“If I were to do the research…” Would this be research beyond the television watching that’s given Becker such keen insight into officer-involved shootings? Who knows? Becker’s certainly not going to do the research. He’s just going to stick by his electro-guns and blame victims of cop violence for being raised badly or otherwise being harmed by the disintegration of the nuclear family unit — the 2.5 children born to married heterosexuals who have managed to weather an escalating divorce rate, porn, video games, movies, television, the internet, social media, Satanism, multiple pagan-based holidays, postal rate hikes, alternate sexual orientations, public school indoctrination, Daylight Savings Time, mandatory vaccinations, HAARP projects (known and unknown), President Obama, Brown v. Board of Education, morning-after pills, weird Twitter, the removal of prayer from schools, the Simpsons, artistic expression in general, and whatever else has reduced the American way of life to a hideous nightmare where punk kids manage to live their whole lives without being deservedly tased by blameless, saintly police officers.

Becker is an idiot, but let’s pretend the research he didn’t do actually says what he thinks it will say. Even if a majority of kids tased/killed by cops are raised by single and/or inattentive parents, that doesn’t justify force deployments that far exceed the danger presented by the developing situation. This 11-year-old was tased in the back by an officer who was taller, weighed more, and had the ability to summon any number of additional officers if it appeared this preteen was going to, I don’t know, grow a foot, add 100 pounds of weight, and produce an arsenal of weapons before the officer got the mild shoplifting situation under control.

If you agree with John Becker, you’re probably John Becker. Or a cop who hates using force reasonably or responsibly. But you’re definitely not the sort of person who can be trusted with government power.

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Comments on “State Legislator Says 11-Year-Old Tased By Cop Deserved It And Her Parents Probably Suck”

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Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Delivering justice

Agreed. And it’s why I keep repeating my mantra “Due process is not an impediment to justice;” people like him totally believe that it is.

That’s right, people, they honestly seem to believe that working within the law which affords us our civil rights gets in the way of delivering justice. But it’s not even their job to deliver justice, it’s their job to uphold the law, and they can’t or won’t do that for some reason. Wasn’t there a town somewhere in the world that fired the whole damn lot and replaced them? You might have to do this town by town, city by city, district by district, until you have cops who do their job, not the job they think they’re supposed to be doing, which appear to be different things. /end rant

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Frontier justice

I think it’s a form of revenge, justified

Modern justice is supposed to involve consideration of the facts, deliberation, determination of guilt and punishment, reparations or rehabilitation appropriate to, and in proportion to the original crime.

This isn’t that.

To be fair, what the US does is a mockery of the justice ideal, illustrated to some degree by an elected official regarding the tasing of an eleven-year-old child as acceptable.

Anonymous Coward says:

White priviledge

John Becker seems to be a white male who has enjoyed the freedom of not ever being pulled over for driving while black, been stopped and frisked for same or had police automatically believe they needed to use force again, just for having dark skin. This asshole needs to learn how the people of his district are actually treated before he makes any statements in the future.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

John Becker doesn't care about anyone.

Empathy, compassion, even concern about the interests of the constituency are all not prerequisites for political office. Becker was voted in by people who don’t know him, and he doesn’t know the people he represents. His re-election is not contingent on his pursuit of the best interests of his constituency. Why should it concern him that an agent of state brutally assaulted a child? A minority prole child at that.

It would surprise me if his district wasn’t Gerrymandered all to hell, and voting minorities sufficiently obstructed to assure his incumbency continues. Even if the opposition manages 66% of the vote he’ll keep his office. He has no incentive to even pretend to be concerned.

Have we yet admitted that what we live in is not a fair democracy?

Have we yet decided that we, in fact, want a democracy badly enough to force change?

Until then, we live in a no fucks given society. Becker is hardly an elected representative but an aristocrat. Becker genuinely regards the proles as beneath them. He truly regards the children of proles as larvae of vermin. And he has no need to even pretend to feel otherwise.

This is the norm. And until we change things drastically, it will continue to be the norm.

Zgaidin (profile) says:

Re: John Becker doesn't care about anyone.

The guy certainly sounds like a pompous ass and so steeped in white privilege that he’ll never shake any of it loose, and it’s entirely possible that he’s all that you say. However, it seems more likely that rather than a stately aristocrat, he’s a sheltered upper middle class guy from white Middle America and his view of the world is just completely stifled by his environment. That doesn’t excuse what he said, I’m just contesting your view of his motives and thought process, somewhat.

I’ve known state legislators before, several of them before they joined politics. While they receive a salary from the state, most of them have jobs or businesses they return to throughout the year whenever the legislature isn’t in session. Becker’s state salary is 60.5k a year. The man’s a tax accountant. Regardless of your skin tone, if you bumbled into his office in early April with a shoe box full of receipts and a confused look on your face, I suspect he’d get you seated, ask if you wanted coffee, and get down to the business of honestly helping you with your tax return.

Here’s a Linklink to the page for Becker’s district. He represents a whopping 102k people, of which only 4.27% are black and .99% hispanic (as opposed to 12.7% and 17.8%, respectively, of the total U.S. population). In 2016, he was elected with only 44k votes, which amazingly was 76% of the votes cast!! The total campaign contributions for all 3 candidates that ran in 2016 in his district totaled up to less than his state salary for the year.

My point isn’t that he’s a great guy. I doubt seriously I’d invite him over for dinner or out to play pub trivia. My point is that he’s not some Washington fat-cat. His vaunted office is located in Columbus, OH – a city where the dominating landmark is the public university. He’s truly representative of his electorate, in that he’s just like most of them: white, middle class, conservative, Christian, straight, and sheltered. They don’t have to know him because they recognize him every time they look in the mirror.

He doesn’t showcase the jaded, elitist cesspool that we see in D.C. He’s a prime example of the pitfall at the other end of the spectrum of representative democracy – he’s a slightly better copy of his neighbors, which unfortunately may qualify him to help shape state level policy but doesn’t qualify him in the slightest to have an opinion on national issues like police violence, racial profiling, etc.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: '... all that and I get paid too? Sign me up!'

While I’m sure that accounts for some of them there are almost certainly others who join up because they see stories like this, see that the ‘punishments’ handed out are low if non-existent, and positively drool at the idea of a job where they get to abuse/molest/torture/kill people and not only get away with it but have a legal system and politicians like this one back them on it.

It would of course be unfair to imply that those two categories encompass all police, or even a majority, as I’m sure a good percentage of them do join up with honest and good intentions, the problem is those around them who do fall into the above two categories seem to have quite nicely corrupted the profession to their liking, such that the good ones either keep their heads down and cease to be good cops, or leave.

Glenn says:

Yeah, it is a “parenting problem” …the cop’s parent(s). They raised someone who worships The Law no matter what it says; everything is a capital crime. Breaking The Law is the greatest sin there is for such as he, and the appropriate penalty is whatever the cop in question feels like dispensing at that moment. His motto? Everyone is guilty… you just have to find which laws have been broken; then shoot first and leave it at that. (Actually, finding which laws have been broken is optional.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The parents probably worships the law as well. Except those small things of course… I mean, cheating a little in taxes is basically mandatory. Also when late it is okay to blast across a school zone at twice the allowed speed – those kids should be at class anyway and these people are too important in their job and society as a whole to be 5 minutes late.

My point is that I have seen enough people who worships the law and police and who wish for “Tough Law”, being incredible hypocrites when it comes to those things they believe “everyone” does or believes they are entitled to do.

ECA (profile) says:

Re: aUG 9TH

“Police Chief Eliot Isaac said an investigation had been launched and Brown was put on restricted duties. Prosecutor Joe Deters said the girl would face not face charges despite police initially charging her with theft and obstructing official business.

Cranley issued a statement Wednesday night apologizing to the girl and her family.

“Tasing an 11-year old who posed no danger to the police is wrong. I’m sorry for the harm to her and her family,” Cranley said. “This evening I called and asked Prosecutor Deters to drop charges against the girl. I’m happy to report that he did and I thank for him doing so.””

PS, she was Black, the cop was afraid of catching something..

David says:

This makes sense

Becker also told The Appeal that if police tase a child, “it could be an indication of a parenting problem.” He added, “If I were to do research, I would expect to find that kids that come from two parent in-tact [sic] supportive families are less likely to get in trouble with the authorities than kids that came from tougher environments.”

You see, if you view police as some natural force, like tigers occasionally carving into children, then it’s an education problem to teach children to stay out of reach of the raging beasts.

But we are talking about a state legislator here. A zookeeper who thinks that the way to feed the tigers is to occasionally open the cage doors so that they can grab a visitor or two who ventured too close to the cage is not doing the job he is paid for but something else.

Anonymous Coward says:


I finally got the spider rune last night!!!

Oh yeah, cops need term limits because they (generally) get burned/stressed out over time, and become more dangerous.
ALL law enforcement officers as well as ALL congressmen/women should be tased once as a job requirement, just to know how it feels. This would hopefully make them more empathetic to the responsibility of ‘correct response’. Remember “The Cat’s Eye”, Quitter’s Inc?

DannyB (profile) says:

Several things

  1. I wonder how police dealt with teens before the invention of tasers? (oh, wait that might also have been before the invention of donuts)

  2. If the parents suck, then wouldn’t that make the teen a victim that could possibly be rehabilitated?

  3. If the legislator thinks the teen deserved it, and poor parenting, then would he support a bill to provide all parents with tasers?
Miker (profile) says:

How could this ever fit the crime?

There is a lot of rightful focus here on the use of force against children in general. I think we should also ask why anyone should be Tased or killed for suspicion of a minor property crime (or arguably any property crime).

A child. Only suspected of shoplifting. How is the violence done to this young person—who is presumed innocent!—in any way proportional to the negligible economic damage to the store? She wasn’t stealing stealth bomber plans that could put lives at risk.

Everyone defending this brutality is in effect saying, "If this girl were sitting in front of me and reached for a $5 item on the table, I’d rather tase her than to let her have it or find some other, non-violent way of dealing with the situation." Pure and simple: it puts an incredibly low price on this kid’s life, which says a hell of a lot more about how the person doing the tasing was raised than about the child’s upbringing.

Jim P. (profile) says:


So, out of curiosity and because since she is a “child” no one shows her picture; Was there any obvious indications he was 11? Was there a large blinking sign over her showing her age or was she wearing a hoodie and hiding her face as she attempted to flee with stuff so that it might just be the tiniest bit difficult to ascertain things like age??

And also out of mere curiosity, does she have a criminal record already? Just curious as that doesn’t affect the specific situation.

It’s easy to deride actions after the fact when you may know things the person on the spot did not know.

Not enough solid information to justify the instant “Crucify the cop!” reaction or “The she must be guilty, she is black’ Idiocy either.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: ... seriously?

Funny thing about kids, they tend to be rather short and with less developed features, such that you can usually spot whether or not someone’s a kid, teenager or adult at a glance. Now I suppose it’s theoretically possible he could have thought she was an underdeveloped yet still adult midget(the most blessed of the FSM’s children) attempting to smuggle guns out of the store, but I’m guessing that wasn’t the case.

As to criminal record? First of all, what the hell would that have to do with anything? Even if she had a history of shoplifting and he knew it before tasing her that still wouldn’t have justified the response. The only possible reason I could see bringing that up, despite your ‘I’m just asking’ assertion, is to undermine her such that it’s not really that bad that she got tased, and that tactic is disgusting when the police do it, and when you do it.

He tased a kid for a non-violent crime, that was not involved in an action where there was an immediate and real risk of personal harm to another person such that she had to be stopped immediately and he wasn’t close enough to physically confine her. As such I feel quite confident that yes as a matter of fact there is enough information to (metaphorically) ‘crucify the cop’.

David says:

Re: Re: ... seriously?

Know a girl who was 5’9 at age 11. Not a great place to be in, with everyone having expectations quite exceeding her age, including adults hitting on her. Also knee problems. She’s now about 6′ at 19 and survived.

Now I consider it highly unlikely that someone who basically has been placed in the limelight by her stature is going to try shoplifting, so I consider it more likely that the girl in question had a less conspicuous appearance.

But it’s not unheard of. Just saying.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Violence

“Was there any obvious indications he was 11?”

So, if she looked 15 it would have been OK to tase a minor?

“Was there a large blinking sign over her showing her age or was she wearing a hoodie and hiding her face as she attempted to flee”

The report says she was less than 5 feet tall and 90 pounds. Even if she was 50 they clearly tried tasing someone who posed little physical threat.

“And also out of mere curiosity, does she have a criminal record already?”

It doesn’t matter to the situation at hand.

“It’s easy to deride actions after the fact when you may know things the person on the spot did not know.”

Yes, you cop defenders will find any excuse to deride their victims, but that’s besides the point.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Imobilizing targets

Back in the 1980s there was a Sheriff out in the Stanislaus area (on the California side of the state line near Carson City and Reno) who, rather than using police attack dogs instead used search and rescue dogs.

Originally it wasn’t his choice, they were just available. But given that folk lost out in the bush will sometimes get disoriented and run away from rescue, the dogs were trained just to knock them off their feet and keep them on the ground until their handlers caught up. But they did such a good job of apprehending suspects without hurting them too much that he recommended changing the training of police dogs towards search-and-rescue methods.

On hard ground like concrete sidewalks, knocking someone over can still cause injury, but far less risk of serious damage than shooting someone. Definitely way better for kids.

As for guns that don’t require line of site, we have and use drones with predator missiles. And the CIA is happy to firebomb civilians at a rate of fifty per person-of-interest. So I think we’ve established that state agents can’t be trusted with such devices.

josue betances says:

what the hell

let put it in a way that people would understand do you taze an 11 year old child no do you shot an 11 year old child no I’ve seen cops in this country detained children as young as 11 without causing them any harm this cop has no excuse for tasering a child he just wanted to hurt her as far as I’m concerned this guy’s a piece of shit tasers are used on people who are a danger to themselves or others so let me ask you and please use common sense how does an 11 year old child have the capacity to cause harm to a cop as the cop would be forced to use a taser and this is with knowledge that the child has nothing on them that would cause harm to a cop wisdom use it you will look less foolish

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