Monday, December 01, 2008

Good Luck With That

The UK is beginning a roll out of tasers for their police (related post and article here and here). They should dole them out judiciously, but they probably won't. So, look for more incidents like this one (see the video at the link), only with added taser goodness:
These shameful and inexcusable scenes show a war hero who served his country in Iraq and Afghanistan fearing for his life amid a violent and unprovoked assault by police.

Lance Corporal Mark Aspinall – highly praised by his commanding officer for bravery against the Taliban in Afghanistan – was set upon by three uniformed officers on his home town High Street.

The sickening attack – caught in forensic detail on CCTV – led a crown court judge to label it one of the worst examples of police aggression he had ever seen. Yet, in a travesty of justice, it was Mark who was at first convicted by magistrates of attacking the policemen.. despite the video footage clearly showing he was the victim. ...

“I remember thinking, ‘I’m going to die here. I can’t believe I’ve survived Afghanistan and Iraq and and now I’m going to die on this main road in my home town at the hands of the police’.

“Yet I was the one who ended up in the dock, not the officers.”

Mark was convicted by magistrates of two counts of police assault – and his ordeal only ended when Crown Court judge John Phipps watched the damning footage and quashed the verdict on appeal.

He said: “I am shocked and appalled at the level of police violence shown here”, adding that he had “great concerns” about the footage and effectively branding the policemen liars by saying: “I would go as far as to say the statements (by the officers) contain untruths.”

After reading that story and watching the video, I have to ask, "Do these cops need tasers? That's three bad apples out of three apples. What kinds of taser abuses are about to visit the UK?"

Here in North America we were told that tasers would replace guns. In the UK, folks are being told that kinder, gentler tasers will replace the batons and pepper spray. What we've seen here, and what the UK will undoubtedly see variations of, are tasers being used in situations where guns would never, ever be used (See the links to the right for examples that include tasing already restrained suspects, tasing running children, tasing the mentally ill, etc.).

What the UK will have behind many of their tasers will be the same things North Americans have behind ours: angry and aggressive young men with a new tool to punish anyone they think has defied them. That's the reality of taser use.

Seriously, good luck to minorities and people in poor neighborhoods in the UK. You'll need it.