When an Austin police officer’s dashboard camera showed the tasering of a 5-miles-an-hour-over-the-speed-limit driver from Thanksgiving weekend 2006 it (fortunately) made the news. Eventually, the officer was suspended for three days. The official explanation of the suspension?
[The officer] did not display an attitude consistent with Department policy and did not comply with the Department’s policy regarding the use of a taser.
Electronic Village has the video of the incident. Salad wrote a lengthy substantive post on the subject. (Also see his views on a related new APD policy that helps cops to not perjure themselves in these types of situations.)
When folks see the reality of excessive force, they seem to have two instant reactions. First shock and dismay. Followed by the “One Bad Apple” reaction. It’s just one bad apple, and it’s a shame that radicals use these isolated incidents to sully the whole bunch. (Of course, all uses of excessive force are caught on videotape – just as all innocents are released from death row based on DNA.)
But how do these ideas get sold to police agencies, and the public to begin with? By pretending that only the bad guys get zapped. And after all, bad guys deserve it.
From the September 1935 issue of Modern Mechanix & Inventions Magazine:
Note the caption: “This glove looks innocent, but any criminal tapped on the shoulder with it would get a 1,500-volt shock.” [Emphasis added]
And speeding is, of course, technically speaking a crime. But I wonder… how does the glove automatically know not to zap a good guy’s shoulder?