ONTD Political

Death of teen on bike shows risks of expanded use of Tasers

12:42 pm - 07/31/2010

WARNING: This video does contain footage of a teen being run over, but I recommend watching it to get an idea of the story if you don't have time right now to read the article.

Late one night in October, a 17-year-old on a bike was chased by a police officer in a cruiser. When the boy refused to stop, the officer aimed his Taser out the driver's window and fired. The boy fell off the bike and the cruiser ran over him, killing him.

Victor Steen was the fourth person who died in Florida in 2009 in an incident in which a Taser was used. It was the 57th such death since 2001, according to statistics compiled by Amnesty International and the St. Petersburg Times. At the time this placed Florida first in the nation as the state with the most fatalities related to Tasers, a weapon that delivers an incapacitating electrical jolt.

Number 54 was a mentally ill man in Fort Lauderdale who was hit with a Taser in April as he wandered in traffic, refusing to go with police. He had a heart attack and died at a hospital.

Number 55 occurred in Bradenton one week before Victor's death. Police tried to stop him because he didn't have a light on his bicycle. When he ran, police hit him with a Taser. He died within 35 minutes. The autopsy showed heart disease and a small amount of cocaine in his system.

Four days later, police in Panama City fired a Taser "at least twice" at a man who tried to conceal cocaine by swallowing it. He went into cardiac arrest and died.

Taser International, the maker of the weapon, denies that these deaths were caused by its product. Yet, these four unconnected cases illustrate a worrisome trend in Taser use.

There is no question that Tasers frequently save lives by offering law enforcement officers a nonlethal means of stopping people who present a threat to the officers, the public or themselves. But as the four fatal cases from 2009 show, Tasers are also being used to subdue people who appear to pose no threat.

more @ source

this story is way too long for me to go in and bold at appropriate places, but it's definitely worth reading.

i've posted the first part. the second part is a description of the accident, the third is about the funeral, questions of racial profiling and a description that the officers may have planted a gun on steen, the fourth is about the trial and the fifth is a police officer/research scientist giving his thoughts on the case.
nicole_anell 31st-Jul-2010 07:06 pm (UTC)
Holy shit, I don't know if I can bear to watch this.

There is no question that Tasers frequently save lives
I question that, actually.
iolarah 31st-Jul-2010 07:07 pm (UTC)
So would Robert Dziekański's mom :(
petalsinthewind 31st-Jul-2010 07:30 pm (UTC)
wth wth wth
futurebird so sad31st-Jul-2010 07:48 pm (UTC)
Ard would later say that he tried to stop Victor because he had seen him at a construction site and thought he may have stolen something. But witness Victor Stallworth said he saw Victor ride his bicycle past the construction site without stopping. Months later, Ard gave investigators a different reason for stopping Victor: He didn't have a light on his bike — only two reflectors.

So you tased him and ran him over? WTF.
goblinthebamf Re: so sad31st-Jul-2010 11:06 pm (UTC)

*reads more at the source*


aiugh ok just a tiny bit ragey now.
arisma 31st-Jul-2010 08:35 pm (UTC)
Something needs to change. Something big needs to happen. I can't even fathom what it's going to take.
tiddlywinks103 31st-Jul-2010 09:19 pm (UTC)
Tbh, I'm less about the taser at this point than the running over, and suspicious planting of evidence done by the police. The taser was just a means to just how fucked up these cops acted. I'm kinda enraged right now.
illusivevenstar 31st-Jul-2010 09:29 pm (UTC)
I really don't want to watch someone get run over, sorry.
bludstone 31st-Jul-2010 09:37 pm (UTC)
My favorite part is when they cleared the cop of any wrongdoing.
notgarystu 31st-Jul-2010 09:48 pm (UTC)
The fuck. I can't even.
doe_witch 31st-Jul-2010 10:09 pm (UTC)

too horrifying; didn't watch
havealemon 31st-Jul-2010 10:19 pm (UTC)
The good thing about tasers is that getting a shot from one is less likely to kill or seriously hurt you than a shot from a gun.

BUT that bad thing is that because the police believe this and because they're easy to use, they use them for any fucking thing (even for some kid that didn't have bike lights) thereby raising the number of injuries and fatalities.
varhan 31st-Jul-2010 10:49 pm (UTC)
ive seen worse
stoichiometric 31st-Jul-2010 10:55 pm (UTC)
worse what?
suwiel 1st-Aug-2010 12:56 am (UTC)
The taser didn't kill him, though. The officer who ran him over did. So...?
mellieebelliee 1st-Aug-2010 01:08 am (UTC)

And curious:

What did this kid supposedly do besides run?
supermouse 1st-Aug-2010 02:31 am (UTC)
Wow, that's a lot of people who think that, if someone runs from a cop, the cop should be allowed to do whatever it takes to bring them down.
rhonan 1st-Aug-2010 05:25 am (UTC)
Well, you can't blame the Tazer because the cop ran him over. What gets me is clearing the guy. Any cop that stupid should be off the force.
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