Sticks in Your Craw

Every once in a while you’ll learn something about a story that unsettles you, makes you feel like there’s something really not right, that you’re not being told, going on behind the scenes.

Such is the case with the death of Baron Pikes, who was tased multiple times by the one cop in the department likely to tase people, who are likely to be black, twice after he was already dead.

There’s a lot to this story that makes you wonder if you’re getting the whole story.  A man wanted on drug charges who had no drugs in his system?  I don’t know.  I know a lot of people who use drugs and, usually, if they use drugs, they use drugs.  You know what I mean?  Yet, here a guy wanted on a drug charge dies and there are no drugs in his system–not coke, not pot, nothing.  Just seems weird.

Then, of course, there’s the officer who claims that “something happened with his body that caused him to go into cardiac arrest or whatever.”  Yes, that something would be your office repeatedly electrocuting him.  Odd.

And then, at the bottom of the CNN story, there’s the whole sordid tale of corruption within the town where this happened.  So, it makes you wonder just a little what’s going on in that town.

But elle, phd points out something I hadn’t seen before.  Pikes was Mychal Bell’s first cousin.  And doesn’t that just stick in your craw?

6 thoughts on “Sticks in Your Craw

  1. I rather strongly am of the opinion that taser use by law enforcement should be considered the same as firearm use. They really only ought to be used in situations where the use of deadly force would be authorized. The supposedly “non-lethal” attribute of the weapons have led to them being over used and this is just one of the increasingly many stories of death by the “non-lethal” weapon.

  2. Dolphin, I completely agree. I thought that tasers were supposed to be a less-lethal alternative to guns, used in those same situations, but less traumatic for both the person getting shot at (most of the time) and the person doing the shooting. I mean, let’s not forget that for most people, killing someone sucks.

    But instead, they seem to be a way for the police to torture people into compliance.

  3. The thing is, most cops carry pepper spray, unless they stopped carrying it in favor of a Taser.
    Granted, pepper spray has its drawbacks, but I would expect a cop to try the mace before resorting to the taser. i’m sure many don’t.
    Also, Kimber makes and excellent pepper spray “gun” that overcomes a lot of the drawbacks.


  4. As someone who works in EMS and often works closely with the police, let me be first to say that there are times when taser use is appropriate. There are patients/offenders who are so whacked out on God-knows-what (including unfortunate doses or combinations of prescription meds) that they exhibit superhuman strength and uncontrollability to the point where they are a danger to both themselves and others. Then there are just some really strong offenders who will not go down without a herculean struggle. While tasing such individuals does put them at heightened risk of cardiac arrest, allowing them to flail about when they need to be restrained and treated does them no good and risks injury to those trying to control the situation.

    The problem is in stories like this one, where there is just a preponderance of shit that stinks to high heaven: a small town government with a very recent history of corruption; a police force with a record of using tasers almost exclusively against negroes; an officer (son of a corrupt public official) who accounts for the majority of those tasing incidents; and the coroner’s report. Not to mention the victim’s cousin being a regional poster child for violent white backlash.

    The sad thing is that it’s 2008 and so much of our country is still quite visibly stuck in the 1920s.

  5. I think police forces all over are using these things like kids with a new toy. Here in Canada, it seems like we have a report of the police using a taser and killing the tasered person every week.
    I think the one that sickened me the most(in Canada anyways) was the Polish immigrant in Vancouver airport. His mother had immigrated here first and he followed after a few years after they had saved the money for his travel. When he arrived in Vancouver, he didn’t speak much/any English, was disoriented and a little agitated. They ended up tasing him instead of trying to find someone to communicate with him and he died on the floor of customs, with his mother waiting outside the area for him.
    Then there was the 82 year old man In a hospital, I think, and a number of others in between. The latest is a 17 year old boy in Winnipeg. Granted, from the news reports he did seem to be resisting arrest and not following police orders. Wouldn’t you think though, with all the issues with tasers lately, as a cop you might think twice about using a weapon that has the potential to kill the person you are using it on? Of course I may also be naive and live a somewhat sheltered life and certainly don’t know what it is like to be a cop facing these choices everyday. As much as my job sucks, I don’t have to worry too much about someone trying to kill me. I think the boy’s mother also had a good point, she has been reported as saying that the cop may as well have used his gun, the same results would apply.
    Sorry for rambling, but this is a topic that bothers me.

  6. No, no problem. It bothers me, too. Like CS says, there are some folks who are so out of their heads that having a less-lethal way of dropping them so that they are not a danger to themselves and others is important. So I don’t support efforts to outlaw tasers.

    On the other hand, though, I’d like to see evidence that police take seriously that this is not a non-lethal weapon, but just a weapon that’s less lethal than a gun and that they should not use it unless their other choice would be to pull a gun. Certainly tasing a person who’s almost dead in the back of a squad car does not meet that standard.

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