Saturday, November 15, 2008

Actual Taser Uses

Again, they aren't being used as alternatives to firearms:

At 7 a.m., Kenefic noticed that McAllister was sleeping on the ground again, according to the internal affairs report.

That's when Kenefic decided to try something different.

He mentioned to a deputy nearby that he bet he could wake up the inmate with the sound of the stun gun cycling through.

Another deputy remembers Kenefic saying, "Watch this."

Kenefic, a three-year veteran of the agency, took out his Taser, removed the prongs, and walked across the floor to where McAllister was sleeping.

He bent down and let the Taser crackle for a few seconds.

Amazingly, it did not wake up the inmate.

Other detention deputies came over to find out what was going on. McAllister eventually did wake up; he was evaluated and found uninjured.

When Kenefic was confronted by internal affairs investigators, Kenefic said the inmate had been verbally abusive toward him the night before and that he never intended to harm the inmate.

It turns out, however, that you're not supposed to use the Taser willy-nilly.

The internal affairs investigators consulted Cpl. Timothy Knight, one of the trainers at the jail.

"A show of force cannot happen unless they are very close to active physical resistance," Knight said.

They asked Knight whether the Taser can be used for the sole purpose of intimidation.

"Absolutely not," Knight said.

Those last sentences provide a rare glimpse into police department guidelines for taser use. At least now we know that jail deputies in Pinellas are not suppossed to be using tasers to intimidate.

This is not the first problem with taser abuse in Pinellas county FL. They have been caught tasing an already restrained suspect and shooting a 75-year-old man with three tasers, two times each (now that's brave police work!).