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CodeWarriorz Thoughts: Thursday, July 15, 2004 CodeWarriorZ BlueZ

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Thursday, July 15, 2004

 

Less than safe?

"The ''taser'' gun is one of a new generation of electro-shock weapons. Developed and produced in the USA, tasers shoot fishhook darts which attach themselves to the victims body and through which the user can deliver a 50,000-volt shock at the press of a button. A US company claims that its new version of the taser gun has been marketed to police forces in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Slovenia, Sweden, the United Kingdom (UK) and Venezuela. None of these governments has published detailed studies of the effects and suitability of Taser guns for use in law enforcement. Amnesty International has for years highlighted the way in which devices using more recent technological developments, such as high-voltage electro-shock stun weapons, have been used around the world to facilitate torture and ill-treatment.In its first report, a UK government Steering Group examining ongoing research in several countries into less potentially lethal alternatives to plastic bullets, has underscored a number of the medical concerns raised by Amnesty International, stating: ''[a]lthough electrical incapacitation devices (EID) such as ''tasers'' have been used for many years by law-enforcement agencies in the US, the biophysical and physiological basis of their effectiveness and safety does not appear to be well understood''.All states have an obligation to avoid the arbitrary and excessive use of force by law enforcement officials, including force that tends to inflict unwarranted injury or pain. The fact that the effects of tasers can vary according to a number of factors, raises serious concerns about the safety of these devices and about the ability of the user to ensure that they apply only the minimum amount of force necessary. For example, tests on the new taser show that the darts often missed their target and hit more vulnerable parts of the body; the electrical output varies according to whether the battery is fully charged or depleted; the effects may vary according to what kind of clothing the victim is wearing; and there is some evidence that climatic conditions can also have an effect.However, despite the lack of basic knowledge about whether its effects are arbitrary in many instances, the taser is being promoted as a ''safe'' less than lethal device. Once in the global marketplace, there is also a very real danger that devices will find their way to countries with persistent patterns of human rights violations. In recent years US taser guns have been promoted at international arms and security fairs in Poland, Qatar, Germany, France, Mexico, Spain and the Russian Federation. The US government is encouraging US companies to design and produce new so-called ''less than lethal'' devices which can be used by the security forces to paralyse or incapacitate individuals. The companies involved in making and promoting these devices claim that they provide safe alternative methods of control. Critics, however, have cast doubt on their safety and questioned the use of some devices which are so easy to misuse that they can encourage torture or ill-treatment.There is an arsenal of new products at the design or prototype stage for immobilizing and incapacitating human beings. Radio frequency weapons, for example, use microwaves to zap anyone straying in an irradiated area to temperatures of up to 55oC. Malodorant systems are based on stench chemicals, such as human excrement and rotting carcasses, which can be stored in containers that release the agent when someone walks over them. Immobilizing chemicals can also be released in this way, although such indiscriminate targeting would breach both the Geneva and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction. Other devices which could be used in a similarly indiscriminate way against vulnerable populations, for example against fleeing refugees at borders, include perimeter fences with electro-shock stun and kill options and the new taser mine that is activated by the victim via a trip device or other sensors and shoots out darts some 15-30 feet through which 50,000 volts are pulsed for up to an hour.Despite the claims of companies promoting such devices as a new generation of ''safe'' alternatives, there has been very little independent research into the effects these sorts of weapons can have in real-life situations. Amnesty International continues to receive reports of improperly tested weapons being used to inflict excruciating pain and serious injuries. Fatalities have been reported following the use of electro-shock weapons. Are these devices ''non-lethal''? Do they lend themselves to the arbitrary and excessive use of force? Right now, these questions cannot be answered with any degree of certainty. All we do know is that these immensely powerful weapons are being developed, manufactured or deployed without effective public oversight while the research into their effects and controls over their use and proliferation remain woefully inadequate. "
----------------------SNIP---------------------------------
So, we can ask ourselves important questions.
 
1) Can people be blinded permanently by receiving a forcefully projected barb in the eye? YES
2) Can people who have flammable liquid on their clothing, be caused to catch fire during use
of a Taser? YES
3) Can someone, stunned by use of a Taser, fall on a hard object and sustain permanent brain
damage secondary to the impact and closed head trauma? YES
4) Can certain persons, due to medical conditions, unique physiology and/or morphology,
sustain far more serious, and/or potentially fatal injuries as a result of this device being
used upon them? YES
5) Are there "soft hands" techniques or self defense hand to hand techniques which are alternatives to use of this device? YES.
 
Now, let's look at the whole issue of the "USE of FORCE continuum" as propounded and explained by the DOJ....
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/lawenforcement/policeintegrity/chapter1.htm
"4. Continuum of Force

When the use of force is reasonable and necessary, officers should, to the extent possible, use an escalating scale of options and not employ more forceful means unless it is determined that a lower level of force would not be, or has not been, adequate. The levels of force that generally should be included in the agency's continuum of force include: verbal commands, use of hands, chemical agents, baton or other impact weapon, canine, less-than-lethal projectiles, and deadly force. "
 
Now, notice that this list, does in fact go from the very lowest level of force, to the very highest level of force. And, notice what it says about the progression from lowest to highest level.
 
What we see from the DOJ themselves is that before "less than lethal projectiles" (which could include rubber bullets AND taser darts) comes the use of these in THIS ORDER...
hands (this would include hand to hand techniques), chemical agents (e.g. pepper spray),
baton or other impact weapon (this would include such things as the PR-24 baton and the "Asp"), and  Canines (dogs). In the DOJ use of force algorithm or paradigm, we MUST understand that there statements are clear...hands, pepper spray, baton and even Police dogs should all be employed and fail BEFORE whipping out a device shooting barbs and delivering 40,000 to 150,000 volts of electricity into a human being.
 
Now, is this being done? I believe a review of the literature out there which has collected case reports of use of Tasers would show that the use of police dogs before use of the Taser would be a distinct minority. Why do I say that? Because many departments are arming all street cops with Tasers, but, they are not also accompanied by police dogs....(i.e. the Tasers would outnumber the number of canines in the department).
 
I would also believe that, in the case of the cop who Tasered the nine year old handcuffed girl,
that a baton was not used against her, nor was a police dog used against her, before using the Taser. In point of fact, when reviewing the news reports of Taser usage, they are remarkable for the LACK of the proper continuum of force. Many use of force continuum also incorporate the "show of the uniform" as one of the lower levels of force, even before voice commands and hands.
 
Now, to be fair, the DOJ gives the officer "wiggle room" with the next line...
"Each situation is unique. Good judgment and the circumstances of each situation will dictate the level on the continuum of force at which an officer will start. Depending on the circumstances, officers may find it necessary to escalate or de-escalate the use of force by progressing up or down the force continuum. It is not the intent of this policy to require officers to try each of the options before moving to the next, as long as the level of force used is reasonable under the circumstances. "
 
But, what is ALSO clear is that this "wiggle room" paragraph, STRESSES the use of reason...is the use of force "reasonable", which begs the question, "Is it reasonable or proper to go from voice commands, straight to the second most lethal weapon in your arsenal without even trying pepper spray?".
 
If reason is left out of the decision making, it opens the door to officers going from voice commands, straight to discharging a firearm. This type of thing leads to dead citizens, as it
happened to an old, disabled man in Denver Colorado, who was killed because the officer
failed to use a proper use of force continuum, and claimed, he mistook a soda can for a firearm.
 
This kind of thing is intolerable. No one should lose sight, eyes, or life, because a trigger happy idiot with a badge fires either a Taser or a 9mm Glock. When this happens, it often not only indicates a failure of reason, but a failure to even attempt a reasonable and well measured response.
 
A man can discharge a Glock as fast as he can a Taser, and yes, both weapons have led to citizens dying as a result of their inappropriate usage.

 

How stun guns work

"But not everyone is convinced of their benefits. Amnesty International has called for a moratorium on Taser use until tests can be done to determine their safety. Nationwide, more than 50 people have died after being stunned by Tasers since 1999, though the company says no medical examiner has ruled that its product was the cause. "We applaud cities' efforts to reduce the number of police shootings, but we want to make certain that the solution being proposed is the appropriate one," says William Schulz of Amnesty International USA.
He also says there need to be uniform rules governing Taser use. It's currently up to each police department to set guidelines - something that varies from agency to agency. "Unlike batons, which can leave a bruise, or guns, which can leave a wound, these devises can be misused without detection," says Dr. Schulz.
The Kansas City Police Department, for instance, is rethinking when officers can use Tasers after an elderly woman was zapped in an altercation with police over a honking horn. The department's policy states that Tasers can be used on subjects who display "passive resistance" - those who don't respond to verbal commands but are not physically interfering with an officer. Denver and Portland, Ore., have similar policies. Seattle's is more restrictive: It doesn't allow Taser use until someone is combative and trying to injure an officer.
"What's happening is law-enforcement officers have started relying on Tasers rather than using the 'soft hands' approach," says Millard Farmer, a lawyer in Atlanta.
His client, Stacy Allen Draper, was shocked by a sheriff's deputy in Coweta County, Ga., on July 19, 2001, during a traffic stop. He sued the sheriff deputy for illegal arrest and excessive use of force, but the case was recently dismissed by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled there was no violation of his federal constitutional rights.
A videotape provided by Mr. Farmer shows Mr. Draper being stunned, after a short squabble, even before he is told to calm down or put his hands up. "It came without any warning," says Draper, a truck driver from Arlington, Texas. "I thought I was shot with a gun."
Draper, an ex-military police officer, says he has no qualms about Tasers being used on violent criminals and thinks they are a good addition to an officer's arsenal, "but you can't just pull out a Taser because you get mad."
Like Schulz, he and Farmer believe there need to be strict regulations on their use. In the past nine months, five people in Georgia alone have died after being shot with a Taser. Farmer says he has even heard they're being used to quiet people in "drunk tanks." "Sure, it's better to use Tasers than to use a gun," he says. "You can't get away with killing people. But you can get away with using it in a very vindictive way."
A case in Las Vegas
Just last month, a grand jury in Las Vegas ruled that a Taser played a role in the February death of a man on drugs - the first such ruling. William Lomax was zapped seven times in about 10 minutes, and was finally handcuffed and placed on a stretcher. He died in the hospital a day later. In the coroner's report, the medical examiner determined that Mr. Lomax had died as a result of cardiac arrest during restraint. He said the Taser contributed to his death, though it wasn't the cause of it. "Legally, it was ruled a non-Taser death," notes Mr. Tuttle.
He admits the public outcry over stun guns is growing, but says the problem is a lack of education. He likens it to the worries about pepper spray when police first began using it, "and eventually we learned that these aren't dangerous products at all," says Tuttle."

 

EVEN MORE TASER INJURIES

"Officer Tasered teen seven times: trial
Edmonton - A police officer repeatedly used a Taser on a teen he was trying to arrest, who didn't appear to be resisting, a witness testified Monday. -->




The now 18-year-old man was charged with breach of recognizance for the October 2002 incident, but his lawyer is arguing that the charge should be thrown out because police violated his rights during the arrest.Police wrongly thought the boy, who was 16 at the time, was stealing a car.
Witness Tim Diserla said Const. Mike Wasylyshen, son of the former police chief, Tasered the teen between six and eight times. Diserla said the boy appeared to be in pain and kept trying to jump up.
Wasylyshen testified that the officers received a high-priority call for a car theft in progress, involving four to five people. Recalling that night without referring to his notebook, he remembered details such as the car involved had a smashed rear vent window and that the ignition had been tampered with.
Wasylyshen said he used the Taser on the 16 year old seven times, and hit him in the head with the butt of the Taser, but that most of the shocks were ineffective.
A witness at the scene and a police officer testified that there appeared to be a civilian riding along with Wasylyshen that night, but he said he couldn't remember.
"It was like two years ago," Wasylyshen said. "I can't recall."
Police records don't show a ride-along approved for that night."
==================SNIP==================
Use of Tasers, in my opinion, is unconscionable!

 

More..."From the Taser Files"

http://www.policemag.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=715
" (Name expunged for privacy ) New Member
USA2 Posts

Posted - 06/14/2004 :  21:34:46    

I am trying to locate any officer(s) who may have sustained any immediate or "long term" injuries/damage from their receiving shock from a taser during training. All responses will be kept confidential. Thanks"
--
(name expunged for privacy)New Member
USA3 Posts
Posted - 06/14/2004 :  23:55:21      

In our department, each officer received a very very minor contact burn and several of the officers had a low-grade headache for the rest of the afternoon. Although we noted this happening, none of us were the least bit interested in calling them injuries, as the knowledge and experience far outweighed any minor and temporary discomforts.

Edited by - (name expunged for privacy) on 06/14/2004 23:55:57
---------------SNIP---------------------
Even when cops are trying to be easy on each other, they get hurt using these devices
of danger.
======================================
http://www.injuryboard.com/view.cfm/Topic=9926
"Police forces describe the taser gun as a safe alternative to brute force when detaining a violent or uncooperating suspect. The gun fires two needle-tipped darts connected to electric cables that stay attached to the gun. Having a range of about 20 feet, the taser gun delivers a 50,000-volt shock, which temporarily overrides a person's central nervous system, incapacitating a suspect. It is estimated that over 4,000 law enforcement agencies across the United States currently use tasers.
Since it was first issued to police officers in the late 1990s, the taser gun has been involved in dozens of inmate deaths. According to manufacturers, none of the deaths have been directly linked to the weapon, and several studies (conducted by manufacturers) have reportedly found that the high-voltage shock is harmless.
Interest groups, however, believe that because of the lack of proper data from independent studies, taser gun use should be suspended. Organizations such as Amnesty International believe tasers are often abused by officers, who use them inappropriately."
============MORE------------------------------
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/04/05/eveningnews/main610342.shtml
"Stun Gun Fatalities RisePHOENIX, April 5, 2004

Stun Gun Fatalities (Photo: AP)Instead of causing pain or injury, we are like a remote control plugged into your body, telling your body not to move.Rick Smith,CEO, Taser International 

(CBS) It sounds like a jackhammer and strikes like lightning. The Taser is an electric stun gun that fires laser-guided fishooks from 20 feet away, packing 50,000 volts of stopping power. Across the country, cops call the Taser, "the revolution." Asked what he thinks of it, an officer says, "I love it." "It stops officers from having to go hands-on and fight with suspects," says Sgt. Lauri Williams. Williams says the Taser reduces deadly force because police no longer draw their guns on suspects with bricks or knives. In Phoenix last year, gun shootings by police went down by half, and fatal shootings dropped by a third. In fact, as CBS News Correspondent Wyatt Andrews reports, almost every police agency using Taser reports fewer shootings, fewer deaths, fewer injuries. "To go out there and have this tool that doesn't cause injuries at all to the suspects, it's really just a great thing," says Williams. When police are trained on Tasers, they are taught the stun gun is safe to use in any circumstance and that the weapon immobilizes but does not injure. "Instead of causing pain or injury, we are like a remote control plugged into your body, telling your body not to move," says Rick Smith, Taser International CEO. Thanks to its reputation there is a 12-week backlog in demand. "We can't keep up with demand," says Smith. He says 4,300 agencies have ordered it. For Smith, sales and profits are skyrocketing. But so is another statistic: Taser-related deaths. A CBS news investigation, confirmed by the company, shows some 40 people have died after being stunned. The company says the Taser is not to blame, because most of the victims were fighting with police, delirious or on drugs. "If the Taser had not been used, all 40 of those people would still be dead today," says Smith. "In every single case these people would have died anyway." And now some of the victims' families have begun to question why Taser is so certain the weapon never kills. The sister of one man killed by a Taser challenges the company's assertion that the person was going to die anyway. "There's no way to know that," says Shelly Leyba. "
=================MORE========================
http://www.studentbmj.com/back_issues/0901/news/311a.html
From England...
"UK civil rights groups question safety of stun guns
Mark Gould London
Civil rights groups and mental health charities are demanding an independent safety evaluation of electric stun weapons before they are used by police forces in the United Kingdom.
The Metropolitan Police and Northamptonshire Constabulary are considering introducing the "taser" stun gun from the United States as an alternative to firearms used against violent suspects. The taser fires barbed darts that deliver a 50000 volt shock to paralyse an assailant temporarily.

Supporters of the stun gun say it would prevent tragic shootings by police such as those that recently resulted in the deaths of Andrew Kearnan, who was wielding a samurai sword, and Derek Bennett, who was carrying a cigarette lighter shaped like a pistol. Both men had a history of psychiatric illness.

The National Schizophrenia Fellowship has called for an urgent meeting with the home secretary, David Blunkett.

"We have also written to Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir John Stevens asking for assurances that the taser will not be deployed until there is adequate research into the effect on people taking psychiatric drugs, who are already at risk of broken or irregular heart rhythms as a result of medication," said a spokesperson.

Most American research says tasers are safe and effective. But in 1992 a pregnant woman spontaneously miscarried when she was "tasered." And Dr E M Koscove, writing in the Annals of Emergency Medicine in December 1985 (14:1205-8), said: "Taser injuries are a new and increasingly frequent emergency medicine problem." He described injuries caused by the barb, ventricular fibrillation, possible interactions with implanted pacemakers, and injuries secondary to falls.

Civil rights group Liberty says the taser will simply add to police weaponry, rather than reduce reliance on firearms.

Inspector Robert Blackburn, from Scotland Yard, said no final decision had been made on the types of weapon to be deployed, but research, which will include the effects of other medication, was being carried out by the police scientific branch.

For more information on how tasers work and what damage they can do, go to www.airtaser. com/Med_Stud/medstud.htm which lists other relevant sites to visit if you want to be better informed on this controversial weapon. You can also cast your vote on whether you think stun guns should be introduced in the UK on our website, www.studentbmj.com "
=================SNIP==========================
Do people get temporarily hurt from use of the Taser?
Unmistakenly and undeniably YES
 
Do some people suffer long term negative effects from its use?
The reports seem to indicate YES.
 
Have some people died as a direct result from use of the Taser upon them?
From the reports I have read, it would certainly seem, without doubt, YES.
 
Can any "law officer" accurately predict what the exact nature and extent of damage
to any victim hit with Taser darts, be? NO, absolutely NO.

===========SNIP===================
But, let's get it Straight from the "Horse's Mouth"...the Advanced Taser Owner's Manual found at http://www.fire-power.com/generic56.html
"WARNING: READ THIS BEFORE USINGThe ADVANCED TASER is a less-lethal weapon.
 
 It is designed to incapacitate a target from a safe distance without causing death or permanent injury.
 
While the medical evidence strongly supports that the ADVANCED TASER will not cause lasting after effect or fatality, it is important to remember that the very nature of physical confrontation involves a degree of risk that someone will get hurt or may even be killed due to unforeseen circumstances and individual susceptibilities. Accordingly, the ADVANCED TASER should be treated as a serious weapon and should only be deployed in situations where the alternative would be to use other force measures that carry similar or higher degrees of risk.
 
GENERAL WARNINGS - EXTREMELY IMPORTANT:- NEVER POINT THE ADVANCED TASER? AT ANOTHER PERSON UNLESS INTENDING TO USE. - NEVER AIM THE ADVANCED TASER AT THE EYES OR FACE. - KEEP THE ADVANCED TASER OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN. - ALWAYS REPLACE LOW BATTERIES. - IN ORDER TO EXTEND THE WEAPON LIFE, AVOID DROPPING UNIT. - KEEP HANDS AWAY FROM THE FRONT OF THE UNIT AT ALL TIMES UNLESS THE SAFETY SLIDE IS FORWARD AND THE ADVANCED TASER IS DEACTIVATED. - NEVER TILT THE ADVANCED TASER WHEN FIRING (unless you are firing at a target laying on his side). - IF GOING ON AN AIRPLANE, YOU MUST PUT THE ADVANCED TASER IN YOUR CHECKED LUGGAGE, IT CANNOT BE CARRIED ON BOARD. - ALWAYS REPLACE AIR CARTRIDGES BY THE EXPIRATION DATE PRINTED ON EACH AIR CARTRIDGE. - DO NOT FIRE THE ADVANCED TASER NEAR FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS AND FUMES. THE ADVANCED TASER CAN IGNITE GASOLINE OR OTHER FLAMMABLES. SOME SELF-DEFENSE SPRAYS ARE FLAMMABLE AND WOULD BE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TO USE IN CONJUNCTION WITH ADVANCED TASER. - THE ADVANCED TASER CAUSES TEMPORARY PARALYSIS. THIS PARALYSIS CAN BE DANGEROUS AND EVEN FATAL UNDER SPECIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES. FOR EXAMPLE, SOMEONE TASERED IN A SWIMMING POOL WOULD PROBABLY DROWN AS THEY COULD NOT SWIM OR SUPPORT THEMSELVES. - DUE TO POTENTIAL DANGERS, ONLY USE THE ADVANCED TASER WHEN ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY TO PROTECT YOUR LIFE. - ALWAYS MAKE CERTAIN YOUR SAFETY SLIDE IS IN THE LOCKED POSITION WHENEVER YOUR ADVANCED TASER IS LOADED AND NOT INTENDED FOR IMMEDIATE USE. - WHEN CARRYING THE ADVANCED TASER, STORE IT IN AN ENCLOSED CONTAINER FREE FROM OTHER ITEMS WHICH MAY INTERFERE WITH OR UNLOCK THE SAFETY. - IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU CARRY THE ADVANCED TASER ONLY IN A CERTIFIED HOLSTER OR CARRYING CASE."
 
Under that, in a line about long lasting effects, the manual says the only long lasting "effects"
(it should say "injuries") are:
" Long Term Effects: None (except for potential eye injuries or injuries related to falling. "
 
And, remember what it said before that...
"While the medical evidence strongly supports that the ADVANCED TASER will not cause lasting after effect or fatality, it is important to remember that the very nature of physical confrontation involves a degree of risk that someone will get hurt or may even be killed due to unforeseen circumstances and individual susceptibilities. "
 
So, it is clear that the manual advises users that even death could result from usage
("due to the very nature of physical confrontation").
 
And, even farther down, a VERY interesting statement...
"ADVANCED TASER: EFFECTIVE TAKEDOWN POWER:TASER? technology is so highly effective because the electrical signal penetrates the nervous system regardless of the placement of the probes. The entire human body is covered by the neural net, which the ADVANCED TASER uses to knock out the target..."
 
If they mean, render the victim unconscious, by "knock the target out", any health care professional recognizes that, any physical mechanical or chemical agent or energy, strong enough to render a victim unconscious, could potentially cause death in some individuals,
especially if no trained medical help is on scene to render proper medical care.
 
And more people admitting that serious injuries can be caused by Tasers...
http://www.zarc.com/english/non-lethal_weapons/taser_eval.html
"Although there have been some serious injuries that have been sustained as a result of the TASER being used, these were secondary injuries such as: blunt trauma injuries from a person falling after being shot with a TASER, one incident of a TASER dart puncturing an eye, and two incidents where the TASER current ignited subjects who were soaked in a flammable liquid. “
 
Now, would hand to hand control techniques have caused penetrating eye injuries, or have set the person on fire? NO. No Chin Na, Aikido, Jiu Jitsu, or similar hand to hand control techniques I know of, would in their normal execution, set anyone afire, nor generate penetrating eye damages.

==========MORE=========
http://www.saveourcivilliberties.org/en/2004/06/404.shtml
"But as use of Tasers rises, so do concerns about them. On June 4, about 100 people rallied at the Gwinnett County Justice and Administration Center to protest the death of an inmate after he was shocked with a Taser. A legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union says Tasers have been involved in too many deaths and calls for more research if law enforcement officers intend to keep using them. Amnesty International says they can be used as torture devices and, after several Taser-related deaths in Georgia, called for a moratorium on their use. In the past nine months, five people in Georgia, including three in metro Atlanta, have died after being shocked with Tasers by law enforcement officers. Nationally, 26 people who were shocked with Tasers while in custody died during that period — as many as had died in the previous 4 1/2 years the guns had been in use. The gun's manufacturer says that, based on autopsy results, none of the deaths has been directly caused by a Taser. Tom Smith, president and co-founder of Taser International, says the guns have been used safely by law enforcement officers in the field more than 45,000 times since 1999 and used safely more than 100,000 times including demonstration firings. The increase in the number of deaths of people shocked by Tasers simply reflects the increased use of the weapons, the company says. "Tasers aren't dangerous," said Taser International spokesman Steve Tuttle. "They are just used in dangerous situations." Officers with police departments that use Tasers agree. "I'm not familiar with any medical condition or physical impairment that would be adversely affected by use of a Taser," said Henry County police spokesman Lt. Ken Turner,who doesn't use a Taser himself but whose department has used them for about six months. "This is a perfectly safe weapon." But those who question Taser use say that not enough independent research has been done on humans to prove that the weapons provide the less than lethal alternative to firearms that boosters say they do. And, although several doctors who have conducted research on Taserssay the 50,000 volts the gun packs shouldn't cause life-threatening injuries, they stop short of saying the weapons aren't strong enough to cause death. 'It hurts quite badly' Fighting, drug use and psychotic behavior can increase the risk of heart failure, the doctors say. Some Taser critics wonder whether sweat produced by a person who is struggling may alter the effects of the electric shock. "There's no 'smoking gun' on the Taser alone," said Dr. Alexander Isakov, an emergency medicine specialist at Grady Memorial Hospital and Emory University. But because of the Georgia deaths, Macon police and the Forsyth County Sheriff's Department have shelved their Tasers, and College Park police decided to hold off on buying any. Taser International executives have scheduled a meeting Wednesday in Atlanta with representatives of 15 Georgia public safety agencies, where they'll discuss studies, done by the University of Missouri and paid for by Taser International, about the devices. Many police officers who use Tasers call them an effective tool. When the trigger is pulled, the gun shoots out two wires that hook into a person's skin or clothing and deliver a jolt of 50,000 volts. Tasers allow officers to subdue combative suspects or prisoners with minimal risk to the target or the officer, say metro Atlanta law enforcement officers such as Coweta County sheriff's Maj. Jim Yarbrough, a Taser instructor. "It's a lot better than wrestling on concrete," Yarbrough said. In confrontations, officers are taught to use varying degrees of force, in a scale escalating from oral commands to combat. Deadly force is the last option. Officers employing force not intended to kill rely mostly on pepper spray, batons or their own physical strength. But even when those methods work, police say, both officer and suspect can be injured during contact. Officers say Tasers give them a measure of control that other forms of restraint don't because they're designed to deliver electrical current from a distance, as much as 21 feet. "It has cut down our physical altercations dramatically," said Sgt. Andy Briggs of the Coweta County Sheriff's Department. Briggs, who was trained in Taser use by the weapon's manufacturer, wrote the Coweta department's training manual on Taser use based on the company's training program. As part of the training, each officer who will use a Taser must get shocked with one. Police say this shock treatment gives the officers a taste of what they're dishing out and so helps prevent abuse. It was an experience Briggs said he'd rather not repeat. "My teeth gritted, I couldn't move, I had a grimace on my face, my jaws locked down and my lips pulled back," he said. "It hurts quite badly." Others who have been on the receiving end of Tasers may consider that an understatement. Walter Meeks, 40, of Dacula still has scars on his back from being shocked with a Taser at the Gwinnett County Jail during a scuffle with deputies last year. "I never felt that type of pain," said Meeks, who had been arrested for disorderly conduct. "It was unusual punishment." And David Lee Anderson, 26, said he had an "out-of-body experience" when he was shocked three times with a Taser while in the Gwinnett jail on a disorderly conduct charge. "I really felt like I left my body," Anderson said. "It was like I passed out. Then, when I woke up, I was being handcuffed." Autopsy results People respond differently to electric current, said Sakis Meliopoulos, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Georgia Tech. Meliopoulos, who has testified as an expert witness in electrocution cases around the country, specializes in the safety of electrical systems. "Some people can withstand the severe pain, some people may faint, or the pain could cause additional problems," Meliopoulos said. "In a person with pre-existing conditions, who knows how the body is going to respond?" That has been an issue in the case of Frederick Williams, a 31-year-old computer technician from Lawrenceville. Williams died last month after being shocked with a Taser at the Gwinnett jail. Williams had epilepsy. He was acting erratically when police officers went to his house on what police say was a domestic violence call. Williams' family has questioned whether a Taser should have been used. They believe it contributed to his death. The Gwinnett County medical examiner could not determine the cause of death in an initial autopsy. Williams' death is still being investigated. "The Taser has never been named as the cause of any deaths," said Taser spokesman Tuttle, "and I fully expect the medical examiner will make the same finding in the case in Gwinnett." Tuttle points to a study done on pigs, financed by Taser International, that found that the device had no fatal impact on the heart. Noting that the study was done on animals, Amnesty International and the ACLU argue that more research is needed to determine how the guns affect humans. The company released a summary of autopsy results from 42 deaths that occurred after a Taser was used. In the summary, heart disease or failure, a drug overdose and asphyxia were most often listed as the cause of death in the cases where a cause could be determined. In its call for a moratorium on Taser use, Amnesty International said the medical examiners' rulings on the causes of deaths followed a "predictable pattern." Some question the use of electric shock weapons on people who are often bathed in sweat. "Any time there is moisture on the skin, it acts as a conductor of electricity," said Dr. John Beshai, an Emory University cardiologist who specializes in electrophysiology. 'The best police tool' But Beshai said it should take a greater jolt than that from a Taser to cause serious health hazards to a healthy person. The wavelength emitted by Tasers seems too short to encroach on the most vulnerable interval of a heartbeat, Beshai said. And the guns use direct current, not the alternating electric current that powers homes and businesses. Direct current is less lethal, Beshai said. "It's not the same as sticking your finger in a light socket." Many police officers seem convinced that the medical evidence supports Taser use. "We'd use a Taser if a person was standing in a puddle of water," said Coweta County's Briggs. "It's the single best police tool to come along in my entire career." "
--------------------SNIP-------------------------
That's enough for me. If ONE person in a thousand might die through
use of the Taser, when hand to hand control techniques would work better,
cost less, and put the citizen at a reduced risk of injury, I say, NO TASERS!
 
We're humans...we don't need glorified cattle prods used on us you Nazis!

 

MY COMMENTS ON THE TASER

Firstly, I have been doing a survey of the misuse of Tasers for some time now.
They have been presented in the form of article presentations of incidents using
Tasers that have adversely affected citizens around the country, and outright
misuse and abuse of people by use of Tasers, such as "tasering" a nine year old
handcuffed girl!
 
From "taser.com", under their FAQ section, in the question about "How does the advanced Taser work?" we read :
"Upon firing, compressed nitrogen projects two ADVANCED TASER probes 15 or 21 feet (depending on cartridge) at a speed of 180 feet per second. The probes are connected by thin insulated wire back to the M26. An electrical signal transmits throughout the region where the probes make contact with the body or clothing. The result is an instant loss of the attacker’s neuromuscular control and any ability to perform coordinated action. ADVANCED TASER uses an automatic timing mechanism to apply the electric charge for 5 seconds. "
 
The word TASER stands for Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle .
 
The truth is that the word "probe" is really a misnomer. These are DARTS with points , that are meant to embed themselves in skin or clothes. If the embed in the skin and the person targetted, voluntarily or involuntarily pulls away on a taut wire, it can rip the skin open.
 
These sharp DARTS are shot with force into the skin or clothing of a victim, and can deliver from 40,000 to 150,000 volts. TASER wants to make everyone think that this device cannot harm people. On it's face, just from the potential mechanical injury to the epidermis and perhaps lower layers, it is false. Take any person in which the dart has embedded itself and jerk hard on the connecting , conductive wire. Let's see if that causes damage. Can a poor shot by a "law enforcement" person cause damage? Of course. A poor shot could cause the DART to fly into the exposed eyes and eye tissue of a victim and could conceivably, result in tremendous damage, even blindness.
 
The fact is, that even TRAINING WITH TASERS GENERATES INJURIES!
http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2004/Jan-20-Tue-2004/news/22960979.html
"Taser training causes injuries
Las Vegas police no longer can receive a zap from weapon during practiceBy FRANK GEARY REVIEW-JOURNAL


The M-26 Taser discharges 50,000 volts of electricity through two sharp darts.Photo by Gary Thompson.Click image for enlargement.Las Vegas police Capt. Gary Schofield fires a Taser at a target. Las Vegas police officers no longer are being voluntarily zapped by the devices because of several training injuries.Photo by Gary Thompson.


Las Vegas police are being armed with Tasers to reduce injuries to officers, but officers have been hurt since training with the electrical devices began last month.
Eight of the nearly 500 officers trained were injured after they were shot with a Taser, which is part of the training recommended by other police agencies and the Taser manufacturer.
The officers were not hurt by the 50,000 volts the Taser discharges but from falling after the electricity incapacitated them, Undersheriff Douglas Gillespie said.
Unlike the Nevada Highway Patrol and North Las Vegas police, Las Vegas officers now are forbidden from being voluntarily zapped with the hand-held Tasers.
"It doesn't have to do with the equipment. It has to do with people being tased and then falling," Gillespie said. "It's a small percentage, but we are dealing with staffing issues and can't afford to lose people under circumstances like that."
The mechanisms have a track record of decreasing injuries to officers and suspects and the taxpayers' cost in treating them, police officials said.
When the trigger is pulled, the Taser propels two sharp darts into a suspect. The fishhook-size projections, at the end of 25-foot cables, deliver a current through the target's body.
The target's central nervous system serves as an electrical conduit for the Taser, which incapacitates a person by forcing their muscles to contract involuntarily, said Highway Patrol Sgt. Tom Jackson. He likened the sensation a target feels to vomiting because the person loses control of their muscles.
As with handgun training, officers are trained to aim the Taser at a subject's torso because it is the largest target on the human body, Jackson said.
He did not know the speed at which the darts travel when the trigger is pulled but said they barely penetrate cardboard from eight feet away.
A Los Angeles Police Department study compared the number of injuries suffered by officers and suspects when different weapons, including Tasers, were used during confrontations.
Suspects were injured about 80 percent of the time when an officer used a flashlight, baton or punch to subdue a subject. An officer was injured in as many as 36 percent of those incidents.
But nobody was injured when police used a Taser to incapacitate a suspect, according to the study.
The Highway Patrol, police agencies around the country and Taser International, the company that makes the devices, either require or encourage officers to be shot by a Taser, Highway Patrol Sgt. Tom Jackson said.
Officers shot know firsthand how powerful the weapon is and are more credible experts if they testify in court about the use of a Taser, Jackson said.
At its training facility, Taser International requires students to be shot before they are certified as master instructors in the use of the devices, North Las Vegas Police spokesman Justin Roberts said.
None of the 25 Highway Patrol troopers trained with Tasers since last month has been injured, Jackson said.
"An officer who has been tased can say `I know what its like to be tased,' " Jackson said.
But Gillespie said for officers to be shot is unnecessary. Videos and demonstrations they watch show them how to use the Tasers and teach them that they're powerful weapons.
"Eight officers that received injuries to the level of that they had to miss work caused us concern," Gillespie said. "It's very clear for these officers that the Taser itself is a powerful tool and that it can't be misused." "
==================SNIP=================================
OK, here's just one of the problems. Taser.com  has a website that comes up at the top of a search for info on this topic. They continue to present this device as a benign control technique, and, as a substitute for firing a bullet and killing a victim (they usually call victims of their abuse "perps" or "bad guys" despite the innocent til proven guilty maxim of our courts).
 
The last article shows the notion that Tasers are just like a bee sting and are more incapacitating than anything else, as patently a misrepresentation of the facts. Even a sharpened pencil, in the hands of a trained martial artist or street fighter , is a potentially deadly weapon. So a device that shoots out barbs or darts, attached to conductive wires which can transmit 40 thousand to 150 thousand volts into a person, is not, I repeat NOT going to be a totally safe weapon to use on another living creature.
 
KNOW why they are using them? Cops like to have a Batman like utility belt with knives, guns, PR24 batons, handcuffs, and now, Tasers. They are lazy too. I've been in martial arts as a writer, teacher, and practitioner for 30 years this year. Cops are notoriously bad about not learning and using effective hand to hand control techniques.
 
Do they learn things like "Chin Na"? NO. Do they learn "small circle Aikido" control techniques?
NO. They would rather chuck back a couple extra donuts, and if confronted with someone they don't like, zap em with the Taser.
 
Who is the ultimate victim? The victim of police brutality is the society at large.

 

Taser guns may be an alternative, but not a panacea

"By JAMES CAMPBELLCopyright 2004 Houston Chronicle
In some Houston communities, residents perceive that some police officers shoot first and ask questions later. The shooting deaths last year of two Hispanic teens by HPD officers reinforced that view.
Police Chief Harold Hurtt has made it a priority to change that perception, particularly in the city's minority communities. He believes Taser guns are part of the answer.
Hurtt has mounted a full-court press to persuade City Council to shell out $3.2 million to purchase 3,600 of the devices to equip every Houston patrol officer. He touts their value by pointing to Phoenix and its 31 percent drop in fatal police shootings last year.
Here's a concession. Taser guns are an easy and attractive choice for police and the public when a 50,000-volt jolt to immobilize a suspect is marketed as the alternative to killing or maiming with a bullet. However, evidence is mounting across the country that should caution council members and prompt them to ask tough questions about Taser guns before they write that check.
Here's my concern. A Taser gun in the hands of an undertrained, overzealous officer could very well undermine the purpose. Just because the Taser gun is classified as a less lethal weapon does not necessarily mean it can't kill anyone. With all due respect to the chief, his sales pitch should explicitly acknowledge that the Taser gun has the potential to inflict serious bodily harm and, perhaps, death.
HPD and the city should not dismiss concerns raised by Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union that Tasers have contributed to some deaths and are being used unnecessarily to control suspects, even when officers' lives are not in danger. An Amnesty International report claims that 51 people have died in custody in the United States since 1999 after being stunned by Tasers.
"They [Tasers International] are marketing it as something that hasn't caused any deaths, that it doesn't cause permanent injury, that it doesn't cause significant injury," said Fred Diamondstone, a Seattle attorney. "It's a very questionable marketing claim. If police are buying it based on those representations, then the police need to take another look because there is fair reason to believe that people are suffering both burns and that in some cases it is contributing to or causing death."
Diamondstone is keenly aware of the Taser's ability to cause significant burns. He is preparing a lawsuit on behalf of a family whose 16-year-old son bears ugly scars left by four 50,000-volt, five-second jolts from a Taser gun pressed four times to the back of his neck by a Seattle police officer. The teenager was a backseat passenger in an SUV stopped by police for a busted headlight, Diamondstone said. Events turned messy during a routine pat down when the teen protested that he was claustrophobic.
"Before he could get the whole sentence out of his mouth," Diamondstone said, "he was thrown up against the car, taken down to the ground, hit with flashlights, hit with the Taser multiple times and eventually handcuffed."
Nothing was found in the car, no charges were filed and everybody was released at the scene, he said. An internal police investigation concluded the incident was "an unfortunate misunderstanding" and ruled three of the four officers involved in the altercation did not violate department policies. The fourth was told to get additional Taser training, Diamondstone said. "
===============SNIP====================
More in my "FROM THE TASER FILES COVERAGE"

 

Central Florida police agencies agree to restrict use of Tasers

"Central Florida police agencies agree to restrict use of TasersAssociated Press
ORLANDO, Fla. - After a yearlong review indicated some law enforcement officers are too quick to use Taser stun guns, police departments across Orange County agreed to restrict their use of the weapon.
Eleven police agencies agreed to use Tasers only on people who show "active resistance," such as trying to escape or resist arrest, said Orlando Police Chief Mike McCoy.
Previously, officers could stun suspects who disobeyed their orders or prevented them "from taking lawful action."
In Central Florida, five people have died over the past two years after being subdued by Tasers, which fire 50,000-volt darts that that temporarily paralyze muscles.
Police agencies and physicians say the deaths were not related to the Taser, but McCoy said the guidelines would help build trust in the community.
The majority of Orlando police officers already follow the new guidelines, but they will help "standardize" the use of Tasers across different agencies, McCoy said.
The region's largest law enforcement agency has not agreed to the new plan. Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary ordered a review of the policy, which should be completed by the end of August."
=================SNIP========================
There are two trends going on at the same time almost.
1) More and more goon squads....er, "Law Enforcement Agencies" are arming their
stormtroopers, er..."Officers" with Tasers
2) More people are getting seriously injured or killed with Tasers, and police departments
are having to revise their policies on usage, since these goons, er, "officers" are out there
using Tasers like they are going out of style.
 
This is in a continuing report I call "From the Taser Files"

 

Police Department has to reign in use of deadly TASERS!

"By Pedro Ruz Gutierrez Sentinel Staff Writer Posted July 15, 2004  
Police departments across Orange County have agreed to restrict the use of the Taser stun gun following a yearlong review that shows some officers are too quick to draw them.Orlando police officers and those of 10 other agencies will now only stun people who show "active resistance," such as trying to escape or preventing an officer from making an arrest, according to the rules to be announced today, Orlando Police Chief Mike McCoy said Wednesday.McCoy and other police chiefs will reveal the restrictions in the wake of five deaths over the past two years in Central Florida. Nationwide, 50 suspects have died after being subdued with the weapon, which fires 50,000-volt darts and temporarily paralyzes muscles by jolting a person's nervous system.Police agencies and physicians say the deaths were not related to the weapon, but McCoy said it is important that police agencies build trust in the community."I don't want people to think we're overusing it," McCoy said of the Taser. "We're not being forced to do this. It's because we want to."The restrictions will not apply to the area's largest agency -- the Orange County Sheriff's Office -- which did not sign onto the plan endorsed by the other departments. Sheriff Kevin Beary has ordered a review of the policy, which will be completed by the end of next month.Until today, area police officers were permitted to shock anyone who disobeyed them or prevented them "from taking lawful action." Previously, officers could stun a suspect if they refused to follow instructions. Critics of the popular weapons have said departments have become too quick to use them rather than other methods to gain suspects' cooperation.McCoy, who introduced the Tasers a few months after arriving at the agency in late 2002, said statistics for the last year show officers already use the Taser with more restraint. McCoy said that in "94 to 95" percent of the time, OPD officers are using the Taser in tandem with the new rules.The new rules will "standardize" the Taser's use across different agencies, McCoy said. Tasers are popular with law-enforcement agencies nationwide because they say the Tasers' use has decreased deadly shootings.Edgewood Police Chief Clarence Bass said that his agency got three Tasers last year and that a standard policy is needed to make sure officers know where they stand."We have seen a lot of other departments who have faced a lot of trouble," Bass said in reference to the Central Florida deaths. "We're all on the same page, so that if my officer is backing up an Orlando police officer or an Orlando police officer is backing one of my officers, they are all going to make the same decision."In early June, a Lake Mary man who was acting erratically by moving in and out of traffic died at a hospital after Orlando police officers used a Taser on him on West Colonial Drive.The Sheriff's Office has used Tasers since 2001, and three suspects have died after being stunned by deputies. Autopsies later found drug-induced heart attacks and existing medical conditions caused those deaths."
=======================SNIP-----------------------------------------
This is a continuance of a reporting series I call "From the Taser Files"

 

TERRORISM AND THE ELECTION:

"From: WMadsen777@aol.com Date: Wed Jul 14, 2004  2:28:41 PM US/Eastern To: undisclosed-recipients:; Subject: TERRORISM AND THE ELECTION: California is the Target! TERRORISM AND THE ELECTION:
NO POSTPONEMENT, JUST BEDLAM AT THE POLLS AND A LOW TURNOUT ON THE WEST COAST IS BUSH’S PLAN FOR "VICTORY"
By Wayne Madsen
Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and columnist. He served in the National Security Agency (NSA) during the Reagan administration and wrote the introduction to "Forbidden Truth". He is the co-author, with John Stanton, of "America's Nightmare: The Presidency of George Bush II." His forthcoming book is titled: "Jaded Tasks: Big Oil, Black Ops, and Brass Plates." Madsen can be reached at: WMadsen777@aol.com
You have to give the right-wingers credit. The fear tactics they learned from arch-Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels remain at the front of their political playbook. First, they put out the notion that in the event of a terrorist attack around the time of the November 2 election, a postponement of the vote may be necessary. Second, they start talking about the Federal government’s response to such a scenario. It’s the second item we must all be focused upon.
The idea of terrorism affecting the election was first proffered by Reverend DeForest B. Soaries Jr, the Bush-appointed chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Soaries is a right-wing New Jersey Republican Secretary of State who has been living under the small “fanatics only” revival tent of the Christian fundamentalist crowd for some time. Soaries’s job is to ensure that there is no repeat of the 2000 Florida fiasco. However, he and his friends in the Bush administration (read that as Karl Rove and Tom DeLay primarily) may have their eyes set on causing a major West coast electoral disruption in 2004 that will make Florida 2000 look like a minor glitch by comparison.
As expected, suspecting a Bush conspiracy to cancel the election and remain in power until a determination would be made by Homeland Fuhrer Tom Ridge that an election was safe, the moderate, liberal, progressive, and libertarian communities cried foul. Postponing an election without a constitutional amendment would be a major breach of the Constitution (not that Bush has ever worried about his constitutional oath) and that would be impossible with only a little over three months before Election Day. Those who respect our Constitution pointed to the fact that President Abraham Lincoln did not cancel the 1864 presidential election during the Civil War – a war which saw this nation more at danger than it is during the current cable news bite-driven and somewhat sensationalist “Global War on Terrorism.”
The right wing had a different take on the possibility of an election postponement. Neo-fascist babble mongers like Rush Limbaugh said, “No!” to a postponement of the election. They argued that if a terrorist alert or attack were to occur, the election should go on and only those votes cast should be counted. Bingo! The plan for a second Bush administration became clear as day. And that plan’s target is California, with its whopping 54 electoral votes, and possibly Washington State’s 11 electoral votes, at stake.
In 2000, Bush and the election fraud cabal that included his brother, Florida Governor “Jebbie” Bush, and Jebbie’s old flame, Florida Secretary of State (now Congresswoman) Katherine Harris and Fox News election analyst John Ellis (Bush’s first cousin), engineered Bush’s phony Florida “win” using a combination of scrubbed electoral rolls that disenfranchised almost 100,000 African-Americans, confusing “butterfly ballots,” an early Fox projected Bush “win” in the Sunshine State, and voter intimidation at mainly rural polling places. As with Osama bin Laden and his band of zealots, the Bush team never uses the same tactic twice. Therefore, all eyes should shift from Florida this Election Day, to California, where one of Bush’s new minions, the Nazi-admiring Arnold Schwarzenegger, engineered a gubernatorial coup d’etat with the help of Enron’s Ken Lay and his Texas oil cronies, to seize control of the governorship from the reelected Democrat Gray Davis.
Clues to Republican motives are found back during that awful day in 2001. On September 11, the day of the terrorist attacks, New Yorkers were heading to the polls to vote in their mayoral primary. Under the direction of the outgoing incumbent mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, city election officials quickly postponed the election.  Giuliani, one who never misses an opportunity to emulate the former Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, toyed with the idea of amending New York City’s term limits law so that he could run for mayor for a third consecutive term. Another Giuliani plan would have postponed the primary and regular mayoral election for one year, giving him at least one more year in office with the possibility of a change in the city law to allow him to run for a third term. Another plan would have made Giuliani a write-in candidate. Wary of Giuliani’s various proposed election contrivances and his intention to use the attack on the World Trade Center for his own political advantage, New York’s City Council and the New York State Legislature quickly put the kibosh to Giuliani postponing the election indefinitely, extending his term for one year, or amending the city’s term limit statute. The mayoral primary took place on September 25, two weeks after the terrorist attack, and the general election occurred on schedule on November 6. Michael Bloomberg was sworn in as the new mayor on January 1, 2002.
After having Tom Ridge drop the media bomb that an election cancellation was a possibility and then having National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice declare that no such plan existed, the cat was out of the bag. No, do not expect an election cancellation but be prepared for a terrorist “event” during the election. That is what the Bush White House and their media prostitutes are spinning.
Here’s the scenario we must be all be prepared for:
If the pre-election internal tracking polls and public opinion polls show the Kerry-Edwards ticket leading in key battleground states, the Bush team will begin to implement their plan to announce an imminent terrorist alert for the West Coast for November 2 sometime during the mid afternoon Pacific Standard Time. At 2:00 PST, the polls in Kentucky and Indiana will be one hour from closing (5:00 PM EST – the polls close in Indiana and Kentucky at 6:00 PM EST). Exit polls in both states will be known to the Bush people by that time and if Kentucky (not likely Indiana) looks too close to call or leaning to Kerry-Edwards, the California plan will be implemented. A Bush problem in Kentucky at 6:00 PM EST would mean that problems could be expected in neighboring states and that plans to declare a state of emergency in California would begin in earnest at 3:00 PM PST.
The U.S. Northern Command, which has military jurisdiction over the United States, will, along with the Department of Homeland Security and Schwarzenegger’s police and homeland security officials in Sacramento, declare an “imminent” terrorist threat – a RED ALERT -- affecting California’s major urban areas.
Although the polls in California will not be closed as a result of the declaration, the panic that sets in and the early rush hour will clog major traffic arteries and change the plans of many voters to cast their ballot after work.
That terrorist emergency declaration could be made around 5:00 PM PST and with only three hours left for voting throughout the state, a number of working class voters in urban centers will either be caught up in California’s infamous freeway traffic and be too late to get to their polling places or be more concerned about their families and avoid voting altogether. 
Without a doubt, many Democratic voters might simply opt to pick their kids up from day care centers or relatives and then go home without voting. These would tend to be the lower and middle income Californians and the Democratic base. The affluent voters in California who vote Republicans and can easily vote early (and be late for work) or have the option of leaving work at any time during the day to vote will have likely already cast their ballots. Therefore, the recipe of a White House-induced California terrorist alert and a low Democratic turnout could toss 54 electoral votes into Bush’s lap, especially if the scare tactics affect the turnout in such urban and typically pro-Democratic vote-rich areas as Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Sacramento.
At 7:00 PM EST (4:00 PM PST), the polls will close in Florida, Georgia, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia. A half hour later, they close in North Carolina, Ohio, and West Virginia. If Kerry-Edwards wins Florida and that is coupled with similar pickups in Ohio, West Virginia and too-close-to-call races in Virginia and maybe North Carolina, the Bush team may seek to extend the terror alert to other Western or even Midwestern states, particularly Washington State (since Oregon votes by mail, it would be largely immune from any polling manipulation on Election Day). A terrorist alert for the Seattle area after 5:00 PM PST would result in a similar situation to that of California’s, with the exception that many potential voters could be trapped on Seattle’s commuter ferries. Washington’s polls close at 8:00 PM PST (11:PM EST). A low Democratic turnout in the vote-rich Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton area could be offset by a large Republican turnout in eastern Washington, thus possibly throwing the state’s 11 electoral votes to Bush – a net pick up 65 electoral votes from the West Coast, adding those votes to California’s. If Kerry picks up Ohio and some border states, the Bush team will be looking for a West Coast electoral offset and a terrorist alert would be the key to replacing lost Bush electoral votes in Ohio (21 votes), Florida (25), and West Virginia (5), a total of 51 electoral votes for Kerry.
With the stage set for a terrorist alert on the West Coast and with the polls closing at 8 PM EST (5:00 PM PST and launch time for the terrorist alert) in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas, we might be looking at the following electoral vote tally:
Kerry:
Florida (25); New Hampshire (4); Vermont (3); Ohio (21); West Virginia (5); Connecticut (8); Delaware (3); DC (3); Illinois (22); Maine (4); Maryland (10); Massachusetts (12); Michigan (18); New Jersey (15); Pennsylvania (23). Total: 176 (needed to win: 270).
Bush:
Indiana (12); Kentucky (8); Georgia (13); South Carolina (8); Virginia (13); North Carolina (14); Alabama (9); Kansas (6); Mississippi (7); Missouri (11); Oklahoma (8); Tennessee (11); Texas (32). Total: 152 (needed to win: 270).
At 8:30 PM EST (and a half hour into the West Coast terror alert), the polls close in Arkansas and its 6 electoral votes are added to Bush’s column, giving him 158 to Kerry’s 176.
At 9:00 PM EST, the polls close in Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. With Kerry picking up Louisiana (9 votes), Minnesota (10), New Mexico (5), New York (33), Rhode Island (4), and Wisconsin (11), his vote total would stand at 248.
With Bush picking up Arizona (8), Colorado (8), Nebraska (5), North Dakota (3), South Dakota (3), and Wyoming (3), his vote count would stand at 188.
At 10:00 PM EST, the polls will close in mainly Bush states. With Bush picking up Idaho (4 votes); Montana (3); Nevada (4); and Utah (5) and with Kerry likely grabbing Iowa (7), the vote count would stand at: Kerry: 255 and Bush: 204.
With an hour to go before polls close on the West Coast and the region enmeshed in a major terrorist alert with cops and National Guardsmen now adding to the mix and possibly closing roads and delaying traffic to the polling places, Bush’s team in Washington and Sacramento would be poised to deliver the death blow to Kerry-Edwards.
At 11:00 PM EST and 8:00 PM PST, the polls close in California, Oregon, and Washington. The fix is in: with California (the mother lode of 54 votes) and Washington (11 votes) going to Bush and Oregon (7 votes) possibly going to Kerry, the vote count stands at: Kerry: 262 and Bush: 269. Sometime in the wee hours of the morning of November 3, Alaska (3 votes) is declared for Bush and he is declared the winner with 272 votes to Kerry’s 266 (with Kerry’s pickup of Hawaii’s 4 electoral votes). It’s a down-to-the wire race with Bush being declared a winner without a Supreme Court fight but using his “homeland security” powers to ensure his re-election and Alaska putting him over the top.
That is what all this talk about a terrorist attack on Election Day is about. It is to prime the population and allow Bush surrogates at Fox News, CNN, and MS-NBC to begin their perception management campaign that an attack will occur around the election. But there will be no postponement of the election or cancellation – this is simply another plan to manipulate the public through the use of phony threats and fear tactics. The problem is that it just might work for Bush and his cabal of “the ends justify the means” manipulators.
This article is a wakeup call to all those who can try to forestall such a series of events. California’s Democratic majority in the state legislature and its Democratic Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General must take steps now to ensure Schwarzenegger does not conspire with his fellow Republicans in Washington to do to California in 2004 what Jebbie Bush and his people did to Florida in 2000. Similarly, Washington’s Democratic Governor Gary Locke and all the Democratic officials, including the two Democratic U.S. Senators, must take similar action to avoid a similar scenario in their state.
Action needed now includes:
1. Informing all state election officials about such a scenario and its potential impact on voter turnout.
2. Making contingency plans now to keep the polling places open to ensure that people can vote later or after any state of emergency is lifted.
3. Prevent the National Guard from being used to facilitate such a state of emergency.
4. Close coordination by the Democratic Party, smaller parties, and minority and labor rights organizations to respond to such a scenario.
To paraphrase James Carville, “It’s California and the voter turnout, stupid!” Forget about canceling or postponing the election. Keep your eye on a “Red Terrorist Alert” on the West Coast for Election Day. That doesn’t take a constitutional amendment, merely an okay from Bush and his homeland security team. They must be stopped – the future of this nation is at stake! "
---------------SNIP---------------------
YES YES YES!

 

Police: Missing girl found after nine years

"NEWARK, Ohio (AP) -- A girl reported missing in California nine years ago has been found in central Ohio, living under an assumed name with her mother, authorities said.
Licking County prosecutors said a woman recognized the girl's picture from the Web site of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and called sheriff's deputies.
She was found Friday in nearby Johnstown, about 20 miles northeast of Columbus, authorities said.
The girl, Vanesa Brancheau, and her mother, Sheri Lyn Taylor, were reported missing in 1995 from the Los Angeles community of Woodland Hills, the Licking County sheriff's office said in a news release."
================SNIP==================
Look, it's an interesting story I guess...but I posted it just for a few words from the article...
and I quote:
"Licking County prosecutors..."
Have you ever seen those three words in that order ever....????

 

"Al-Qaida hijacks Arkansas Government Website"...Yeah, that's the ticket

"HOMELAND INSECURITY
Al-Qaida hijacks
Arkansas website
Violent propaganda distributed via government system

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted: July 13, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern



© 2004 WorldNetDaily.com

The state of Arkansas unknowingly helped the al-Qaida terrorist network distribute propaganda promoting violence against the United States.

Laura Mansfield, associate director of the Northeast Intelligence Network, first noticed the postings yesterday while monitoring a forum on an Arabic-language Internet bulletin board frequented by al- Qaida sympathizers.

The Ansar forum received notoriety for releasing the video of the beheading of American citizen Nicholas Berg in Iraq.

From July 9 to mid-morning yesterday, a self-proclaimed U.S.-based al-Qaida sympathizer known as "Irhabi 007," or Terrorist 007, listed a large number of video and audio files for download by fellow sympathizers, Mansfield reported to WorldNetDaily.

The files were located on an anonymous FTP server at the Arkansas Department of Highways and Transportation in two directories called "007" and "ALQA3EDAH."

Among them were files highly sought after by jihadis, including the al-Qaida films "Badr al Riyadh," "American Hell in Iraq," "Russian Hell," "Martyrs of the Confrontation" and "Wills of Martyrs." Also posted were the Berg beheading video and many audio and video clips of various al-Qaida leaders, including Osama Bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu Musa'ab al-Zarqawi.

The files were located at ftp://www.ahtd.state.ar.us/incoming/GIS/007 and at ftp://www.ahtd.state.ar.us/incoming/GIS/ALQA3EDAH

Mansfield reported the postings to the Joint Terrorism Task Force at 3:20 a.m. Eastern time and by noon yesterday, the directories and files no longer were accessible."
---------------SNIP---------------
Yeah, musta been those fiendlishly clever AL-CIADA, er,
AL QAEDA...this could not be a government run deal...yeah,
the terrorists could crack state government codes and get into the FTP servers and upload these vids.

Look, anyone knowing about ftp servers knows when you log on, your IP address is logged. Also, any webmaster worth his salt knows how to set up an ftp server which denies anonymous access...and even with anonymous access, you can mark permissions on certain folders so no one can access.

Something smells like a fish in Denmark here.

 

Bush Signs Identity Theft Sentencing Law

"WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush signed a new law Thursday requiring stiff prison sentences for people convicted of using or providing fake IDs in committing terrorist acts and other types of crime.

The law is an important step in combating a type of crime that had 10 million U.S. victims last year, the president said in a signing ceremony at the White House. He said identity theft "undermines the basic trust on which our economy depends," robbing its victims of nearly $50 billion in fraudulent transactions.

Identity thieves "can steal a victim's financial reputation" by running up bills that hurt the victim's credit rating, Bush said.

The legislation is meant to take away judges' ability to give probation, reduced sentences or concurrent sentences for identity theft linked to felony crimes. It was approved with bipartisan support, with lawmakers such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., saying prosecutors need better tools to punish identity theft, especially when it is used to commit terrorist acts."
==============SNIP-------------------
Taking away the discretion of the judges...YEAH...that's the
NEW FREEDOM of the Madness of King George the W

 

Headless body in orange jumpsuit found in Tigris

"Baghdad — A decapitated body in an orange jumpsuit has been discovered in the Tigris River north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said Thursday.

The identity of the body, found by Iraqi police Wednesday night northwest of the city of Beiji, was not known, the military said. Police turned the body over to the U.S. military for identification.

Militant groups in Iraq have taken several foreign contractors hostage, threatening to kill them if their governments did not pull their troops out or accede to other demands. Two slain hostages were wearing orange garments in videos showing their deaths.

A terrorist group affiliated with Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi said Wednesday it had killed a Bulgarian hostage. Video broadcast on Al-Jazeera showed one of two Bulgarian hostages, later identified as Georgi Lazov, kneeling before three masked men.

The television station said the rest of the video, which it would not air, showed the man being killed."
=============SNIP================
Where are terrorists getting these military issue orange jumpsuits?

 

The Austin chapter of the NAACP is asking the U.S. Deptartment of Justice to withhold federal funding

Austin Chronicle, TX - Jun 23, 2004
NAACP targets APD funds
BY JORDAN SMITH

The Austin chapter of the NAACP is asking the U.S. Deptartment of Justice to withhold federal funding from the city of Austin and the Austin Police Department until city officials agree to implement a series of "remedial measures" that address APD's "systematic practice of racial discrimination and police misconduct."

In the official June 19 complaint filed with the DOJ, the NAACP alleges that Austin's black and Hispanic residents are disproportionately met with excessive force at the hands of police, are routinely harassed through police abuse of so-called consent searches, and that complaints of police misconduct are often dismissed and the offending officers unpunished – allegations that the NAACP is urging the DOJ to investigate. In its 16-page filing, the NAACP alleges a pattern of abuse and discrimination, offering the officer-involved killings of Jessie Lee Owens Jr. and Sophia King, state-collected racial profiling data, and the SXSW Ozomatli incident as examples.

"The police misconduct and violence suffered by the minority communities stretches back decades and has created a profound lack of trust between African Americans and Hispanics with APD," reads the complaint. "A police force that has lost its credibility within its community has failed, and a police force that operates outside the bounds of the law and the Federal Constitution must be restrained."

The city's failure to remedy the situation is a federal problem, in part because APD receives federal criminal-justice grant funding, said Jim Harrington, who, as director of the Texas Civil Rights Project, filed the complaint on behalf of the NAACP. Federal funds – nearly $3.2 million last year – flow into the police budget but must be spent in compliance with various federal statutes, including Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination "under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance" – the law under which the NAACP and TCRP are requesting an investigation. "It is clear that no matter how many federal lawsuits we file, we do not see any systemic change," Harrington said at a Juneteenth press conference outside NAACP offices on East 12th Street.

If the charges are substantiated, the NAACP is asking that the city be allowed to keep federal funding only if Austin enters into a written agreement with the Feds and demonstrates compliance with a list of specific guidelines – including new training requirements, a new policy on deadly force that would require police to "shoot to disable," the abolition of consent searches, and new requirements on data collection and public dissemination. "Maybe now, once and for all [there will be] proper reform and proper redress," said Austin NAACP President Nelson Linder. "We talk about justice and equality, but we really don't have it. Look at the police brutality, look at the economics: It's a grand illusion."

If instituted, the proposed agreement would function similarly to a federal consent decree – a binding, federal-court-ordered oversight agreement. Texas has experienced the claw of federal oversight before – notably, during the 20 years of federal oversight of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, under the terms of the Ruiz case, which addressed a host of civil rights concerns and finally came to an end in 2002. Police departments in a number of U.S. cities are currently operating under consent decree or DOJ monitoring agreements – including Los Angeles (since 2000), Cincinnati (since 2002), Pittsburgh (since 1997), and Detroit (since 2003). These arrangements can be expensive, officials at times gingerly complain. In Los Angeles the decree, tentatively slated for dissolution in 2005, reportedly costs the city $50 million per year.

Whatever the cost, the arrangement demands change – which is what the NAACP and TCRP hope to win with their complaint. "Don't think for a minute that we're asking that [the government] not fund [Austin] police," Harrington said. Rather, he said, the goal is to ensure that the money goes toward "just and equitable" policing.

Responding to the complaint, Assistant Chief Rick Coy said, "We're surprised that this would be filed. We thought we were making a lot of progress." Coy says that several of the NAACP's proposed changes are things the department has already done or is actively doing – including training and equipping officers with Tasers, equipping more officers with less-than-lethal shotguns, and putting video cameras in every car. Additionally, the department and police union have teamed with community members for additional training and sent a delegation to take the Tools for Tolerance training. "We're always looking for better training," Coy said.

Coy added that the department has eliminated "random searches" – for which an officer doesn't have "reasonable suspicion" that a crime has occurred – and is in the process of reducing so-called consent searches – conducted on the reasonable suspicion standard.

It is ultimately up to the federal government to decide whether the NAACP will win the chance to negotiate with the city over their proposed changes, since it is the DOJ investigators that ultimately will determine where and how far the investigation will go.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Bogus arrrests finally thrown out as well as bogus fines!

"07/09/2004

Associated Press

A McLennan County judge on Friday dismissed all charges against five anti-war activists who were arrested and convicted of protesting illegally in Crawford last year, violating a city ordinance.

The decision comes after a municipal judge found the five guilty in February of violating the ordinance and ordered them to pay fines ranging from $200 to the maximum $500 fine.

The Texas Civil Rights Project applauded the decision of McLennan County Court-at-Law Judge Tom Ragland.

Ragland's ruling found that the ordinance was "overly broad on its face and in the manner in which it was implemented and enforced by the City of Crawford and therefore contravenes the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America."

The ordinance required 15 days notice and a $25 permit fee before the town's police chief could issue a permit for a protest within city limits. Crawford officials have since amended the ordinance to require a seven-day notice.

"This is a great victory for free speech in the president's own backyard," said the project's director, Jim Harrington. "This decision guarantees that the free speech rights of other protesters will not be silenced by the city of Crawford."

The project represented Tricia Major of Dallas, Amara Malizewski of Austin, Ken Zarifis of Austin, Amanda Jack of Austin and Michael Mashicek of Crawford.

In May 2003 the five were on their way from Austin to President Bush's ranch to protest the war in Iraq when they were arrested and put in jail overnight.

The attorney for the five has said they were not demonstrating at the time of the arrests. They were stopped by a police blockade and some had gotten out of their cars to try to negotiate with the officers, according to testimony."
-------------------SNIP---------------------
But King George the W wants all protestors beaten down...
he's probably throwing a hissy fit as we speak!

 

NAACP stages protests against police killings

"An 18-wheeler's horn resounds loudly in the early morning traffic. The driver waves at two solemn silhouettes holding a large banner up on the overpass. Their sign simply reads: "Stop Killer Cops."

Seven people protested police brutality and racial profiling on the 12th Street bridge over Interstate 35 Tuesday in a demonstration organized by the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The demonstration was part of a continuing process that has been going on for about a month and a half, with an average of two protests a week.

The protests aim at raising public awareness about alleged police misconduct in three fatal shootings of blacks that occurred in Austin within the last 15 months, said Nelson Linder, president of the Austin chapter of the NAACP.

Linder said though the protest focused on the three specific incidents, police brutality is a widespread phenomenon."
---------------SNIP-------------------------
Still want to either LIVE in Austin or MOVE here?

 

Ten Years Later, Police Misconduct Case Goes Public

HOME: VOL.22 NO.38: NEWS: TEN YEARS LATER, POLICE MISCONDUCT CASE GOES PUBLIC

Ten Years Later, Police Misconduct Case Goes Public
BY JORDAN SMITH

May 23, 2003

The Office of the Police Monitor's city-appointed Citizen Review Panel on Monday heard testimony regarding an allegation of "official oppression" more than a decade ago by an APD veteran. Complainant Lucy Neyens, herself a local law-enforcement officer and the wife of an Austin police officer, told the panel about her charge that veteran Austin Police Detective Howard Staha forced her to perform oral sex on him in return for protecting her teenage son, who was at the time an APD confidential informant. (Contacted last week by the Chronicle, Staha called Neyens' charges "a lot of false allegations against me.")

Neyens believes APD has never conducted a thorough investigation into her allegations after she filed a formal complaint in January 2002. "Staha has been given preferential treatment by the department," she told the panel. "There was no restricted duty -- it was business as usual [as they investigated the complaint]." While officers under investigation by APD's Internal Affairs Division are often placed on administrative leave, Staha was not only not suspended but was indeed transferred into the same division as Neyens' husband. It wasn't until this past January, a year after filing her complaint, that Neyens was notified of the case disposition: Investigators apparently came up empty-handed, calling the investigation "inconclusive" -- which Neyens believes is because they failed to pursue several leads. In March, she filed a complaint with Police Monitor Iris Jones, who put the case on the review panel's May 19 agenda. (For more on this, see "Unfinished Business at APD?" May 16.)

Neyens told the panel members that her son had been working as an APD confidential informant in the early Nineties, but his life had been threatened after his informant status was leaked to some of the criminals he was trying to help nab. She said her son became suicidal, and when she reached out to Staha, for whom her son had been working, the veteran officer took advantage of her. According to Neyens, she met Staha at a bar on Ben White while he was on duty, and he forced her to perform oral sex on him in his car after repeatedly telling her that he didn't think he could protect her son any longer. "I feared for my son's safety and feared that if I didn't comply that some harm would come to him," an emotional Neyens told the panel."
------------------SNIP---------------------
Where's that PROTECT and SERVE BULLSHIT?

 

Austin PD Hall of Shame

"Texas Police Reform Center

See the new ACLU public policy report "Flawed Enforcement," published May 19, 2004, which analyzes the traffic interdiction activities of narcotics task forces funded by the federal Byrne grant program. The study found that task forces search motorists more often than other law enforcement agencies, that almost no task force searches involve probable cause, that task forces fail to give tickets at most stops, and that most task forces search minorities more than whites. The study explores themes first raised in the December 2002 ACLU of Texas report, Too Far Off Task.

The Austin City Council voted March 25, 2004 to completely gut Austin civilian oversight and failed to provide police with new tools to avoid accountability for misconduct. See the summary of proposed changes to Austin's civilian oversight system. I wish I had better news, but it's the same old song and dance with this city council. If voters oust a few of them maybe we'll have better luck in five years, when civilian oversight in the police union contract will come up again.

In the largest study of racial profiling data ever, ACLU of TX, TX NAACP, TX LULAC and the Texas Crimnal Justice Reform Coalition released in February 2004 this public policy report. The study examined data from 413 police and sheriff's departments representing more than 70 percent of traffic tickets issued in Texas in 2002.

We frequently hear, "Police officers put their lives on the line every day." And in a sense, it's true. But many everyday occupations are much more dangerous than a peace officer's, and are surely at least as deserving of "hero" status. See a federal list of occupations more dangerous than peace officer, including "groundskeeper," truck driver, and fishermen.

The Copwatch Blotter has been discontinued because the webmaster could not keep up with the workload on a volunteer basis. But the archives are still linked above.

Him that has eyes, let him see ..."
--------------------SNIP----
GREAT PAGE!


 

MORE POLICE MISCONDUCT

"When so many people seem to believe everything thing read (witness all the urban myths and email hoaxes), why do many refuse to believe that police misconduct is a pervasive and serious problem? Even many of those who acknowledge that police misconduct exists still discount its significance by claiming that "nobody's perfect" or "there may be a few bad apples."

Sadly, it is precisely that attitude that allows the police to get away with their crimes. If you were arrested and charged with some made-up crime simply because you annoyed a police officer somehow during a traffic stop, how would you feel if nobody believed you? And how could you win your case in court if nobody believed you. And, most importantly, how could we ever put pressure on police departments to keep their officers trustworthy and honest if nobody believed complaints of abuse against the police?

Still skeptical? Then check out the Police Complaint Center site. They've gone to police stations while wearing hidden cameras, asked for complaint forms, and then were threatened or arrested by officers for doing so. You can see the actual video on PCC's site. Think the organization is just out to bash the police? Then consider that the project is run by a former cop.

Much of this is in the newspapers, if people care to look. For example, the New York Times Magazine had a lengthy article in its 10-1-00 issue explaining how the Los Angeles police department was so corrupt it had to be brought under federal review. And Los Angeles isn't unique -- misconduct is rampant in police departments across the country.

Police misconduct isn't just about the obvious -- police beating suspects because it's easy for them to get away with it. It's also about things like making up false charges to justify bad arrests, refusing to testify about other officers' crimes (code of silence), refusing to accept complaint reports from citizens, threatening suspects who would otherwise take their charges to court into pleading guilty, and coercing women into performing sexual acts. And when police do things such as beat their wives, they can count on the fact that few other police officers will arrest them for it, and that the District Attorney will be lenient in bringing charges -- if any are brought at all.

Nobody wants to believe this because it's unpleasant to admit that police misconduct is a serious community problem. But if you read through some of the reports databases from around the country, it's impossible to continue believing that the thousands of examples are just isolated incidents. Check out some of the sites listed below and see for yourself.

Growing up in a small town and having no involvement with police, I was skeptical when I first started hearing about police misconduct. But then I started witnessing it and experiencing it for myself. An officer used excessive force and arrested me for running a red light on my bicycle. (Yes, I admit I ran the red light. But does that make it okay for the police to commit a further crime by abusing me?) The officer also threatened me against taking the ticket to court, and threatened to come to my home with another officer and break my door down if I didn't pay the fine. Note that these threats are not just wrong, they're ILLEGAL. And much more illegal (felonies) than running a red light on a bicycle. Another time, I was arrested for playing the piano in the food court at the mall. (By the way, I'm classically trained.) These incidents were minor, and nothing compared to what many citizens suffer at the hands of the police, but they were instrumental in opening my eyes to the fact that police officers are often willing -- very willing -- to take advantage of the citizenry.

My friends have also learned that police officers can get away with violating their rights, because the police don't have to answer to anybody and nobody believes the complaints against the officers. In 1994, I watched police arrest and physically abuse Shaun Stenshol, apparently for not pulling over on his bicycle as quickly as they wanted him to. After my friend Tommy Eden was nearly sideswiped by a police car while Tommy was riding his bicycle, Tommy caught up and asked for the officer's badge number. The officer ignored him, and after Tommy asked several more times, the officer got out of his car and arrested Tommy. Other friends of mine have been arrested for bicycling on the sidewalk, or for asking why somebody else was being arrested.

The physical abuse by the police in the above instances was relatively minor and did not cause permanent injuries, but they serve to prove that police do routinely abuse their power, and that it's easy for them to get away with it. Below are more stories and links with further, more serious examples."
-------------SNIP-----------
Excellent reporting!

 

Bicycle Austin talks about Police Misconduct

"Here's the complete excerpt about Lance Armstrong's remarks about cycling in Austin, from the Austin American-Statesman, 8-4-01:

On Friday, he met with members of the congressional Bike Caucus in Washington, lamenting Austin's lightning growth and traffic problems.
"A city like Austin is growing so much, cycling is ruined there," he told U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, and other members of the group. "In just 10 years -- ruined. A place like Boulder, Colorado, is just ruined, also."

It's no surprise that Armstrong feels this way, given that a redneck tried to run him over with his truck in 1998."
------------IBID---------
"#3: CREATING THE HELMET ORDINANCE AND FAILING TO FULLY REPEAL IT
A couple of years ago the City Council created what was probably the most unpopular ordinance in Austin history when it enacted the bicycle helmet ordinance. But the council didn't just ignore the will of the people, it ignored the facts -- that on average, only 1-4 cyclists die in Austin each year, that some of those who die were wearing helmets ANYWAY, that many more pedestrians and motorists die than cyclists and THEY don't have to wear helmets, that motorcyclists are not required to wear helmets, etc. Disturbingly, the council felt it was more important to try to force the use of a piece of equipment that *might* help us once we've been hit rather than PREVENTING US FROM GETTING HIT IN THE FIRST PLACE (by getting cars out of bike lanes, by funding the Bicycle Program, etc.). Also disturbingly, the council was completely unconcerned that its local police was using the helmet ordinance as an excuse to arrest cyclists left and right and throw them in JAIL. (And for comparison, when was the last time you heard of a motorist being not just ticketed, but taken to JAIL for not wearing a seatbelt?) And despite the fact that at the time 70% of the no-helmet tickets given to kids were given to black & Hispanic kids, the council kept the helmet ordinance intact for kids when amending it. An advocate from the League of Bicycling Voters informed me that councilmember Slusher refused a compromise on the helmet ordinance which would have kept the ordinance but removed the penalties, since Slusher insisted on having a punitive ordinance. I also witnessed Slusher misleading the citizenry at the helmet ordinance hearing and tricking them into giving up their speaking time, promising that a "repeal" was imminent, when in fact the council intended not to repeal but rather to amend, and kept the law intact for kids. Here again, the council deserves blame and not credit."

#4: POLICE HARASSMENT
I've lost count of how many cyclists I've met who were ARRESTED for minor traffic infractions. Not just ticketed, but ARRESTED. Just recently my friend Jennifer Sigman was arrested and taken to jail for riding her bicycle on the sidewalk downtown. The police in this City have no accountability to anyone. The council's compromise earlier this year was basically worthless since it did not provide for a Citizen's Review Board. This is a major failing of the council. Here again, the council deserves blame and not credit.


#5: MOTORISTS WHO HIT CYCLISTS DON'T FACE CONSEQUENCES
About half of the serious car-bike collisions in Austin are hit & runs. The council's continuing treatment of cyclists as second-class citizens only reinforces that same mindset in motorists and makes them unconcerned about hitting or even killing us. These hit & run motorists don't face any consequences because nobody knows who they are and they're never caught. But even when the motorists are known, often nothing will happen to them. Police officers routinely fail to ticket or charge drivers who injure cyclists even when the drivers are clearly at fault. And even though the Tom Churchill case made it to a grand jury, the grand jury failed to indict the motorist although he was clearly at-fault. The council could set an example for the police and grand jurors by treating cycling and cyclists with respect, but through antagonistic action (e.g., the helmet ordinance) and lack of action in other areas (e.g., cars in bike lanes, funding for the Bicycle Program), it helps foster the attitude that cyclists don't matter. Here again, the council deserves blame and not credit.

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2004   Saturday, September 25, 2004   Monday, September 27, 2004   Tuesday, September 28, 2004   Wednesday, September 29, 2004   Thursday, September 30, 2004   Friday, October 01, 2004   Saturday, October 02, 2004   Sunday, October 03, 2004   Monday, October 04, 2004   Tuesday, October 05, 2004   Wednesday, October 06, 2004   Thursday, October 07, 2004   Friday, October 08, 2004   Saturday, October 09, 2004   Sunday, October 10, 2004   Tuesday, October 12, 2004   Wednesday, October 13, 2004   Thursday, October 14, 2004   Friday, October 15, 2004   Saturday, October 16, 2004   Sunday, October 17, 2004   Monday, October 18, 2004   Tuesday, October 19, 2004   Wednesday, October 20, 2004   Thursday, October 21, 2004   Friday, October 22, 2004   Saturday, October 23, 2004   Sunday, October 24, 2004   Monday, October 25, 2004   Tuesday, October 26, 2004   Wednesday, October 27, 2004   Thursday, October 28, 2004   Friday, October 29, 2004   Saturday, October 30, 2004   Sunday, October 31, 2004   Monday, November 01, 2004   Tuesday, November 02, 2004   Wednesday, November 03, 2004   Thursday, November 04, 2004   Friday, November 05, 2004   Saturday, November 06, 2004   Sunday, November 07, 2004   Monday, November 08, 2004   Tuesday, November 09, 2004   Wednesday, November 10, 2004   Thursday, November 11, 2004   Friday, November 12, 2004   Saturday, November 13, 2004   Sunday, November 14, 2004   Monday, November 15, 2004   Tuesday, November 16, 2004   Wednesday, November 17, 2004   Thursday, November 18, 2004   Friday, November 19, 2004   Saturday, November 20, 2004   Sunday, November 21, 2004   Monday, November 22, 2004   Thursday, November 25, 2004   Friday, November 26, 2004   Saturday, November 27, 2004   Sunday, November 28, 2004   Tuesday, November 30, 2004   Wednesday, December 01, 2004   Thursday, December 02, 2004   Friday, December 03, 2004   Saturday, December 04, 2004   Tuesday, December 07, 2004   Wednesday, December 08, 2004   Thursday, December 09, 2004   Friday, December 10, 2004   Saturday, December 11, 2004   Sunday, December 12, 2004   Monday, December 13, 2004   Tuesday, December 14, 2004   Wednesday, December 15, 2004   Thursday, December 16, 2004   Friday, December 17, 2004   Sunday, December 19, 2004   Monday, December 20, 2004   Friday, December 24, 2004   Saturday, December 25, 2004   Sunday, December 26, 2004   Wednesday, December 29, 2004   Thursday, December 30, 2004   Friday, December 31, 2004   Monday, January 03, 2005   Wednesday, January 05, 2005   Thursday, January 06, 2005   Saturday, January 08, 2005   Sunday, January 09, 2005   Tuesday, January 11, 2005   Wednesday, January 12, 2005   Thursday, January 13, 2005   Saturday, January 15, 2005   Wednesday, January 19, 2005   Friday, January 21, 2005   Saturday, January 22, 2005   Sunday, January 23, 2005   Monday, January 24, 2005   Wednesday, January 26, 2005   Thursday, January 27, 2005   Friday, January 28, 2005   Saturday, January 29, 2005   Monday, January 31, 2005   Thursday, February 03, 2005   Friday, February 04, 2005   Saturday, February 05, 2005   Sunday, February 06, 2005   Monday, February 07, 2005   Tuesday, February 08, 2005   Wednesday, February 09, 2005   Thursday, February 10, 2005   Friday, February 11, 2005   Saturday, February 12, 2005   Sunday, February 13, 2005   Tuesday, February 15, 2005   Thursday, February 17, 2005   Saturday, February 19, 2005   Sunday, February 20, 2005   Wednesday, February 23, 2005   Saturday, February 26, 2005   Sunday, February 27, 2005   Monday, February 28, 2005   Wednesday, March 02, 2005   Thursday, March 03, 2005   Sunday, March 06, 2005   Tuesday, March 08, 2005   Wednesday, March 09, 2005   Thursday, March 10, 2005   Friday, March 11, 2005   Saturday, March 12, 2005   Sunday, March 13, 2005   Monday, March 14, 2005   Tuesday, March 15, 2005   Wednesday, March 16, 2005   Thursday, March 17, 2005   Friday, March 18, 2005   Saturday, March 19, 2005   Thursday, March 24, 2005   Friday, March 25, 2005   Saturday, March 26, 2005   Sunday, March 27, 2005   Wednesday, March 30, 2005   Thursday, March 31, 2005   Friday, April 01, 2005   Saturday, April 02, 2005   Sunday, April 03, 2005   Wednesday, April 06, 2005   Thursday, April 07, 2005   Saturday, April 09, 2005   Sunday, April 10, 2005   Monday, April 11, 2005   Thursday, April 14, 2005   Saturday, April 16, 2005   Sunday, April 17, 2005   Monday, April 18, 2005   Wednesday, April 20, 2005   Thursday, April 21, 2005   Friday, April 22, 2005   Saturday, April 23, 2005   Sunday, April 24, 2005   Tuesday, April 26, 2005   Friday, April 29, 2005   Saturday, April 30, 2005   Sunday, May 01, 2005   Monday, May 02, 2005   Tuesday, May 03, 2005   Wednesday, May 04, 2005   Thursday, May 05, 2005   Friday, May 06, 2005   Sunday, May 08, 2005   Wednesday, May 11, 2005   Thursday, May 12, 2005   Friday, May 13, 2005   Sunday, May 15, 2005   Monday, May 16, 2005   Wednesday, May 18, 2005   Thursday, May 19, 2005   Friday, May 20, 2005   Saturday, May 21, 2005   Sunday, May 22, 2005   Monday, May 23, 2005   Tuesday, May 24, 2005   Wednesday, May 25, 2005   Thursday, May 26, 2005   Friday, May 27, 2005   Saturday, May 28, 2005   Sunday, May 29, 2005   Monday, May 30, 2005   Tuesday, May 31, 2005   Wednesday, June 01, 2005   Thursday, June 02, 2005   Friday, June 03, 2005   Saturday, June 04, 2005   Sunday, June 05, 2005   Monday, June 06, 2005   Tuesday, June 07, 2005   Wednesday, June 08, 2005   Thursday, June 09, 2005   Friday, June 10, 2005   Sunday, June 12, 2005   Tuesday, June 14, 2005   Thursday, June 16, 2005   Friday, June 17, 2005   Saturday, June 18, 2005   Sunday, June 19, 2005   Monday, June 20, 2005   Tuesday, June 21, 2005   Thursday, June 23, 2005   Saturday, June 25, 2005   Sunday, June 26, 2005   Tuesday, June 28, 2005   Wednesday, June 29, 2005   Thursday, June 30, 2005   Friday, July 01, 2005   Saturday, July 02, 2005   Monday, July 04, 2005   Wednesday, July 06, 2005   Thursday, July 07, 2005   Saturday, July 09, 2005   Sunday, July 10, 2005   Friday, July 15, 2005   Sunday, July 17, 2005   Tuesday, July 19, 2005   Wednesday, July 20, 2005   Thursday, July 21, 2005   Saturday, July 23, 2005   Sunday, July 24, 2005   Tuesday, August 02, 2005   Thursday, August 04, 2005   Friday, August 05, 2005   Saturday, August 13, 2005   Wednesday, August 24, 2005   Friday, August 26, 2005   Saturday, August 27, 2005   Saturday, September 03, 2005   Wednesday, September 07, 2005   Thursday, September 08, 2005   Saturday, September 24, 2005   Wednesday, September 28, 2005   Wednesday, October 19, 2005   Thursday, October 20, 2005   Friday, October 21, 2005   Sunday, October 23, 2005   Wednesday, November 02, 2005   Monday, November 21, 2005   Wednesday, November 23, 2005   Friday, December 02, 2005   Saturday, December 10, 2005   Saturday, December 17, 2005   Sunday, December 18, 2005   Monday, December 19, 2005   Wednesday, December 21, 2005   Wednesday, January 04, 2006   Friday, January 06, 2006   Monday, January 09, 2006   Monday, January 16, 2006   Tuesday, January 17, 2006   Friday, January 20, 2006   Sunday, January 22, 2006   Saturday, January 28, 2006   Tuesday, January 31, 2006   Wednesday, February 01, 2006   Thursday, February 02, 2006   Wednesday, February 08, 2006   Thursday, February 09, 2006   Friday, February 10, 2006   Saturday, February 11, 2006   Sunday, February 12, 2006   Monday, February 13, 2006   Tuesday, February 14, 2006   Wednesday, February 15, 2006   Thursday, February 16, 2006   Saturday, February 18, 2006   Monday, February 20, 2006   Wednesday, February 22, 2006   Thursday, February 23, 2006   Sunday, March 05, 2006   Tuesday, March 07, 2006   Friday, March 24, 2006   Saturday, March 25, 2006   Wednesday, April 05, 2006   Thursday, April 06, 2006   Friday, April 07, 2006   Saturday, April 08, 2006   Tuesday, April 11, 2006   Monday, April 17, 2006   Tuesday, April 25, 2006   Thursday, April 27, 2006   Tuesday, May 09, 2006   Friday, May 12, 2006   Saturday, May 13, 2006   Sunday, May 14, 2006   Monday, May 15, 2006   Tuesday, May 16, 2006   Thursday, May 18, 2006   Friday, May 26, 2006   Sunday, May 28, 2006   Monday, May 29, 2006   Wednesday, May 31, 2006   Thursday, June 01, 2006   Sunday, June 04, 2006   Monday, June 05, 2006   Friday, June 09, 2006   Saturday, June 10, 2006   Sunday, June 11, 2006   Friday, June 16, 2006   Monday, June 19, 2006   Friday, June 23, 2006   Sunday, June 25, 2006   Tuesday, June 27, 2006   Wednesday, June 28, 2006   Friday, June 30, 2006   Sunday, July 09, 2006   Thursday, July 13, 2006   Friday, July 14, 2006   Saturday, July 15, 2006   Monday, July 17, 2006   Tuesday, July 18, 2006   Wednesday, July 19, 2006   Tuesday, July 25, 2006   Wednesday, July 26, 2006   Friday, July 28, 2006   Sunday, July 30, 2006   Monday, July 31, 2006   Thursday, August 03, 2006   Friday, August 04, 2006   Sunday, August 06, 2006   Monday, August 07, 2006   Wednesday, August 09, 2006   Thursday, August 10, 2006   Sunday, August 13, 2006   Tuesday, August 15, 2006   Thursday, August 17, 2006   Friday, August 18, 2006   Wednesday, September 06, 2006   Friday, September 08, 2006   Monday, September 11, 2006   Wednesday, September 13, 2006   Thursday, September 14, 2006   Friday, September 22, 2006   Saturday, September 23, 2006   Sunday, October 01, 2006   Tuesday, October 03, 2006   Monday, October 30, 2006   Monday, November 06, 2006   Tuesday, November 07, 2006   Sunday, November 12, 2006   Tuesday, November 21, 2006   Wednesday, November 22, 2006   Thursday, November 23, 2006   Friday, December 01, 2006   Monday, December 04, 2006   Tuesday, December 05, 2006   Thursday, December 14, 2006   Wednesday, December 20, 2006   Thursday, December 21, 2006   Friday, December 29, 2006   Wednesday, January 10, 2007   Thursday, January 11, 2007   Saturday, January 13, 2007   Monday, January 15, 2007   Wednesday, January 17, 2007   Saturday, January 20, 2007   Tuesday, January 23, 2007   Tuesday, February 20, 2007   Saturday, February 24, 2007   Sunday, February 25, 2007   Friday, March 23, 2007   Wednesday, April 04, 2007   Tuesday, April 10, 2007   Thursday, April 12, 2007   Friday, April 13, 2007   Thursday, April 19, 2007   Friday, April 20, 2007   Tuesday, April 24, 2007   Tuesday, May 08, 2007   Thursday, May 10, 2007   Friday, May 11, 2007   Monday, May 14, 2007   Tuesday, May 15, 2007   Sunday, May 20, 2007   Monday, May 21, 2007   Tuesday, May 22, 2007   Wednesday, May 23, 2007   Thursday, May 24, 2007   Sunday, May 27, 2007   Wednesday, May 30, 2007   Thursday, May 31, 2007   Friday, June 01, 2007   Monday, June 04, 2007   Wednesday, June 06, 2007   Saturday, June 09, 2007   Sunday, June 10, 2007   Monday, June 11, 2007   Friday, June 15, 2007   Tuesday, June 19, 2007   Tuesday, June 26, 2007   Wednesday, June 27, 2007   Thursday, June 28, 2007   Saturday, June 30, 2007   Monday, July 02, 2007   Tuesday, July 03, 2007   Friday, July 06, 2007   Tuesday, July 10, 2007   Friday, July 13, 2007   Tuesday, July 24, 2007   Saturday, July 28, 2007   Sunday, July 29, 2007   Monday, August 13, 2007   Sunday, August 19, 2007   Saturday, August 25, 2007   Monday, August 27, 2007   Wednesday, August 29, 2007   Friday, August 31, 2007   Friday, September 07, 2007   Wednesday, September 12, 2007   Wednesday, September 19, 2007   Friday, September 21, 2007   Friday, September 28, 2007   Tuesday, October 02, 2007   Thursday, October 11, 2007   Saturday, October 27, 2007   Thursday, November 01, 2007   Saturday, November 03, 2007   Monday, November 05, 2007   Wednesday, November 28, 2007   Tuesday, December 04, 2007   Tuesday, December 11, 2007   Friday, December 14, 2007   Friday, December 21, 2007   Tuesday, December 25, 2007   Saturday, December 29, 2007   Monday, January 07, 2008   Thursday, January 10, 2008   Saturday, January 12, 2008   Sunday, January 13, 2008   Tuesday, January 15, 2008   Friday, January 18, 2008   Saturday, January 19, 2008   Friday, January 25, 2008   Sunday, January 27, 2008   Monday, January 28, 2008   Tuesday, January 29, 2008   Sunday, February 03, 2008   Wednesday, February 06, 2008   Friday, February 08, 2008   Sunday, February 10, 2008   Monday, February 11, 2008   Tuesday, February 12, 2008   Monday, February 25, 2008   Tuesday, February 26, 2008   Monday, March 03, 2008   Tuesday, March 04, 2008   Saturday, March 22, 2008   Saturday, April 19, 2008   Wednesday, April 23, 2008   Saturday, April 26, 2008   Wednesday, April 30, 2008   Monday, May 05, 2008   Tuesday, May 13, 2008   Wednesday, May 14, 2008   Saturday, May 17, 2008   Tuesday, May 20, 2008   Saturday, May 24, 2008   Sunday, May 25, 2008   Thursday, June 12, 2008   Tuesday, June 17, 2008   Saturday, July 05, 2008   Tuesday, July 08, 2008   Monday, August 04, 2008   Thursday, August 28, 2008   Thursday, September 11, 2008   Saturday, September 20, 2008   Monday, September 22, 2008   Tuesday, September 23, 2008   Wednesday, September 24, 2008   Friday, September 26, 2008   Monday, September 29, 2008   Saturday, October 04, 2008   Wednesday, October 08, 2008   Thursday, October 09, 2008   Sunday, October 12, 2008   Wednesday, October 15, 2008   Wednesday, October 22, 2008   Thursday, October 23, 2008   Friday, October 24, 2008   Tuesday, October 28, 2008   Wednesday, October 29, 2008   Monday, November 03, 2008   Tuesday, November 04, 2008   Thursday, November 06, 2008   Saturday, November 08, 2008   Monday, November 10, 2008   Wednesday, November 19, 2008   Thursday, December 18, 2008   Monday, December 22, 2008   Sunday, January 11, 2009   Thursday, January 22, 2009   Monday, January 26, 2009   Thursday, February 19, 2009   Tuesday, February 24, 2009   Friday, February 27, 2009   Monday, March 02, 2009   Thursday, March 05, 2009   Wednesday, March 11, 2009   Thursday, March 12, 2009   Friday, March 13, 2009   Thursday, March 19, 2009   Monday, March 23, 2009   Friday, March 27, 2009   Saturday, March 28, 2009   Sunday, March 29, 2009   Thursday, April 02, 2009   Tuesday, April 07, 2009   Tuesday, April 14, 2009   Tuesday, April 21, 2009   Thursday, April 23, 2009   Saturday, April 25, 2009   Sunday, May 03, 2009   Wednesday, May 06, 2009   Tuesday, May 12, 2009   Wednesday, May 13, 2009   Thursday, May 14, 2009   Sunday, May 17, 2009   Tuesday, May 26, 2009   Wednesday, June 03, 2009   Thursday, June 04, 2009   Tuesday, June 09, 2009   Friday, June 12, 2009   Saturday, June 13, 2009   Sunday, June 14, 2009   Monday, June 22, 2009   Thursday, June 25, 2009   Saturday, July 11, 2009   Tuesday, July 14, 2009   Friday, July 24, 2009   Tuesday, August 18, 2009   Wednesday, August 19, 2009   Friday, August 21, 2009   Monday, August 24, 2009   Thursday, September 03, 2009   Wednesday, September 09, 2009   Thursday, September 10, 2009   Sunday, September 13, 2009   Monday, September 14, 2009   Tuesday, September 15, 2009   Wednesday, September 23, 2009   Friday, September 25, 2009   Sunday, September 27, 2009   Tuesday, September 29, 2009   Monday, November 02, 2009   Tuesday, November 10, 2009   Thursday, November 12, 2009   Tuesday, November 24, 2009   Thursday, February 25, 2010   Thursday, March 04, 2010   Wednesday, March 17, 2010   Tuesday, March 23, 2010   Friday, April 09, 2010   Friday, April 16, 2010   Wednesday, April 21, 2010   Thursday, April 22, 2010   Friday, April 23, 2010   Thursday, April 29, 2010   Sunday, May 02, 2010   Friday, May 07, 2010   Sunday, May 09, 2010   Monday, May 10, 2010   Tuesday, May 11, 2010   Tuesday, June 15, 2010  

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