Tasered to Death
CNN reports on the indictment of former police officer, Scott Nugent, who tasered a man nine times while he was handcuffed. Baron “Scooter” Pikes, 21 years old, died of those wounds.
A coroner’s report found that Pikes was handcuffed and on the ground when first stunned with a Taser and might have been dead before the last two 50,000-volt shocks were delivered.
What is it with all the taser stories lately? (H/T digby at Hullabaloo) That’s just one example, especially grotesque because they’re talking about kids. But, if you google this subject, there’s more there than you can shake a taser at.
I’m often accused of being too soft on criminals, too compassionate, a charge which I usually dispute. But this case makes me think. The law enforcement person who excessively uses a taser gun on someone, becomes the criminal himself. Why don’t I have empathy for him? It usually happens as the culmination of a chase or otherwise stressful situation. Emotions are running high. These are the same types of mitigating circumstances I often use to excuse criminal behaviour.
The reason I have little compassion for this is because it represents abuse of power in its most heinous form. Everyone abuses power, teachers, office managers, parents. But when law enforcement people do it, it’s bad news. This case in New Orleans where Scooter Pikes lost his life, not unlike the famous Abner Louima travesty, is a sensational front-page story. But, it makes me wonder, what does it say about cops in general? And, what’s the answer: more psychological testing? That might be a good place to start.