Friday, December 12, 2008

Low Justice Friday

There will be no charges for the officers that tased Robert Dziekanski to death in Vancouver last year. In two parts, here is the man's death:

The powers that be decided there wasn't enough evidence to charge the officers.

There will also be no accountability for an officer that tased an already restrained suspect in South Carolina:
The State newspaper reported Thursday that Charles Green accused Hodges of using excessive force against him in January by shocking him seven times after a foot chase, including six times after he was handcuffed. Green told the newspaper he had crack cocaine on him at the time. He faces drug possession charges.

A police report says Hodges shocked Green five times - three times because Green wouldn't be handcuffed, and two more because he refused to spit out the crack cocaine in his mouth.
These are examples of how tasers actually get used. They aren't replacing guns. They're replacing the police having to talk with people that piss them off.

Note also that the drugs in that last example are a red herring. They do not justify abusive taser use. However, they might be emotionally useful if you're the type that gets an icky tummy over any critical examination of police (a.k.a taxpayer-financed public servants) behavior.

Finally, in a case that prevents today from being Zero Justice Friday, a Maryland family will be allowed to sue a county over the post-tasing death of their son:

A federal judge has reversed an earlier ruling and is allowing the family of a man who died after being shocked with a Taser to sue Frederick County and the county sheriff's office.

The decision was included Wednesday in a seven-page opinion issued by U.S. District Judge William Quarles. He had initially ruled in August that the family could sue sheriff's Cpl. Rudy Torres, but not the county or the sheriff's office. Ted Williams, the attorney representing the family, appealed that decision.

A grand jury ruled in May that Torres was justified in using his Taser twice to subdue 20-year-old Jarrel Gray in November 2007 after Gray did not obey commands to show his hands. Gray died hours later.

In May, the family filed the lawsuit seeking $145 million.