Sunday, February 15, 2009

What's Going On?

Another post-tasing death has apparently happened in Louisiana. It looks like this happened early on Friday morning.

First, why is it that I'm reading this incident about days after it happened (ht TNT)?

Second, what is this about:
Iberia Parish Coroner James Falterman said the cause and manner of death have not been determined. He declined to say whether he suspected foul play. The Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office and Abbeville Police Department both refused to release booking photos of Jones, and family members said they have not been allowed to see his body.

In Abbeville, much of Jones’ family gathered Saturday afternoon to discuss their next course of action and mourn the loss of a family member they said “was perfectly healthy.” According to nearly a dozen family members and friends, police shot Jones with a Taser gun at least twice during a struggle. Jones’ mother, Wilda, said she witnessed the use of Tasers.

“When they left here with him, he was alive,” she said. “We want to know what happened. This is not a game.”

Although Coleman would not say whether Tasers were used, he confirmed each of his officers carries one. Coleman said Jones appeared to be intoxicated when police responded to a disturbance at Wilda Jones’ residence at 4 a.m. Friday. He said Jones was subdued because he resisted arrest and bit an officer.

But Jones’ family alleged that police “punched him in the chest” and pointed to a couch in the living room they said absorbed his blood. They declined to describe the events leading up to the arrest.
Seriously, how is it that a police department has the power to do something like keeping a family from seeing a deceased relative, and why do police (public servants) get to hold their information so tightly to the chest? Transparency and citizen oversight is the only remedy for police brutality. Why wouldn't the police want transparency? Why wouldn't they want to make sure that everyone knows they're the good guys?