December 14, 2018

Tasers becoming Aussie police weapon of choice

Taser - Great for jumpstarting a flat car battery on a cold morning.

Nine police surrounded an unarmed man at an East Perth police station watch house and used a Taser on him 13 times even though he wasn’t threatening them a Western Australian anti-corruption watchdog has found.

The Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) investigation was part of a wider look at Western Australian Police’s use of Tasers since their introduction in 2007.

While the majority of cases of Taser use were found to be reasonable the attempt to bar-b-que a prisoner was understandably seen as excessive.

The watchdog looked into the watch house incident after the Deputy Police Commissioner Chris Dawson brought it to their attention. It found the man could have been suffering from a mental illness or substance abuse when he was Tasered.

“The man had been compliant, removing his belt and earring when requested by police officers. However, the man refused to comply with a strip search and held onto the armrest of the bench. One police officer kicked out at the man in an attempt to ‘startle’ him into letting go of the bench,” the report said.

“Another officer drew his Taser weapon and said ‘let go or be Tasered’. The man did not let go and a Taser weapon was deployed on him. The man fell to the ground and was restrained by other police officers.”

While he was struggling on the ground a police officer said “do you want to go again?” before discharging the Taser again. Newswarped wonders how many of the cops would object to getting strip searched? How many would like to get a bakers dozen of 50,000 volt zaps? “Not many if any” as Scribe would say.

Police are increasingly relying on Tasers instead of guns and capsicum spray, the corruption watchdog has found. CCC director of corruption prevention Roger Watson said the incident was subject to an internal police investigation and two officers faced disciplinary charges for using undue and excessive force. Two senior officers were found to have provided inadequate supervision. Newswarped wonders if they got a sore neck from looking the other way.

The weapons are meant to be used in violent situations, to stop officers having to resort to guns or use lethal force. The CCC found police officers were reaching for their Tasers in 65 per cent of cases where force was used. This is up from 49 percent in 2007.

The use of guns had doubled in the same time-frame, rising from 6 per cent to 12 per cent and injuries to police had not decreased since the introduction of the weapons.