Donnell Williams had just gotten out of the bath tub, wearing only a towel around his waist, when he turned the corner to see guns pointing right at him.
“I ain’t never been so scared,” says Williams.
Police forced entry into Williams home while responding to a shooting, but it turned out to be a false call. They had no idea at the time the call wasn’t real and that Williams is hearing impaired. Without his hearing aid he is basically deaf.
“I kept going to my ear yelling that I was scared. I can’t hear! I can’t hear!”
Officers were worried about their own safety because at the time it appeared Williams was refusing to obey their commands to show his hands. That’s when they shot him with a Taser.
Police wish it never happened, but with the information they had at the time, their choices were limited.
Um, “limited”? What, did they think he had a .30-06 hidden in the fucking bathwater (or *ahem* under his towel)? Seriously, when it comes to limited options, I’d say it’s the naked hearing impaired guy who, having been unexpectedly surrounded in his own home by a mob of gun-toting, Taser-happy jackboots, is the one facing the rock/hard place pincher maneuver.
More from pale @ ACR, John Cole (“THERE HAS TO BE A THIRD FUCKING OPTION“) and Radley Balko, who (rightly, IMO) fears that “repeated iteration of the “non-lethal” claim may well make police officers more inclined to use the thing than they otherwise might be.” Over in comments @ April Reign’s pad, Raging Ranter (who, from what I’ve gleaned, is hardly a state-smashing anarchist) further explores Balko’s point:
The nice thing about guns (and no I’m not being facetious here) is that police know damn well if they use it, someone is going to die. Not maybe, not one chance in 100, but someone WILL die unless he’s damn lucky and the bullet misses or doesn’t hit a major organ. Not only that, but police are trained that way. They are taught under no uncertain terms that when they draw their gun, they MUST be prepared to shoot and kill. That’s why they are never, EVER supposed to “shoot to wound” or aim for limbs or anything like that. They are trained to aim for centre of mass, and to keep pulling the trigger until the assailant falls to the ground and stays there. All police forces in North America are trained the same way. The reason for this is simple. It helps prevent the unecessary use of firearms by police. Cops know damn well that they are only to use their gun if the situation is bad enough to warrant killing someone. Thus, they do not see using a firearm as a half-measure or as something to provide them with an additional margin of safety. It is a deadly weapon to be used only when deadly force is needed.
Now, compare that to a taser. A taser is to be used when deadly force is not warranted. So what criteria does the cop use to make his decision? Basically, he’s left to taser anyone who he perceives might attempt any physical resistance at all. Because the officer knows that the taser is not meant to kill; that it is supposed to represent a “soft” option, he does not feel the same reluctance to use this weapon.
Related: The Christian Science Monitor’s Terrorism and Security Update takes a closer look at the growing debate following the Robert Dziekanski killing over the growing ubiquity of stun gun usage by law enforcement agencies worldwide.
h/t Chet Scoville