Taser Use Justified?

In this series of video clips from a police cruiser, we see a traffic stop that escalates into a police tasering and arrest.

The message board comments on that site, while not remarkable for their cogency, reflect quite a difference of opinion, with some posters sure that the videos display a jack-booted fascist thug, and others blaming the driver of the vehicle for not cooperating.

I contend that what we see is an appropriate use of non-lethal force. The driver was told several times to step out of the car, and refused. She was being arrested for driving on a suspended license. When an officer tried to take the phone away from her, she tried to hit him.

So I’m not seeing any jack-bootedness here at all.

Seems well within the accepted limits to me. Driver was commiting a crime, was aprehended, refused to co-operate, then assaulted an officer. She was subdued and arrested with a minimum of non-lethal force. Rather cut and dried.

Here’s another amusing taser video (warning: harsh language and all that). The thing that intrigues me is that in both videos when the office tells them to put their hands behind the back they say they can’t…and then they get tasered again! Can they physically not do it or are they just being defiant?

And why was she screaming bloody murder for so long?

I agree with the use of the taser in the original video.

I lean towards jack-bootedness myself. Tasers should not be used unless there is a direct and immediate threat to the officer or a bystander. These officers should be fired, and I hope they’re sued to within an inch of penury.

So what should the officer have done in that situation?


What should the officers have done? Asking, “Pretty-please, with sugar on top?” didn’t seem to be working.

Nope not justified. Tazers are dangerous and potentially lethal weapons. They ought to be used as a less than lethal way of protecting officers safety not as a tool to encourage compliance. Pepper spray or something along those lines is the appropiate tool to use in situations like these.

I am strongly opposed to jackbooting.

I don’t see it here.

Written her a ticket and let her go. There was no reason to make her get out of the car. Then again, I don’t think one should be obliged to follow any command from an officer unless it is necessary to prevent immediate harm, or there is a warrant for one’s arrest. Something like this, give the driver his ticket and move on. There’s no reason to do the whole detaining-and-searching song and dance.

She was driving on a suspended license. That was an arrestable offense. If he “wrote her a ticket and let her go” she’d be driving away on a suspended license.

You don’t see a problem with that solution?


How bout my objections?

It’s a tough call. She most likely wasn’t coming out of the call without a fight. What I would have liked to do in a perfect world; would have whomever she was talking on the phone with tell her to come out of the car.

I realize they told her several times, but it was a short amount of time. It seemed like she wasn’t getting it, either because of attitude or dismay. I would liked to see the cops back off for a minute, then try to reason with her again; she didn’t seem to be much of threat…I’m not real into hurting people in order to force them to comply unless it’s a matter of personal safety. I like to think, that most people can be reasoned with, even if they’re being difficult at first.

I’m not a big fan of COPS, but you often see them trying to reason with people before they drop the hammer on 'em, even after they first refused to comply. “Look, you REALLY have to come out of there…”

It seems to me that tasers, pepperspray etc, are being used more and more as a shortcut to developing “street smarts”, a gift that many “old-time” cops valued more than their weapons.

To expand on that a bit: I believe that if the government is going to insist on forcing drives to be licensed to do so, then the only criteria for having that license is that the driver is physically able to drive the car safely.

As it stands right now, licenses can be taken away for all sorts of things, and it’s not hard to get and keep one, such that having a license is no guarantee of being able to drive safely, and not having one is no indicator that one is unable to drive safely. As long as the driver can drive, they should be able to keep the license, and if they drive recklessly or negligently that can be taken care of by criminal and civil penalties.

OK, let me lay it out even more clearly:

She was driving on a suspended license.

The purpose of suspending a license is to prevent someone from driving. If the standard police procedure in the case of finding someone driving on a suspended license is to issue them a ticket and let them go, it’s unclear to me how you expect to enforce the suspension.

I don’t agree, but yours is not an unreasonable position to hold.

If they’re that worried about keeping her from driving, they can go lay out their case before a judge and get a warrant for her arrest.

Isn’t there a small chance that the suspect will have a bad reaction to the pepper spray and end up being unable to breathe? Every option carries its own risk.


So if a person has ten instances in the past ten weeks of driving recklessly, you believe they should keep their legal right to drive, and simply be punished for the reckless driving? You don’t believe there is any point at which society can legitimately say, “You are simply not permitted to drive any more?”

Weren’t they arresting her in the first place? Isn’t that what led to the tasering?