Many police officers in the United States seem to think Tasers are a non-lethal weapon system that can be deployed whenever the desire to teach a suspect a lesson about respecting authoritah is desired. In North Carolina a police officer decided it would be a jolly good time to Taser a person riding down the street on his bike when he didn’t stop upon the officer’s command. That man is now dead and the officer is on paid leave and, as is common for these of cases, will likely be allowed to return to work once this entire mess blows over:
Scotland Neck Police Chief Joe Williams said they received a call Monday night about a man who fell off of his bicycle and injured himself in the parking lot of the BB&T bank, 1001 Main St. The caller was concerned that the man was drunk.
When Officer John Turner arrived, he saw Roger Anthony pedaling away along 10th Street. He followed Anthony in his patrol car, briefly put on his sirens and lights and yelled out of the window for him to stop, but Anthony continued to ride away, police said.
Williams said Turner then saw Anthony take something out his pocket and put it into his mouth. At that time, Turner got out of the car and yelled for Anthony to stop. When Anthony didn’t stop, the officer used a stun gun on him, causing him to fall off of his bike.
I forgot to mention the most important detail of this case, the man was hard of hearing:
Freeman said her brother was disabled, suffered from seizures and had trouble hearing. She said he was riding his bike home from her house on Sunday night. Anthony lived alone in an independent living community.
The reason the man didn’t stop upon command is probably due to the fact he didn’t hear the command. I believe Tasers should be treated the same as firearms (with the acknowledgement that they’re less effective) and thus only be deployed in self-defense situations. When a person is riding his bike and refusing to stop because some asshole with a badge demands it there is no need for the deployment of weapons.
Instead of being intelligent about the situation and attempting non-lethal intervention the officer instantly went for a weapon and initiated an attack. The man is dead because, through hearsay, the officer suspected the biker may have been drunk while riding a bicycle. Police officers should be taught that Tasers are lethal weapons and thus should only be deployed in response to violant acts because the consequences of using one is often deadly.