Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What Happened This Time?

In Bay City Michigan a 15 year old boy was killed by police officers. Now I really don't know enough to say whether or not the policemen should be punished or if it was an issue of poor training and not understanding his equipment, or if even the department itself had been properly trained with this weapon. Here is a problem; in America you are innocent until proven guilty unless you are charged with a hate crime, sexual misconduct, or police brutality. The taser is not a tool, it is a weapon and police officers need to start thinking of it as a weapon or more of this nonsense is going to happen.

I know nothing about the boy in question except that he weighed less than 150 pounds and was intoxicated at the time. He did scuffle with the officers but he didn't deserve to die. My belief is that the officers were not properly trained with the TASER and the officers in question misjudged it. The taser is a valuable weapon in the police arsenal and it does not need to be removed. The police need to be better trained in when to use it and when not to. The fact that it is painful is what makes it useful; we want criminals to be terrified of the taser as that would make them more likely to surrender without a fight but clearly it should not be used on teenagers except under extraordinary conditions (There are teen-agers who are more violent and dangerous than most adults and police need more leeway with these "kids" but the young man in question obviously wasn't.

Keep the taser but make sure that the police officers know what it can do and when not to use it. Keep in mind that police officers have the responsibility to keep us collectively and individually safe and they risk their lives regularly to do it. Give them whatever equipment they need and make sure they are properly trained in its use.

I have spoken to my brother in Bay City about this and he told me a lot but nothing that could be confirmed by outside sources at this point. From what he said there is clearly more to the story than the "police brutality" screamers are telling us. If what he told me is true, not gossip, then the charge of police brutality is pushing it just a little. I need more confirmation though.

Here is a link to the Chief of Police in Bay City discussing this tragedy.

Update: Unconfirmed but I have been told that the boy was totally out of control. There were several adults in the house trying to control him before the police were even called. When the police arrived he launched himself at them. If this is indeed the case then the police should be exonerated.

30 Comments:

Blogger Z said...

They need to be better trained AND they need to have people understand they have families, too, and that they don't want to die from being scuffled with by some young drunk punk who they don't know has a weapon or not, probably.
His family will now be millionaires, what to do you want to bet. So sad.
And the cops, who certainly didn't mean to kill anybody, could be stripped of their jobs or worse.

And, as we prosecute cops, giving the benefit of the doubt less to them than the criminal, time and time again (especially here in LA, believe me), I keep wondering how we'll ever get men to protect us in the future....

8:48 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

Z No arguments here. My writing reads more critical of the police than I meant it to be. I feel more pity for the officers than I do the kid and if they had been better trained they would not be in this predicament.

11:15 PM  
Blogger Chuck said...

This is a tough call. I have seen a lot of teens that are totally out of control. I have also seen cops that are cowboys. Clearly neither are representative of the groups. It's always tough without all of the info.

11:25 PM  
Blogger Pasadena Closet Conservative said...

It's really impossible to know what led up to the police officers shooting the boy over the course of a couple of miliseconds. I presume there will be an intensive investigation.

There was a shooting here in Pasadena last month that ended up with one young man dead. Everybody is waiting on the results of the investigations, which are being conducted by Pasadena PD, L.A. County D.A.'s Office and the FBI.

1:57 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Now I really don't know enough to say whether or not the policemen should be punished or

Exactly.

3:24 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

I read recently in the WaPo about the comeback of PCP.

PCP renders users extremely wild and very nearly impossible to arrest without the police using Draconian means. I've heard that PCP users required repeated tasering as they are nearly immune to the taser while under the influence of that particular substance.

In one local case here a few years ago, a mechanic, normally a calm and fine fellow (I knew him), was rendered permanently disabled during a scuffle with the police. Drug screenings showed PCP in his bloodstream; as a result, the police were exonerated of the brutality charges filed.

I don't automatically take the side of the police. But sometimes they have no choice but to take unusual steps when dealing with violence such as that described in this post.

7:42 AM  
Blogger I.H.S. said...

As this is a tragedy for all involved; I would agree with you shoprat on the need for more training, but I'm a little baffled that no one has questioned who was responsible for allowing the teen to get drunk in the first place. The police need to investigate that part of it as well and perhaps charge them with negligent homocide.

Blessings.

8:59 AM  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Shop: gotta disagree here. Correct, you do NOT know the full scene and, further, I do NOT generally believe much of the media any more; they have brought this on themselves. To say that the BULK of our media is "Agendist" is to be kind.

There are many 15-year-old "children" who are bigger than me. Couple that with drugs or alcohol, as IHS points out, and you MAY have 1. an individual truly out of control with 2. NO concept of his or her own mortality or any grounding in reality.

Tasers are a tool. They are NOT deadly force in and of themselves. This has been proven time and again. There are, however, due to situations where drugs and/or alcohol are "on board" where excited delirium kicks in. Of course, obviously, no 15-year-old "deserves" to die except under deadly force conditions. But you take a human body, any age, expose it to combinations of chemicals/stimulants/depressants and you have a brain that isn't processing properly coupled with a massive strain on the heart and nervous system.

I've seen this deadly combination for years and years on the street. There is NO perfect combination of tools or strategies for subduing a violent offender of most ANY age. At this point, there are simply too many "unknowns" and too many other involved factors to name here. I am hoping you didn't fall into the "ain't it awful" trap the media wishes you to.

No. You know what? It might NOT be awful. It may be an unfortunate series of steps -- the likes of which you KNOW the police will be subject to suit in any event.

BZ

10:32 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

Always on watch: There is nothing out there saying anything more than that Brett Elder had drank alcohol, there is no mention of PCP or any other drugs as of yet. Making up facts to put the police in a positive light before we know what really happened is ridiculous.

This boy was 140 pounds and 5'6". I think three cops shouldn't need to taser a kid that size. Arresting his brother at the hospital was probably a good idea, to stop him from doing something stupid but I don't think he should face any charges related to scuffling with police, who had just KILLED HIS BROTHER. Would any of you calmly obey after the police just killed your family member over a domestic tiff that got a bit out of hand? This kid did not seriously injure anybody, only the police did.
I have a son a year younger than this boy. I know I'll never be calling the police if we get into it, that's for damn sure.

I agree that the Taser is an effective weapon, but it IS lethal some of the time. It should NEVER be used unless the situation calls for deadly force. It is just not safe.

Rightly or wrongly, police are getting way more "GET DOWN ON THE GROUND!" and using excessive force because they don't have to suffer the consequences when they make a mistake. I hope this case will be different and that the officer who did this is punished to the full extent of the law. I'm affraid of the police because I know some of them that brag about "kickin' ass". They like to push people around. They also brag about driving drunk and getting let go when pulled over.

Sure, most of them are the good guys, but there are some bad apples too, and if I were the cop who killed this boy I don't know how I could live with myself.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

By the time I got here you had updated this post.

I don't know that I agree that the police should be totally exonerated, Shoprat. Three fully grown and trained policemen should have been able to tackle him. I understand not everyone out there is Jack Bauer, but still.

7:56 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Tim,
I assure you that I didn't make up any facts about the one case I know. My point was the similarities.

It is possible for an individual to be so out of control that Draconian means of subduing a suspect will lead to that suspect's death.

Are there police on the various forces who are guilty of brutality? Yes.

Nevertheless, having had the unpleasant experience some years ago of having to subdue a student who had a psychotic break in my classroom, I know that unintended consequences can follow. In the case of my altercation with the student, he wasn't permanently hurt or, God forbid, killed. But he COULD have been. Luckily, I managed to get the mirror shard away from him before he hurt himself, other students, or me.

I can't speak to the souls of the officers involved in the case cited in this post. For all we know, they are in spiritual agony over having killed a kid.

5:19 PM  
Blogger Average American said...

I would bet that the officers involved in this are really torn up over it, but I will be the last to condone or condemn their actions as I wasn't there and I don't know the whole story. I submit others in the same boat should probably feel the same way.

6:38 PM  
Blogger Z said...

IHS, good points.

Chuck...it's so easy for our media and others to look at ONE BAD COP and label them all bad, and that's happening far, far too much lately. it almost feels rigged somehow. At least around here.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Skip said...

This case is going to be a "he said- She said" everyday new info comes out and/or changes... the kid has gone from 5'3" to 5'10" and from 115 to 140#, the media has this and is running with it. Fieger is the att'y on the case and we'll never get the whole story. There were at least five "adults" in the house tha couldn't control Brett when the police were called, so maybe the officer had a real reason to taze the kid for control. I don't know both sides, I only know what is said in the news and around here (I live and work in BC) all I can say is I feel for both sides, as I am sure the officer is suffering too.
Skip

9:37 AM  
Blogger dmarks said...

Those who resist arrest are the ones who create the violent situation, and are ultimately responsible for the risk and what comes of it.

This is in clear contrast to clear-cut cases of police brutality, like the situation in New York City, where a man did not resist arrest, and was pumped full of bullets for the "crime" of pulling out his wallet.

By the way, Shoprat, did you see this story?. They should know better than to toy with shoggoth larvae.

10:01 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

"Those who resist arrest are the ones who create the violent situation, and are ultimately responsible for the risk and what comes of it."

And for this he deserves to die? I don't think so!

11:59 AM  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

When all you people come out and work the streets and see just a fraction of the calls facing the police under circumstances you couldn't possibly imagine in your most fevered of dreams, I'll take your comments a tad more seriously. Yes, there are bad cops. But, I submit, you don't know even the smallest portion of the facts in this case; you only know what the media wish you to know. Yes, THAT completely unbiased and truthful media.

BZ

12:19 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

I repeat what I said.

The kid did not deserve to die.

The police did not intentionally kill him. They underestimated the power of their weaponry.

10:37 PM  
Blogger dmarks said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:41 PM  
Blogger dmarks said...

Tim: No, he does not deserve to die. No police set out it to kill anyone. But anyone who resists arrest is escalating the risk, and increasing the liklihood of such accidental deaths. The responsibility for this lies with those who resist arrest.

Shoprat said: "The police did not intentionally kill him. They underestimated the power of their weaponry."

Yes, and resisting arrest creates such situations where such mistakes are made. The kid made a very bad decision: one that put his own life in danger. When you resist arrest and cause the police to make split-second decisions about weapons use, very bad things can happen.

Resisting arrest is a very dangerous thing to do, and it is not the fault of the police.

5:42 PM  
Blogger dmarks said...

Skip: Oh. I did not know that Feiger is on the case. So much for justice. Feiger will tell any lie necessary to see that the innocent are punished and that the guilty completely escape justice.

5:43 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Dmarks, you are wrong. There was no reason for that boy to die. Yes, you should not resist arrest, but that did NOT give them the right to use that kind of force. Did you see the youtube of the Indiana State Trooper who Tasered, in full view of a dash cam, a man for refusing to SIGN the ticket that the officer just gave him? Threatened his wife, too (if she didn't stop screaming he was going to have to "apprehend" her as well).That one got settled out of court for $40K, and oh yeah! the guys got all charges of speeding dropped. Please just let this bad publicity go away. Make all the excuses for them that you want. They know what they did and are trying their damnest to cover it up. Fieger is the perfect lawyer to hang the Bay City PD out to dry.
It will never bring that boy back.

5:46 PM  
Blogger dmarks said...

I am not wrong at all to oppose this frivilous lawsuit.

The real villain in here is Feiger. He seems an opportunity to present a fake case and get even more money.

If there was a way to prevent attorneys from lying in the courtroom, Feiger would be cleaning toilets for a living.

None of Feiger's lies and profiteering will bring the boy back, either. All he cares about is getting richer off of people's misery: he's a real ghoul. It's a tragedy precipitated by the boy's dangerous action. There is absolutely no reason to punish the cops for doing their job by clobbering them with a frivolous lawsuit.

Well, I guess there may be uses for guys like Feiger. If I ever want to become a millionaire by spilling hot coffee on my own lap, Feiger would be the perfect man to help me.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Frivilous lawsuit? Tell that to the family.

Your arguments are ridiculous, and throwing in the red herring about Fieger being an ambulance chaser have nothing to do with who killed this child.

There is every reason to punish the cops for killing a 15 year old boy. The money will not bring the boy back, but it will make Bay City think twice about letting the cops amok.

I see you believe that the police are above the law

1:52 PM  
Blogger dmarks said...

The child died due to his own bad behavior. No one ia above the law: certainly that child, who created the dangerous situation by resisting arrest.

My arguments are not "ridiculous" and have everything to do with personal responsibility. Everything in this comes down to the boy's actions. It is ridiculous to blame others and abuse the courts to harass innocent people who were only doing their job.

Z said the correct thing about persecuting those who are doing thier job:

"And, as we prosecute cops, giving the benefit of the doubt less to them than the criminal, time and time again (especially here in LA, believe me), I keep wondering how we'll ever get men to protect us in the future...."

12:17 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Here we go again! This time in Warren. Another 15 year old boy dies after being Tazered. His only crime? He ran from police. Read all about it in the Free Press (4-11-09).

These are LETHAL weapons and should only be used when lethal force is required. Not on unruly children.

Why is it that pro lifers are only worried about the unborn and not worried about the people who are already here, DMARKS?

8:35 AM  
Blogger dmarks said...

I looked at the Free Press story: " The teen resisted the three officers who followed him into the home....He was Tasered once by one of our officers"

The article also referred to him "fighting" with the officers. Sorry, assaulting police officers is unsafe!

Like when the thug goes berzerk in Midland (according to Shoprat's update) and assaulted the police.

Tasers are not lethal. They are potentially lethal. Typically, it is unusual circumstances, such as problems caused by the "tased" subject abusing drugs or something like that.

They are a lot safer than shooting perps or smashing them over the head with a nightstick. But even with these, the problem is caused 100% by those who resist arrest and assault police officers.

"Why is it that pro lifers are only worried about the unborn"

I've never known a pro-lifer who only cared for the unborn. I doubt they exist. But this is a very different subject.

10:16 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

"Tasers are not lethal. They are potentially lethal. Typically, it is unusual circumstances, such as problems caused by the "tased" subject abusing drugs or something like that."

330 people have been killed by them this year in America. Sounds like more than potentially lethal weapon to me.

Yes, he "scuffled" with police. Come on! three cops (again!) can't overpower a 15 year old without playing with their toy? They at least feel more distraught about what happened than the Bay City police. Just because you are running away or "fighting" (I bet he probably freaked out while they were trying to cuff him)you DO NOT deserve to die. There are ways of de-escalating these situations, but no, they have to escalate situations by being surly and menacing. I have seen it myself. They go around treating even a common speeder as potentially a cop killer. They are walking up to your window with their hand on their gun. If I get pulled over I get my lic. & reg out before they even get to the car. I don't want to be Tazed for reaching for "a weapon" in the glove box. What ever happened to "to serve and protect"? Who were they "protecting"? All they needed to do was ask the others in the car who this boy was and send a car over to talk to his parents. Give the kid a little while to settle down and this could all be sorted out peacefully and another needless killing could have been avoided.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sP1-sGGLwZo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsTcYYdr6Ao

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r50FIVtkqyw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWzjOKwmQMc&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NH_qVJfaYZA

On the final clip, the state of Utah settled out of court for $40,000 and all charges were dropped. I believe the officer was reassigned to "administrative duties".

12:48 PM  
Blogger dmarks said...

Scuffling. You don't have a right to assault police officers. Period. This includes 1 officer or 3. When you do, you choose to create a dangerous situation (as well as commit a serious crime). And accidents do happen in dangerous situations.

"Come on! three cops (again!) can't overpower a 15 year old without playing with their toy?"

I guess police aren't police aren't allowed to try to subdue a berzerk thug who assaults them. They might as well just shoot any perp who comes near, right? You seem to have some idea that it is supposed to be some sort of fair wrestling match. It's not supposed to be a wrestling match, period.

And without options such as tasers to stop these thugs, I guess the police might as well just shoot on sight.

Again and again you are blaming the victims who bought back when being criminally assaulted.

"All they needed to do was ask the others in the car who this boy was and send a car over to talk to his parents."

I don't hold with rewarding "fleeing and eluding". If you are confronted with the police, stop. If you flee, you should always be chased.

There are plenty of cases of police brutality. However, this has nothing to do with it when the police fight back to stop thugs who are assaulting them.

3:01 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

"Scuffling" might be writhing around a little while getting cuffed, IMHO. Besides, it is very easy for police to say he fought and it becomes, as Skip said "he said she said".

Did you look at any of the clips? Did you think it was okay when police tasered the man having a diabetic coma? I suppose that guy was a real threat, wasn't he?

What about the guy, sitting on the ground hsndcuffed, who was tased several times for not getting up. Think of all the peaceful civil disobediance (MLK) in the sixites. Should we have tased them, too? He was a threat, too, wasn't he?

You must be a cop to explain away the stuff in these dashcam videos.

Do you think police ever use excessive force? If you reply to this at the very least answer that.

Do you think police should always be obeyed no matter what?

4:43 PM  

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