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Tasered 10 year old

2009-11-20 18:45:25.437214+00 by Dan Lyke 5 comments

I've mostly started ignoring the couple of police abuse of power articles that I stumble across daily, but this one's beyond the pale: Ten year old girl is tasered by a policeman in Arkansas:

Police report calls it 'very, very brief' stun to get her into patrol car

Offers of candy, apparently, didn't work.

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comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-22 00:44:50.862078+00 by: Dan Lyke

Interesting. Thanks, JT.

I guess my issue with this is two-fold:

The first is more of a legal issue than a police one, and that's mostly that either this was a mental health situation or it's a criminal one. If it's the former, then we're doing it wrong, and if it's the latter, then... well... from the police report description we're still doing it wrong.

The second is the matter of police and tasers. Tasers have always been sold to me the civilian as "an alternative to deadly force", and I'm pretty sure that if the officer had not had the taser he wouldn't have shot the little girl from similar range. Thus the taser is, perhaps, another weapon in the law enforcement officer's arsenal, perhaps similar to the baton, but it shouldn't then be pitched to us as "an alternative to deadly force".

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-21 18:21:54.792861+00 by: JT [edit history]

If you call the police and ask to see an officer, an officer has to show up at your house. It doesn't even matter why, they are unable to refuse you the chance to speak to a policeman in person. Also, there's a use of force continuum that is set up by police departments. As an example, here's the rough outline of the last department I worked for....

  1. Presence
  2. Speaking
  3. Commands
  4. Oleoresin Capsicum (Pepper spray)
  5. Taser (stun gun)
  6. Hands on (touching suspect)
  7. Physical force (physically harming suspect including ASP or PR-24)
  8. Canine (dog)
  9. Deadly Force (Including "less than lethal" force such as rubber bullets or flash-bang grenades)
What this does is set up different levels of force that a policeman is allowed to use. It doesn't mean they have to go through every level, however it shows what they should be allowed to do before they use other levels of force. It makes the police officer accountable for what they do and why they use certain amount of force. For instance, if the policeman grabbed the little girl and put her in the police car and he was sued, the police department (and the plantiff's lawyer) would want to know. You used "Hands on" and injured the girl, did you "speak" to her? Did you "command" her to do something?" Did you attempt to use "pepper spray" on her which is shown to have less injuries than physical contact? Did you attempt to use your "taser" which is also shown to have less injuries than physical contact?

Each department will have their own continuum, each department will move things around such as "taser" or "pepper spray" or "less lethal force." This will depend on the department's orders from the city (or county) and their legal guidance. We were allowed to pepper spray people before we touched them. It made them controllable without putting them or the officer in danger. It also gave us the option of using a taser before putting ourselves in harm's way for the same reason. Other departments will put physical force before using either of those options, which is more "PR" friendly, but more dangerous for suspects and officers. I've never seen sex or age mentioned in a UOF Continuum, however depending on the department that may change as well... however giving different rules for age ranges, sex of officer, sex of suspects, condition of suspect (intoxicated) condition of officer (exhausted after foot pursuit) could make these things over-complicated and put the officer in danger considering too many factors in a split second where his primary concern is self-protection, protection of suspect, and protection of public.

Armchair quarterbacking always gives people weeks and months to think about what an officer had seconds to decide. Over-complicating these policies and procedures puts officers and suspects in way too much danger.

I'm also just here for information, not defending anyone's actions, not approving or disapproving of anything that happened. I'm just interjecting some knowledge of a particular policy and procedure that most people aren't familiar with.

Edit: Police report courtesy of tsg.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-21 16:12:50.597733+00 by: meuon

In a world where the parent goes to jail and parent training classes for using any physical means to enforce authority, your options as a parent are theoretically limited. Calling the police to chastise an unruly 10 year old erased any remaining vestiges of authority.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-20 19:06:51.600457+00 by: m

Even more interesting is that the police were called by the mother because the 10 year old girl refused to take a shower. Why did the police even respond to this call? Also surprising was that the name of the mother, and the name and a photo of the child were published on the net. I would have thought that the child would have had some protection against identification. There was no picture of the officer involved.

Our local police blotter sometimes contains notice of complaint calls about children refusing to obey their parents, or talking back to them. I have not been able to find out if the constabulary responded to the calls, but I surely hope not.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-11-20 19:03:56.60746+00 by: ebradway

Hopefully the "shelter" will protect her from her mother (who told the cop to use the taser) and the police. Sounds like she had good reason to be throwing a fit...