Follow new rules or lose tasers, Alberta police forces told
And to be sure, police should not be trusted unsupervised with tasers:
1. Arrest in Albany racially motivated, Oakland couple says
A black couple says white Albany police officers Tasered and arrested them in front of their children without provocation, in what they consider a racially motivated attack.
Oakland residents Stephanie and Michael Williams say a police officer pulled over their car about 10:30 p.m. June 5, in Albany, after a graduation party at a Sizzler's restaurant on San Pablo Avenue. The officer later called for two others as backup.
According to Stephanie Williams, the first officer refused to tell her husband, who was driving the car, why he pulled him over; and the three officers spoke and behaved in an aggressive, demeaning manner toward the family; used a Taser on Michael Williams even though he was not resisting; and arrested the couple.
Stephanie Williams said she was threatened with a Taser and later arrested after she got out of the car to see what was happening. Police did not behave compassionately toward their three children — ages 10, 2 and 7 months — who were crying in the car, she said.
The couple spent about a day in jail, Stephanie Williams said. Charges against her were dismissed, but Michael Williams is still facing charges for resisting arrest.
BOULDER, Colo. — The local American Civil Liberties Union chapter is asking Boulder police to change their Taser stun-gun policy after witnesses saw “unnecessary and excessive use of force on a mentally impaired and unarmed man” last week. ...
Beckner promised to look into whether a violation occurred and whether a policy change is in order.
The incident occurred July 19 near the intersection of Dartmouth Avenue and Dover Drive in south Boulder. Five people — two adults and three children — called police about 4:40 p.m. to report that a man, later identified as Davis Ware, 26, of Boulder, was following and bothering them.
When police arrived, an officer asked Ware to sit down, but he refused, according to police.
“His posture remained tense and in a fighting stance with closed hands,” Boulder police spokeswoman Sarah Huntley told the Camera following the incident.
Ware eventually opened his hands but still wouldn’t sit down, Huntley said. The officer then fired Taser shots at Ware — two shots, because the first didn’t subdue him — according to Huntley.
Several witnesses who contacted the ACLU said that after hearing a shot and a groan, they saw Ware walking away from the officer, according to Golden’s letter. When the man continued to stumble forward, witnesses said, the officer shot him in the back with the Taser again, causing him to fall, Golden said.
Ware was arrested on suspicion of obstructing a peace officer, harassment and second-degree criminal trespass.
“This use of force was excessive and unnecessary,” Golden wrote. “It also appears to have violated the department’s overly permissive policies, in that the individual was not in a ‘defensive’ posture and was retreating when he was shot.”
According to a Boulder police publication printed in February, “Boulder officers are not permitted to pull out a Taser simply because a suspect is running away.” Department policy says Tasers can be used when someone offers “defensive resistance, other than flight, and the officer reasonably believes that use of a (Taser) is less likely to cause injury to either the officer or the individual than other means of gaining compliance.”
Golden said, from what he’s been told, the officer clearly violated department policy.
“This person was walking away — that’s what the eyewitnesses felt was the most egregious,” Golden said. “It was clear the person wasn’t going to go anywhere. He was stumbling.”
Following complaints from the ACLU, Denver police changed their policy in 2004 to allow Taser use only in cases of assault, imminent assault or serious violence, Golden said. He said Boulder should adopt that standard, too.
Chief Beckner said his department’s policy is based on “contemporary standards,” and he’ll look into whether those are changing.
“Our policies are fluid, and we’re reviewing them all the time,” he said.