Time to Take the Tasers Away

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During a forced entry raid in California in February 2008, police Tasered a man for “cursing” and “threatening” the officers with a flyswatter. The aggressive entry was unnecessary, since the suspect being sought was already in police custody. Yet the man who was treated to electro-shock torture was charged with “obstruction” nonetheless.

Apparently, a flyswatter can be considered a potentially lethal weapon when it is raised in defiance of one of the state’s armed enforcers.

Fast-forward almost exactly a year, and relocate the action to a Waffle House in Loganville, Georgia. For reasons yet to be explained, Gwinnett County Police Officer Gary Miles, Jr. pulls his Taser and treats employee Dan Wilson, a young man whom Miles had taunted and intimidated in the past, to a “drive stun.”

While this unprovoked assault with a legitimately deadly weapon is underway, two long-time veteran officers — Sergeants Christopher T. Parry and Joey T. Parkinson — decline to intervene in any way.The only appropriate action would have been to arrest Miles for his felonious and life-threatening assault, but this would have violated the canons of tribal loyalty.

Nearly six months later, Miles was forced to resign and only then, as a “former” police officer and thus a mundane, was he arrested and charged with battery and “violating his oath as a police officer.” Welcome as this prospective prosecution would be, it is inadequate, since, once again, Miles’s action (which was captured by surveillance cameras) was a felonious assault with a deadly weapon.

Parry and Parkerson also resigned — their “conscience,” like that of the department, having been pricked sometime after the surveillance video became available –  and cited with “department violations.” Had they been civilians who played similar roles in an assault on a police officer, Parry and Parkerson would almost certainly be in jail awaiting trial on felony charges of some kind.

(Thanks to Steve Seech for the tip.)

2:36 pm on June 22, 2009