Monday, July 19, 2010

Boy and Their Toys-Part 11

An independent Ohio agency, the Ohio Legal Rights Service, has said enough is enough and is suing the Franklin County Sheriff over the use and abuse of  TASERS.  According to the complaint filed on behalf of three Ohio inmates the Boys armed with this technology just can't resist using the stun guns even when there is no resistance, even with the target inmate in restraints. 

Is this the beginning of sanity?

Here's the Cincinnati Inquirer article by Joanne Viviano:

Corrections officers at a central Ohio jail regularly use pain-inducing stun guns to subdue inmates when there's no physical threat and when inmates are restrained, outnumbered, disoriented or mentally disabled, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court. The suit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court by the Ohio Legal Rights Service on behalf of three inmates, says the alleged actions at the Franklin County jail in Columbus violate constitutional rights as well as jail policy.

It seeks class action status to include current inmates as well as those who become jailed while the suit is pending.  The Legal Rights Service, an independent state agency, says video and written reports show that guards have improperly used stun guns several times since at least January 2008 'to inflict pain, fear, corporal punishment and humiliation' when inmates wouldn't obey commands or used profanity or insults.

'Deputies regularly use tasers in situations where the person does not remotely present a threat of violent behavior ...And routinely and deliberately use tasers as first strike weapons without employing or even considering less painful or harmful control tactics,' the lawsuit says.

The suit says deputies often exaggerate circumstances that led to use of stun guns and are not trained in the proper use of the devices.

[The Complaint] says that internal sheriff's office reviews deemed all but a handful of the cases justified. [the Complaint] seeks compensatory and punitive damages, an order that the jail stop improper use of stun guns and the appointment of an independent monitor to oversee reports on use of the devices and recommend discipline and training as warranted."
When you give these boys toys, you just know they're going to find a reason to use them.   I worked two summers in federal correctional institutions, these men and women are working in dangerous and scary situations, I can not--however, envision a situation where their overall safety is increased by the level at which they rock these weapons. 


  1. Praise be, someone is finally noticing that the toys we gave the cops are being abused.

    Remember when tasers first came in, they were supposed to REDUCE harm by being the "instead of a gun" device? In other words, they were supposed to be used where the cop would otherwise have drawn and used lethal force, meaning that the situations were supposed to be where the cop's own life or that of someone else was in danger.

    I hope everyone who uses a taser like a toy spends eternity having pepper spray put in their eyes (like the poor kids who were in a sit-in protest).

  2. Walker--
    Thank you for your comment. This is one of the many crusades, having been pepper-sprayed I don't recommend it. We do have a tendency in our misguided attempts at being non-lethal to really degrade civility with quick-draw toys meant to harm but not kill.