The Legal Kind of Torture

Written by Allison Kilkenny

I write a lot about tasers on this blog – usually from the victim’s perspective – but tasering is dangerous business all around, even for the police officers doing the electrocuting.

Three South Carolina Highway Patrol officers have been hurt in Taser training incidents this year.

One of the three is still not on the job and drawing workers’ compensation for injuries, said S.C. Department of Public Safety director Mark Keel.

Richland Sheriff Leon Lott chose to undergo tasering because he, wisely, wanted to see what he was asking his deputies to do. Unsurprisingly, the experience was not pleasant. In fact, it sounds torturous.

“It is the most pain I ever felt in my life, from my head to my toes and everything — and I mean everything — in between. I felt like my muscles were going to explode,” Lott said.

Tasers are frequently depicted as a “safe” tool for population control, but because society has been desensitized to the presence of these weapons, police have begun to use tasers with alarming regularity. As a result, we’re hearing more and more stories of people being killed and/or seriously injured. Pregnant women, the elderly, minors, the mentally ill, and people with heart problems have all been victims of overzealous tasering.

Even ostensibly healthy people are vulnerable to this kind of legal torture.

The man Minneapolis police used a Taser on and arrested at the downtown Minneapolis YMCA earlier this month died Friday night.

Police said they were trying to remove 28-year-old David Cornelius Smith when he became combative.

“For them to take his life in the prime of his life is wrong,” said Diane Smith, David Smith’s mother.

She said what happened to her son was mean, cruel and unnecessary.

David’s uncle believes his nephew was bipolar, but the rest of the family denies that, and says he was a perfectly healthy young man. Police are oftentimes in a difficult position because they don’t have full psychological profiles at their disposal. The cops had no idea if they were dealing with a sane person, or a man who had temporarily become disoriented. That’s why arming them with deadly weapons, which they’re told are actually the soft, tender, fluffy way to deal with folks, is so dangerous.

It’s easy to understand why the cops thought tasering a 28-year-old man in the prime of his life wouldn’t result in his death. Except, it did.
_______

About author

Allison Kilkenny is a radio host and political humorist, a fancy way of saying writer, who makes shitty world news funny. She is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, the Beast, 236.com, and Alternet.org’s Wiretap Magazine. Her work has also appeared on The Nation and she is a regular guest on SIRIUS radio.

She doesn’t care if you’re offended by anything she has written.

Further articles can be found at: www.allisonkilkenny.com

Allison’s radio show, Citizen Radio, can be found here: Citizen Radio fan page. Citizen Radio is on every Wednesday over at Breakthru Radio.