Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Which One Deserves to Be Behind Bars?

The blubbering mess who refused to sign a traffic ticket and would not get up and walk himself to the police car?

Or the thuggish hick of a police officer who repeatedly administers high-voltage electric shocks to said mess to force him to comply?

It is one thing to physically strong-arm someone, to subdue them using appropriate force.

But repeatedly electro-shocking a handcuffed person who is clearly overwrought, sitting/laying stationary on the ground and in no way exerting force or any immediate threat, is pretty much the work of a criminal, badge or no badge.

Unsurprisingly, a federal court (11th Circuit Court of Appeals) saw nothing wrong with this.

Thank God there was dissent (Judge Beverly B. Martin) :

“the Fourth Amendment forbids an officer from discharging repeated bursts of electricity into an already handcuffed misdemeanant—who is sitting still beside a rural road and unwilling to move—simply to goad him into standing up. I also conclude that at the time of the incident, Deputy Rackard was on fair notice that his conduct was unconstitutional. Not only did Deputy Rackard unnecessarily discharge his taser gun against Mr. Buckley three times, but each time he did so,he repeatedly prodded Mr. Buckley’s body with the stun gun’s live electrodes—inflicting additional pain and leaving Mr. Buckley with sixteen burn scars.”
Tazers and other electric shock devices should be outlawed for use in law enforcement. They are a form of torture to elicit compliance through pain. They are being abused. They have caused numerous deaths.

(h/t Jonathan Turley).

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