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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » 16 year old with Broken Back gets Tasered

   
Author Topic: 16 year old with Broken Back gets Tasered
Alcon
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quote:
His aunt says he is undergoing major surgery for a broken back and broken heel. While he was lying on the ground, she wonders why Ozark police used an electric stun gun on him up to 19 times.
quote:
“He refused to comply with the officers and so the officers had to deploy their Tasers in order to subdue him. He is making incoherent statements; he's also making statements such as, ‘Shoot cops, kill cops,’ things like that. So there was cause for concern to the officers,” said Ozark Police Capt. Thomas Rousset.
Uh... yeah, he refused to comply... he had a broken back. Yeah he was muttering incoherently... he had a broken back. All I can say is... words... that shouldn't be typed here... [Wall Bash]

[[Edit: Linky Sorry was so frustrated that I forgot it on the first pass.]]

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ketchupqueen
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link?
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Stray
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Missouri Police Taser Injured Boy 19 Times
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Eaquae Legit
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Would you mind putting up a link?

Honestly, I can think of situations where tasering would be safer for a person with a broken back than physical restraint. But so much depends on individual factors, like the extent of his disability, the possibility of aggression, and genuine perceived threat. I would never, ever attempt physical restraint on someone with a broken back because of the possibility I'd kill them. Not being a cop, my response would be "run like hell," but they don't get that option.

I'm not saying what they did was right, but I'd like more information before I pass judgement.

Edit: I somehow missed the "19 times" bit. That is excessive, and I have trouble imagining why they would need to do it so freaking many times.

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scifibum
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Longer story here

It sounds like the kid was trying to run into traffic, and the officers were trying to subdue him. After making it from the bridge to the ground below and getting injured in the process, it seems likely the kid was trying to kill himself or was otherwise out of his mind.

I'd cautiously posit that there's no proof that the cops were completely irresponsible in their use of the taser, since he was getting up off the ground and trying to run into traffic.

However, I do think that tasers are often overused - it seems like it's the option of first resort sometimes when officers haven't even tried physical restraint. I've argued in the past that cops should be strong enough to restrain most ordinary people especially when the cops outnumber the restrainees.

Hopefully the police investigate this and make sure that their officers aren't being sadistic or reckless in the way they use their tasers, but the initial impression I got of police brutality for no reason seems to be wrong. There doesn't seem to be any indication they knew he had a broken back (he was trying to get up, after all). Excessive taser use, probably. Although 19 discharges doesn't mean they connected with him 19 times.

Quotes from the link I included above:

quote:
When police arrived, they found Mace Hutchinson "yelling incoherently and (he) began to stand up in a motion toward the lanes of traffic," the report said. After several attempts, the report said one officer used his taser to subdue Hutchinson to keep him from entering traffic on U.S. 65 Highway.

A second officer used his taser on the teenager after he continued to resist and attempt to get up and move toward the lanes of traffic.

Ozark Police Chief Lyle Hodges said one officer activated a taser 10 times and a second officer activated his taser nine times.

"We go by active resistance, not just a simple refusal to comply," Hodges said of his department's policy governing taser use. "That's why a taser was used in the first place-the taser wouldn't have been deployed if the officer didn't think the young man's life was in danger. And the incident all took place over a period of 96 seconds."


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ketchupqueen
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Well, one or two taser shots would probably have been appropriate; were 19?
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Alcon
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People are disputing the facts in the story you posted scifibum (in comments below). They do seem to contradict the facts listed in the other two.
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scifibum
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kq: Just depends on how many of those discharges resulted in the intended effect. If they were not causing the young dude to respond/submit, maybe they had reason (in the heat of the moment) to think that continued use of the taser would eventually work. I do think it was probably excessive, and that they probably had the ability to restrain him without resorting to the taser.
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scifibum
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Alcon: I know, but I think the edit of the story that is seen on other sites may be somewhat tuned to generate outrage. The fact that the version I posted includes a more sensible explanation from Hodges - via direct quotes which I doubt the news source made up - makes me trust it a bit more. It's not to say that I accept the claims of the officers at face value, but I think it's more believable than the idea they tased him for being belligerent.
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Eaquae Legit
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
I do think it was probably excessive, and that they probably had the ability to restrain him without resorting to the taser.

If his back was broken and they knew it or had reason to suspect it, they could not physically restrain him. Physical restraints do carry the possibility of injury, and they put huge stress on the person's back. Restraint would carry the very high probability of injuring him further, and permanently.
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Elmer's Glue
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Why is a person with a broken back going around needing to be restrained by cops?
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ClaudiaTherese
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Depends on what one means by a "broken back." (I don't know the details of this case. This is in general.) People tend to think of a "broken back" as having a clean break through, as with a severed spinal cord. However, even a hairline fracture counts as a "broken bone."

So, for example, someone can have a "broken neck" but still be able to get up, turn the head from side to side, etc. That is why people are kept strapped on backboards in ERs, sometimes for hours, until "neck films are cleared" (no neck fracture, i.e., not even a crack), and same for back. You can't just leave someone lying there with a potential neck or back fracture, even on a stable surface. By moving around, which is entirely possible with several kinds of fracture, things can be made much worse.

I fractured my forearm while moving some steel trunks and continued to drive and move more boxes. The tissue had swollen so tight around it that it was self-splinted. Hurt like the dickens, but there was no time to do otherwise (we were at OHare airport and moving out of country). I made it worse -- eventually it snapped more -- but it's okay now. However, it was a "broken bone" from the beginning, and I continued to use it.

For that sort of break, I would quibble neither with the terminology -- as it would qualify a broken back -- nor with the possibility that someone could still be moving around under his or her own power. Dangerously so, but yes, certainly possible.

And what Eaquae Legit said.

---

But again, I do not know the details of this case. I am speaking of possible and viable interpretations of the terminology.

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Although 19 discharges doesn't mean they connected with him 19 times.

This is worth re-noting. If he was moving around under his own power, and all 19 deployments occurred within about 1 and 1/2 minutes (96 seconds), then sure, that could mean he was only actually hit once or twice. Or still kept getting up despite the first 1 or 2 hits, which -- given the likelihood of a fracture from such a fall, even if he was still using his back [see above], would be extremely dangerous for him. The tasering might well have made the exacerbation of the damage less, compared to what he might have done on his own (and again, with hairline vertebral fractures and even greater, which still counts as a "broken neck" or "broken back," one can still sometimes get up and move, even walk around. For sure).

Possible. I don't know what really happened, but certainly possible.

I'm glad it is being duly investigated.

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Lalo
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quote:
Originally posted by Eaquae Legit:
quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
I do think it was probably excessive, and that they probably had the ability to restrain him without resorting to the taser.

If his back was broken and they knew it or had reason to suspect it, they could not physically restrain him. Physical restraints do carry the possibility of injury, and they put huge stress on the person's back. Restraint would carry the very high probability of injuring him further, and permanently.
Er... no.

Tasering creates muscle spasms and can cause heart failure, and more than a few people have died from their abuse. Tasering is meant to be a last-minute resort, in the same situations in which a cop would usually use a gun. What kind of scenario are you imagining where this kid is worse off by being handcuffed? For that matter, why exactly was he being tortured by cops rather than given medical attention?

They tased him nineteen times while he was lying still -- not because he was a threat, but because they took a great deal of pleasure in it. Not to disillusion you, but a huge number of cops join their profession because they like to exercise power over other people. These cops just got caught doing it.

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by Lalo:
They tased him nineteen times while he was lying still ...

Lalo, where do you get the information that he was "lying still?" I don't see it. (But I could be missing it.)

---

Edited to add: I'll reiterate that one can be walking around with a "broken back." Usually there is a lot of pain, but there can be no symptoms ("asymptomatic"). When there is pain, often walking and moving around makes it worse -- this is part of the checklist for determining how useful back Xrays may be, and for whether to fully immobilize someone for his or her own safety until films can be done.

More info on vertebral compression fractures from the NIH can be found at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000443.htm . VCFs are the most common form of fracture in the neck and back after trauma, but they also occur in several other settings, such as metastatic cancer or osteoporosis. People can walk around with compression fractures for a long time, even bad ones, but this is risky unless they have been determined medically to be stable and not require intervention.

[ August 01, 2008, 02:17 AM: Message edited by: ClaudiaTherese ]

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Lalo
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quote:
His aunt says he is undergoing major surgery for a broken back and broken heel. While he was lying on the ground, she wonders why Ozark police used an electric stun gun on him up to 19 times.

“I'm not an officer, but i don't see the reason for ‘Tasering’ somebody laying there with a broken back. I don't consider that a threat,”

His dad says the use of the stun gun delayed what would have been immediate surgery by two days.

“The ‘Tasering’ increased his white blood cell count and caused him to have a temperature so they could not go into the operation.”

“He refused to comply with the officers and so the officers had to deploy their Tasers in order to subdue him. He is making incoherent statements; he's also making statements such as, ‘Shoot cops, kill cops,’ things like that. So there was cause for concern to the officers,” said Ozark Police Capt. Thomas Rousset.

http://www.ky3.com/home/video/25829234.html

Their cover story is pathetic. Whether an accident or suicide, the kid obviously isn't interested in attacking anyone, much less police. And even if the crippled sixteen-year-old were muttering threats, he's obviously not a threat to them.

But then, I wouldn't expect these sadistic bastards to be intelligent enough to come up with a better story. They had NO reason to torture him but for the fun of it. I just wish they were an isolated example of American police.

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ClaudiaTherese
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Lalo, are you referring to the aunt's "somebody laying there with a broken back"?

You realize she wasn't there at the time, right?

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Lalo
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quote:
When police arrived, they found Mace Hutchinson "yelling incoherently and (he) began to stand up in a motion toward the lanes of traffic," the report said. After several attempts, the report said one officer used his taser to subdue Hutchinson to keep him from entering traffic on U.S. 65 Highway.

A second officer used his taser on the teenager after he continued to resist and attempt to get up and move toward the lanes of traffic.

Ozark Police Chief Lyle Hodges said one officer activated a taser 10 times and a second officer activated his taser nine times.

http://www.christiancountyheadliner.com/site/tab6.cfm?newsid=19876869&BRD=2841&PAG=461&dept_id=603534&rfi=6

quote:
A Branson teen was Tasered after Ozark police found him lying on the side of the highway, seriously injured from a major fall.

http://www.news-leader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080728/NEWS01/807280342/1007

quote:
When the police arrived, the young man was lying on the shoulder of the highway directly underneath the 30 foot high overpass with a broken back and foot.

http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Missouri_Police_taser_injured_boy_19_0726.html

Of course, this is all besides the point if you think it's acceptable to taser an injured sixteen year old who's standing up.
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Human
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Also important to remember is how a taser works. Unlike a gun, each activation isn't necessarily a separate shot. What happens, if I recall correctly is that two electrodes are shot out on the first activation--and after that, each pull of the trigger just sends another jolt. If that first one hit for both officers--then the kid got nineteen pulses of electricity. There'd be no "missing" about it.
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ClaudiaTherese
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Lalo, seriously -- the police "found him lying on the side of the highway" with "a broken back and foot" (see above regarding being able to use fractured limbs and/or vertebral column).

Then he "began to stand up in a motion toward the lanes of traffic" and "he continued to resist and attempt to get up and move toward the lanes of traffic."

That isn't "lying still."

quote:
Of course, this is all besides the point if you think it's acceptable to taser an injured sixteen year old who's standing up.
Who is incoherent, has a likely vertebral fracture after severe trauma, and who is moving towards highway-speed traffic? Hell, yeah.

As Eaquae noted, physical restraint is much more unsafe in the context of a likely fracture. She has had to subdue people, and she is trained to do so safely.

You might not like it that it is safer, and/or the facts as recounted above may not be a true representation of this case (who knows yet?), but, for an incoherent person who likely has vertebral fracture after severe trauma, and who is moving towards highway-speed traffic?

Acceptable?

Much moreso than the alternatives. At least, that is, if you are trying to prevent more severe injuries.

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ClaudiaTherese
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Mind you, I appreciate and share your skepticism and concern about the overuse of force by law enforcement. I share your concern for the young man. It is a bad situation all around. It needs to be thoroughly and transparently investigated to assure that what was done was indeed appropriate to the situation.

But as it stands, given the information we have, I do not see this as a clear-cut case of abuse. A case of appropriate handling is possible, as is a case of abuse. Neither is ruled out or proven, both remain possible (and all in between).

---

Edited to add: I think there is widespread misunderstanding of the extent of the meaning of "broken back" in medical vs. colloquial language, and I think this may be clouding the situation to a great extent. That is nobody's fault who is discusing this, by the way, and it is perfectly understandable.

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Lalo
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According to the officers, a kid with a broken back and a broken foot just happened to "[begin] to get up" when the officers arrived, and that movement warranted tasering him nineteen times -- rather than simply restraining the crippled teenager?

I'm not sure what you think constitutes physical restraint, but I've had soldier friends demonstrate it on me. It's quite easy to keep someone still and obedient without harming them. What are you picturing, exactly? Batons and arm-breaking?

I'm baffled as to why you're defending this. Tasering is not, in any way, gentler or safer than non-violent physical restraint -- especially if the subject has injuries that can be exacerbated by muscle spasms. And even if it were, tasering a crippled kid nineteen times is done purely for pleasure -- he would be down and incapacitated after one. This is one of the clearest-cut examples of police brutality available this week.

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ClaudiaTherese
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Lalo. With a possible vertebral fracture. Which is likely, given this fall. Holding him down while he is struggling. Is not appropriate. His continuing to exert force. And moving against restraint.

Will likely injure him further.

At his spinal cord. Which can paralyze him.

[Also a likely consequence of walking into highway traffic, BTW. If you are lucky.]

Ideally, he would not move.

If he is moving. It should not be against resistance.

Because the resistance. Is the dangerous part. [the "holding down. Safer not to be held down.]

Physics.

Force, vectors, tendons and ligaments and bones.

Again, you may not like that it is safer. And I appreciate that. But it is safer to spasm against no resistance than against resistance in this case.

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Lalo
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CT, even if all the kid had was a broken foot -- or no injury at all -- it wouldn't take this kind of torture to restrain him. Tasers are a last-resort weapon, used only in situations when an officer would use a gun. These officers had a little fun, which backfired on them only because a crippled kid is so blatantly unable to pose a threat to them. If he hadn't had a broken back, this would never have made it into the news and their cover story would never be questioned.

Abuse of police power is unfortunately common, and this just another case. But please don't try to excuse it.

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ClaudiaTherese
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Oh, for heaven's sake. Of course they could restrain him without using a taser. It's just that holding him down while he was struggling would put his spinal column at more risk than non-opposed muscle spasms.

Better to have him lie still, but you know, the incoherent thing. And the moving into traffic thing.

The not "lying still" thing.

Look, just don't get near anyone suffering from serious trauma, okay? Just back away. Stay out of the picture. Don't "help."

I don't care much about a thread debate, but in real life, just don't get involved. Please. I'm serious.

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Lalo
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Oh, lord. CT, there are ways to restrain a kid WITHOUT sitting on his back. Twisting a finger or a wrist works great. Pulling his arm behind his back can also cause disabling pain in non-critical areas. Once you're in one of these positions, it causes a great deal of pain to move, and you don't buck wildly or struggle. I'll ask again, what exactly do you think restraining him would constitute?

Taser-caused muscle spasms would wreak far greater hell on his back, and even if it were justified -- they did it nineteen times. Doing it once would have been enough to disable him.

I appreciate that you're trying hard to excuse police officers -- there's a lot of good ones, and they shouldn't all be tarnished by abusive scum like these. But if this case doesn't outrage you, what does?

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Lalo
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CT, do you know any police officers? Or soldiers? As a medical professional, you could benefit greatly by talking to them and asking if they know any non-violent methods of disabling a struggling person. I'm 6'3", 210 pounds, and I've been absolutely disabled by a much smaller man who learned a few tricks as a master-at-arms.

Talk to someone experienced in physical restraint before you insist the only way to restrain a crippled kid is to hold him down. You really don't seem to know what you're talking about, and you're being very insulting about it.

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by Lalo:
But if this case doesn't outrage you, what does?

Someone putting other people at unecessary risk, or advocating that others do so, without understanding the implications of what he is saying.

quote:
Pulling his arm behind his back can also cause disabling pain in non-critical areas.
Jesus! With a suspected vertebral fracture, don't do that. Don't torque someone's spine!

Don't grab a wrist or finger while someone is pulling back with a possible vertebral fracture, either. Just don't.

I can't tell if this is just a thread thing, or if you really do not understand what I am saying. I'm frustrated and irritated, and that is making me snarky. I'm sorry for that.

I do worry about misinformation, but I've done the best I can with that part. I really don't have much else to say, other than to reiterate that I do not agree with you at all, insofar as recommendations for how to handle a possible fracture of this sort, and insofar as you are making claims of clear-cut abuse here. As regards general concerns about the context, we do agree.

Regardless, again, I am glad it is being investigated, and I hope the young lad comes out okay.

But I guess that's the point at which I spread my hands, shrug, and agree to (profoundly) disagree on the particulars.

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by Lalo:
CT, do you know any police officers? Or soldiers? As a medical professional, you could benefit greatly by talking to them and asking if they know any non-violent methods of disabling a struggling person. I'm 6'3", 210 pounds, and I've been absolutely disabled by a much smaller man who learned a few tricks as a master-at-arms.

Talk to someone experienced in physical restraint before you insist the only way to restrain a crippled kid is to hold him down. You really don't seem to know what you're talking about, and you're being very insulting about it.

You are suggesting one should wrap his arm behind his back? With a freakin' suspected spinal fracture? Dude ....

Enough. G'night.

*sigh*

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Lalo
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The arm hold is used, as far as I understand, in cases where the subject is violent and pushed against a wall. A moaning cripple on the ground shouldn't need any restraint at all, and if he did a simple twist finger or wrist should be more than enough to end any struggling. And these are just the holds I know -- my friends have demonstrated many more that stopped me in my tracks.

I realize you're not going to answer, but to reiterate the question -- what exactly do you think constitutes physical restraint? Since you believe a taser is preferable, why would more than one jolt be necessary? At what point do you become suspicious of the officers' story?

This entire debate has been, as far as I can tell, a series of reissued statements that tasering a crippled kid nineteen times is an acceptable alternative to simply stopping him. Since you have no interest in actually reconsidering your opinion, I'll stop pressing the point. I hope you do, at some point, actually talk to a professional about this.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Doing it once would have been enough to disable him.
this statement may or may *not* be true. It is a guess!
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AvidReader
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quote:
This entire debate has been, as far as I can tell, a series of reissued statements that tasering a crippled kid nineteen times is an acceptable alternative to simply stopping him.
If I remember correctly, the taser is generally set to a five second burst since that's usually all it takes to convince someone that they don't want that to happen again. If the taser were set to 5 second bursts, 19 times would be 95 seconds. If the officers fired their tasers at the same time, some of that could overlap, probably depending on the reflexes of the people involved.

As for this:
quote:
Tasering is meant to be a last-minute resort, in the same situations in which a cop would usually use a gun.
This is incorrect. The taser is meant to replace the nightstick. Because there's no way to beat a guy with a stick and have it look like anything but abuse on film.

Personally, I'm not even sure from reading the story if the officers knew the kid was injured let alone with a broken back. They probably thought they were dealing with a drugged up nutjob and were as surprised as anyone to see the tox screen come back clean. I can't wait for the follow ups where we find out what actually happened. I'm leaning towards previously unknown mental illness at the moment.

Not that I'm not saying the mentally ill should be tasered for fun. I'm saying the kid's behavior makes no sense and the police may or may not have acted as they thought was in the community's best interest in response. (I don't always trust them due to some childhood trauma, but I understand the response matrix well enough now to get a general feel for how encounters ought to go down.)

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Eaquae Legit
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quote:
Originally posted by Lalo:
CT, do you know any police officers? Or soldiers? As a medical professional, you could benefit greatly by talking to them and asking if they know any non-violent methods of disabling a struggling person. I'm 6'3", 210 pounds, and I've been absolutely disabled by a much smaller man who learned a few tricks as a master-at-arms.

Talk to someone experienced in physical restraint before you insist the only way to restrain a crippled kid is to hold him down. You really don't seem to know what you're talking about, and you're being very insulting about it.

Yo. *waves* That's me. Been there, done that. Posted the metaphorical t-shirt.

Never under any circumstances would I attempt to physically restrain someone with a suspected "broken back" unless there was absolutely no other choice and the only alternative was their immediate and messy death. And then I would get me a lawyer real fast, because I'd probably be sued for paralysing them. I did this for 6 years, though fortunately I never had an incident for the first three of them. I'm also a lifeguard, so Spinal Injuries = Be Bloody Careful has been drilled into me. CT works in a hospital, and they get their own fair share of injured and non-compliant patients, so it's not impossible that she's had to deal with similar situations.

It is easy enough to subdue someone who is rational and understands what you are doing and figures it's easier to comply. When you have a non-rational struggling person in your hands, you will put major stress on their back. Standing or on the ground. If he were a small child (under the age of 8 or 10 or so), it might be possible to restrain him with minimal stress to the back - might. If he's adult-sized or even approaching it, it will involve his back. Where I worked, we had people who for medical reasons has serious restrictions placed on their physical restraint - and if the threat continued, we were to call the police to come and deal with it. (This never happened while I worked there, luckily.) This was official policy at a large government institution with a huge amount of oversight, put in place by a team of doctors, nurses, and non-violent restraint specialists. I'm not sure what you think the police would do in terms of restraints that we couldn't do - especially because we'd have to stop them if they went for one of the standard holds.

At least some of the news articles suggest that this individual was mobile and a danger to himself or others. 19 times is a lot, but as others have pointed out, it doesn't necessarily mean he received 19 shocks. Tasering isn't happy or consequence-free, but sometimes it can be the best option in a host of crummy ones.

I am not saying the police were in the right in this situation. Like CT, I am glad the incident is being investigated thoroughly. Whether they were right or wrong, transparency is key, and we just don't know enough, based on a handful of news articles. Another of my personal experiences is knowing first-hand how the news media love to twist stories into "those evil authority figures abusing poor innocent disabled people." Abuse happens, it's true, and you won't find anyone more angered and outraged by it - but I know for a fact that perfectly innocent carers can be painted black by the media, too. It makes me hesitant to judge individual people based on media reports with sketchy details.

Addendum:

quote:
The arm hold is used, as far as I understand, in cases where the subject is violent and pushed against a wall. A moaning cripple on the ground shouldn't need any restraint at all, and if he did a simple twist finger or wrist should be more than enough to end any struggling. And these are just the holds I know -- my friends have demonstrated many more that stopped me in my tracks.
Those are considered "violent restraints." They were absolutely forbidden to us and grounds for firing unless we could prove that it was a panic response. They carry a risk of injury that has been judged higher than a properly-implemented floor restraint. You suggest talking to people trained in restraints - I suggest you talk to someone who is trained in restraints in a professional capacity where they are liable for any injuries.

[ August 01, 2008, 07:30 AM: Message edited by: Eaquae Legit ]

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Dagonee
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Here's what the witness accounts say:

1) A 911 caller reported the boy as being drunk or high.

2) A different 911 caller reported him lying on the shoulder of the highway below.

3) The boy tried to stand up and enter traffic on that highway.

4) The police attempted to subdue him without tasers. We don't know what those attempts amounted to.

5) Over the next 96 seconds, two officers used their tasers 19 times, not for failing to get up but for active resistance.

Those witness reports might or might not be correct. Certainly an investigation is warranted. It's possible that the proper response to that investigation could be outrage. But there's not enough here - "expert" testimony notwithstanding - to determine that the police acted in a manner worthy of outrage.

Had the kid run into traffic, we might be reading about how police chased the kid to his death. If they engaged in ground struggle, they all might have rolled into traffic.

These are the possibilities to weigh against the use of the taser - the possibilities the officers had to consider in just a second or two as the kid reportedly moved toward a highway.

Alcon, I note that you were similarly outraged based on a mischaracterization of the outcome of a court case in Texas yesterday. There's been a long explanation posted about the actual contents of the decision.

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Alcon
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quote:
Alcon, I note that you were similarly outraged based on a mischaracterization of the outcome of a court case in Texas yesterday. There's been a long explanation posted about the actual contents of the decision.
Yeah, I saw that Dag. I'm less outraged now, still not happy with it. But I appreciate the explanation.

In this case I'm still slightly stuck on the 19 shocks. It seems excessive. They'd have had to pull the trigger for each of those shots, and if they happened over 96 seconds -- each shock lasting 5 seconds -- then it sounds to me like they barely gave the kid time to stop spasming from a previous shock before applying the next one.

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Mucus
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I wonder, in movies and films, tranquilizer darts seem to be insanely effective at almost instantly dropping anything from people to vampires.

Yet in real life, it seems like tasers are preferred. What is the real life reason for this, are tranquilizer guns just too unwieldy and tranquilizers too slow at sedating people?

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Kwea
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Tranqs are even more dangerous to most people, and are less effective most of the time.
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scifibum
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Mucus: Tranquilizers are unpredictable, in my extremely limited experience.

My dad bought a couple of wild mustangs from the state bureau of land management. The filly was eventually pretty tame but the mare was never really domesticated. One day she got spooked and broke out of her pasture into a neighboring open field. We couldn't catch her with ropes, and she wasn't interested in food since she could eat the vegetation in the field. So, we finally called animal control.

They had a tranquilizer gun. One, maybe two hits with the darts should have been enough to bring down any horse.

This mare (a scrawny mustang, about 2/3 the weight of your average riding horse, actually) took 9 darts. And she never laid down or stopped struggling, just got slow enough that we finally caught her. (It was actually a very sad and traumatic experience to watch this happening, not to mention for the horse. Sadly we had no choice but to catch the horse, we were within city limits and there were surrounding properties with little children. But that horse's struggle was majestic, in a way.)

So, if humans are like mustangs, you might not know how much tranquilizer you need to bring them down. I'm sure other drugs in their system could be a factor (one unknown to the police, most likely). Add in the risk of puncturing a major blood vessel or vital organ with the dart, possible reactions to the drug, etc. and I don't think there are many cases in which police are going to feel like using tranquilizer darts is the best way to restrain a person.

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scifibum
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Lalo, I think you need to re-read this thread and consider what CT was saying. Keep in mind the kid was struggling and evidently ambulatory and suicidal despite his injuries (logical inference: the kind of pain a twisted finger would induce wouldn't make the slightest difference), and think again about why an arm hold or wrist hold works (you think such a thing can be done in isolation from the rest of the body? Again remember: pain wouldn't be enough to keep the kid on the ground if a broken foot and broken vertebrae weren't).

You can be mad at the police, but there was no reason to display such rudeness to CT who was just injecting a little medical reality into the discussion.

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ClaudiaTherese
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I displayed at least equivalent rudeness to Lalo. Again, my apologies for that. It wasn't warranted or necessary.
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Belle
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Just to make one thing clear - the police do not remove the probes once they taser someone. After the person is subdued, the tasser probes are removed by emergency personnel or at the hospital.

I know, because my husband is one of those emergency personnel who is called to the scene of every tasering by police in his territory.

It's also not uncommon for people to be hit again by the taser once the probes are in. The cops can send current through them without having to strike the subject again. Now, consider that some strikes may not have good contact - the probes may not be firmly anchored in the skin. In a case like that, the subject may not feel the current very much and so multiple jolts may be necessary.

The police are trained to keep administering shocks until they achieve the desired result - a subdued subject. If he was continuing to get up and continuing to struggle and continuing to be a danger to himself - then they may well have been perfectly within protocol to keep jolting him.

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BannaOj
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My brother, a lifeguard and an EMT himself, fractured a vertebrae in a surfing accident, had to have his surfing buddy (also a lifeguard) tow him into shore. He laid on the beach for a while, then pedalled himself home on his bicycle, went to class and *then* decided to go to the ER. As I recall they put him on muscle relaxants, and mostly bedrest (although he could still walk to the bathroom and such himself) and physical therapy, but after they decided he narrowly avoided surgery, they didn't do any physical splinting at all. He's got an interesting lump on his spine where the fracture healed that you can see when he bends over.

If someone had tried to physically restrain him and haul him off to the ER before he decided he needed to go, I *know* he would have been capable of offering significant resistance, "broken back" or no.

He also (in a way which is both good and bad) knows exactly what his rights are in an accident situation, and has refused treatment from an ambulance, after he (a pedestrian) got punted by a car across an intersection. If he is in his right mind, I know he wouldn't offer resistance to law enforcement trying to help. But if he had suffered any sort of altered brain function, I know he is capable of resisting in a similar situation to what this teen was in. Would I want my own brother tazered in that situation? Heck yeah.

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Eaquae Legit
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He is now out of hospital. I'm glad he is healing, and I'm glad the damage wasn't worse. I wish this story would get picked up by one of the major outlets so we could have a bit more thorough coverage.
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