Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest.
Excited they were, the officers of the Lancaster, Ohio police department, with their newly issued tasers. So, the day after they were armed with the fry rods, officers encountering Daniel Wood—a well-known local substance-abuser, who’d been arrested some 50 times on minor charges—well, they figured they’d give ‘em a try.
“Clearly,” said Police Chief David Bailey, “this is not the way we’d hoped to get started.”
It’s not like the officers didn’t known any better. As set forth here, an Australian man recently exploded into flames—suffering third-degree burns to his face, neck, chest, and arms—when he was electrified after sniffing gasoline.
And during four months of training, Lancaster officers were exposed to a six-page policy paper that decreed that tasers “shall not be deployed in an atmosphere where flammable fumes are present or on indivudals that are known to have come in contact with flammables[.]“
Oh well. At least Wood lived. Unlike the thus-far unidentified man who was electrocuted Thursday for fleeing an officer in a Los Angeles County subway station. Or Craig Prescott, who in April was fried to death in the Stanislaus County Jail.
Wood was sniffing fumes from an aerosol can of keyboard cleaner when he was set upon by Lancaster police officers, who chased him in and out of traffic. When the officers caught up with him, they hurled him to the ground. Not satisfied with his “compliance,” an officer then shot him in the chest with a taser. At which point Wood’s body burst into flames.
“They don’t like me in this town,” Wood said from jail, where his burns make it difficult for him to sleep.
Wood is being charged with assault on a police officer and resisting arrest, because those are the charges that are always filed when a prosecutor wishes to protect a police department from a civil lawsuit. A series of United States Supreme Court decisions crafted by the racist perjurer William Rehnquist generally prevent citizens from collecting monetary damages from police officers who have abused them, if those citizens are convicted criminally of assaulting, resisting, or disobeying those officers.
The local Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, to its credit, chided the department for its cruel buffoonery.
What concerns us most is immediately after the training was completed and the stun guns started being used in Lancaster, an officer used the stun gun in what potentially could have been a more harmful situation for suspect and the officers. The possible presence of a flammable substance (in this case the alleged aerosol fumes) could have caused more injury to the suspect and officers.
Out here in California, Craig Prescott worked for nine years as a custodial officer in the Stanislaus County Jail. He left the county sheriff’s department in 2006 after he was criminally charged with promising to supply tobacco to an inmate, although those charges were later dismissed.
On April 11 of this year, Prescott died in that same jail. He died after he was repeatedly pepper-sprayed and burnt with a taser as he was being moved from one cell to another.
As mentioned here, tasers were originally sold to the public on the lie that they would be used only in situations where officers would otherwise use a firearm to shoot to kill. On those rare occasions when an inmate is killed in jail or prison by gunfire, the news goes national. But the now-routine electrification of prisoners with tasers stays local, even when the victim dies.
An autopsy conducted by Stanislaus County officials lies that repeated jolts from the taser did not cause, or contribute to, Prescott’s death. Instead, it is claimed—as it is usually claimed when tasers kill people—that Prescott had a bad heart.
“This could’ve occurred if he had gotten into vigorous exercise,” upchucked Undersheriff Bill Heyne.
“Unbelievable,” replied Prescott’s widow, Rachel.
Rachel Prescott had originally asked officers to arrest her husband, on “suspicion” of stalking her and their six children; she hoped he would receive mental-health treatment.
“I felt my husband was in good hands,” she said.
Rachel Prescott dismissed the “vigorous exercise” bollocks from Undersheriff Heyne, noting that her husband regularly played racquetball.
Prescott’s family has commissioned a second autopsy of Prescott’s remains, which Stanislaus County officials have seized upon as an excuse to snail their investigation into his death. “That has not yet been forthcoming,” intoned jail-torture enabler and Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager. “Once we receive that report, or a confirmation that it either doesn’t exist or that they will not provide it, we will be able to complete our review.”
In the meantime, Fladager & Co. will not even disclose how many times Prescott was electrocuted, or by whom. The officers wielding the fry rods that killed Prescott have not been identified, and county officials will state only that during the initial autopsy “a few” taser marks were found on the dead man’s back.
As mentioned here, in late July, in the Canadian province of British Columbia, retired Justice Thomas Braidwood, appointed to oversee an inquiry into the use of tasers in that jurisdiction, ordered transit officers to cease shocking and burning people for evading fares.
“It would embarrass me as a Canadian,” Braidwood said, to see an officer Taser a suspect “for merely walking or running away.”
Anyone who has paid much attention over the years to law-enforcement officers down in Los Angeles knows that it is impossible to embarrass those people. And so Thursday night an unidentified law jockey in the San Fernando Valley whipped out his taser and fried three times, unto death, an unidentified man, because the miscreant failed to produce a subway ticket.
We are of course expected to believe that the dead man first “broke free,” then “raised clenched fists” and “charged the deputy several times.” Why the victim would first “break free,” and then unaccountably return to “charge,” is not explained. But then it’s early: the cops don’t have their lies straight yet.
Being that this is LA, home even of “the throw-down gun”—the practice of dropping a firearm near a dead person after that person, unarmed, has been killed by the police—a police spokespeak noted that “a pipe used to smoke drugs fell to the ground during the scuffle.”
Uh-huh. Stay tuned.