Sunday, April 14, 2013

Rehoboth Beach Police violate national Taser use guidelines--Where are Beau Biden, Pete Schwarzkopf?


The WNJ finally picks up this story online (but not in print yet) and tells you, essentially, that pretty much everything the police did was justified based on what went on BEFORE the video.  This is accompanied by a narration of the video that is--quite frankly--not what I saw when I looked at it.  [Watch and read and make your own decision.]

But my favorite part is that the officers in question are not even being suspended or at least re-assigned to desk duty during an investigation of possible police brutality:
The officers remain on active duty, [RB Police Chief Keith] Banks said.
Now back to the original post ...

You saw the video yesterday of three RB Police officers repeatedly tasing a compliant suspect and even kicking him in the head.

Today we discover that Rehoboth Beach Police Chief Keith Banks wants to bury the case with an internal investigation.

According to WGMD News:
Rehoboth Police Chief Keith Banks tells WGMD he has seen the video [of potential police brutality by three of his officers]….. 
Banks says the man has not filed a formal complaint against the police department, however he is following up on that and Banks says the incident will be investigated fully.
There is no way that the Rehoboth Beach Police should be allowed to conduct an internal investigation of this event.  The casual nature of the violence depicted in the video and the disregard of the officers for nationally accepted guidelines for Taser (ECW) use [I have printed the "use" guidelines in their entirety, with boldface for the potential violations committed by the officers]:

Using the ECW
21. Personnel should use an ECW for one standard cycle (five seconds) and then evaluate the situation to determine if subsequent cycles are necessary. Personnel should consider that exposure to the ECW for longer than 15 seconds (whether due to multiple applications or continuous cycling) may increase the risk of death or serious injury. Any subsequent applications should be independently justifiable, and the risks should be weighed against other force options.
22. A warning should be given to a subject prior to activating the ECW unless doing so would place any person at risk. Warnings may be in the form of verbalization, display, laser painting, arcing, or a combination of these tactics.
23. When feasible, an announcement should be made to other personnel on the scene that an ECW is going to be activated.
24. Personnel should not intentionally activate more than one ECW at a time against a subject.
[Comment: There will be occasional high-threat levels where this needs to be done. If the next logical option is to shoot the person, for example, I would argue that if the dynamics of the situation permit, officers might shoot more than one ECW at the subject. See Guideline #1 regarding totality of circumstances.]
25. ECWs should be used only against subjects who are exhibiting active aggression or who are actively resisting in a manner that, in the officer’s judgment, is likely to result in injuries to themselves or others. ECWs should not be used against a passive subject.
26. Fleeing should not be the sole justification for using an ECW against a subject. Personnel should consider the severity of the offense, the subject’s threat level to others, and the risk of serious injury to the subject before deciding to use an ECW on a fleeing subject.
27. ECWs should not generally be used against pregnant women, elderly persons, young children, and visibly frail persons. Personnel should evaluate whether the use of the ECW is reasonable, based upon all circumstances, including the subject’s age and physical condition. In some cases, other control techniques may be more appropriate as determined by the subject’s threat level to others.
28. Personnel should not intentionally target sensitive areas (e.g., head, neck, genitalia).
29. ECWs should not be used on handcuffed subjects unless doing so is necessary to prevent them from causing serious bodily harm to themselves or others and if lesser attempts of control have been ineffective.
30. ECWs should not be used against subjects in physical control of a vehicle in motion (e.g., automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, ATVs, bicycles, scooters).
31. ECWs should not be used when a subject is in an elevated position where a fall may cause substantial injury or death.
32. ECWs should not be used in the known presence of combustible vapors and liquids or other flammable substances including alcohol-based Oleoresin Capsicum (O.C.) spray carriers. Agencies utilizing both ECWs and O.C. spray should use a non-combustible (e.g., water-based) spray.
33. ECWs can be effective against aggressive animals. Policies should indicate whether use against animals is permitted.
Where is Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden?

Where is (retired Delaware State Trooper) 14th District Representative Pete Schwarzkopf?

Nor is it acceptable to hear the old "we have to let the RB investigation take its course line" that we can expect to be trotted out real soon.  The fact is that such casual disregard for national police standards and such "business as usual" brutality only comes from a culture engendered by the top leadership of a police force.

Remember all the times in other cases where you hear that "the seriousness of the charge demands an independent investigation"?

That would seem to apply here.


Collins Batchelor said...

Investigating an accusation or suspicion of a crime being committed by police officers should never depend upon the victim filing a complaint. The police must hold themselves to a higher standard.

Stephen Hedrick said...

This is crazy. I can't believe a police officer can kick someone in the head on video and not be suspended? This guy had a restraining order placed against him in 2009 and had to relinquish his weapons to the department, he was considered a danger. Now he's back with a badge and a gun, kicking and tazing people with reckless disregard. Shame on you Rehoboth, keep this monster away from my kids and family.

delacrat said...

These guidelines are more reason to prohibit tazers because no one could reasonably be expected to remember all of these guidelines when the situation arises.

Anonymous said...

Those two were idiots...let me take him home..I am pregnant..f this f that,,,they both thought they were above the law..and he was drunk or hi,,with his 8 month old pregnant...and still it doesn't excuse the cop..he looked like he was getting off on tazing and kicking the guy in the head...they had a perfectly good white trash bust, and because the cops didnt act like they are supposed will probably cost the city a bundle and those two losers will hit the lottery

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous who wrote the comment at 4:56 PM. It should happen to you. Nothing excuses the behavior of the police. You're right in that he was getting off on kicking and tazing. Reading the way you write I wonder who the trash is? Certainly it will cost the city a bundle.

Will said...

Latest I've heard is that it is being investigated by the Dover PD. That's SOOO much better than an internal investigation...


Anonymous said...

I happen to be the victims wife and no he wasn't drunk and there is nothing right about the assault and battery on my husband that day
It should cost Delaware a bundle allowing Robert T Whitman back on the force after having a PFA against him n being suspended by Cheif banks in 2009. The whole Rehoboth PD should be relieved of there duties. We as citizens have rights and just because my husband enforced his and it infuriated the cops so much they just attacked him
On the video he ask AFTER being tased What am i being arrested for??

Anonymous said...

This is the same cop that shot through the seat of a 19 year old and then calimed he was shooting because the car was comming at him. The evidence which was ignored by teh police and attorney general was the officer shot out a back window and the bullett hit the drivers car seat from behind. That was covered up in 2007 aand Officer Whitman apparently has run amok since,