February 2012 Archives

Cops and Shootings and Tasers, Oh My!

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Remember the Wizard of Oz and the saying, "lions and tigers and bears, oh my!" The implication was that the three were very scary. Equally scary are cops, shootings and tasers. Tasers are considered to be the "less than lethal alternative" to what... guns? The reason I ask that question is because I have been hearing about countless situations, where tasers are used, that would not have warranted lethal force. From drunk fans running onto playing fields to individuals resisting arrest, the taser has become the method of choice for law enforcement when faced with a less than cooperative suspect. Twenty-four police agencies in Maryland are using tasers and, as of 2009, they have been used over 1,400 times. Ten deaths have resulted from the use of tasers. Recently, I had a client, a 5-3, 100 lbs, eighteen year old girl, tell me that Prince George's County Police Officers barged into her house and entered her bedroom because of a reported 911 call from her residence. One of the officers threatened her with a taser as she hid under her bed sheets. Prince George's County Police Officers are of course the same law enforcement officers that shot two Labrador Retrievers while conducting a raid at the wrong address.