Park Ranger Tases Guy Walking Dogs Without A Leash

from the watch-your-back dept

In the latest example of questionable taser use, a man walking his two dogs off-leash at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area was tased in the back by a park ranger, who was apparently trying to make an example of him. The problem was that the guy, Gary Hesterberg, was walking the dogs at Rancho Corral de Tierra, which used to be an off-leash walking area until it was just recently incorporated into the National Park. When the park ranger confronted Hesterberg and asked for his identification, for reasons unknown, Hesterberg gave her a fake name, and then tried repeatedly to leave. Finally, when he started to walk away, the ranger shot him in the back... because she was trying to "educate residents of the rule." Then, he was arrested "on suspicion of failing to obey a lawful order, having dogs off-leash and knowingly providing false information."

It seems that the use of a taser in this situation was excessive and unwarranted. The guy wasn't threatening the ranger in any way, and even if he had lied about his name (not that lying should be a reason to tase someone), the ranger wouldn't have known that at the time, since Hesterberg only gave his real name to the authorities after he got tased. Did the ranger accomplish her goal of "educating" visitors of the park rules? Yes, if educating means "scaring into submission." As Eric Cartman would say, "Respect my authoritah!"

Filed Under: dogs, san francisco, taser

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  1. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 10 Feb 2012 @ 9:14am

    The trouble with tasers

    This ranger is clearly unsuitable for the job.

    However, this does raise a larger point. My problem with Tasers lies exactly in their mostly nonlethality. It was obvious to anyone who's paid attention to history that they were going to be abused simply because they won't kill most of the time.

    And look what's happened. When they were introduced to police departments around here, we were constantly assured that Tasers would only be used in situations where a gun would otherwise have been used. That type of usage is, I think, wholly uncontroversial and makes it an easy sell.

    Nowadays, however, Tasers are not used that way. They are, instead, used to torture people into compliance even when they aren't an immediate threat. Many use of force policies even approve of this.

    In my opinion there is rampant abuse of Tasers, both sanctioned and not, and this abuse is at the level where it would be the largest benefit to the public at large to either forbid their use, or treat their use as no different than using a gun.

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