Well, what a shock (pun intended)! A police officer tasered a naked man in a cell because the suspect threw his underpants at him… and his brutality has been vindicated by a court!
Wiltshire PC Lee Birch, the cop who shot the man was cleared of assault and misconduct. He must have acted in self-defence, as everyone knows that underpants are dangerous weapons… And the victim, Daniel Dove, hadn’t even committed a crime. He had been arrested for being “drunk and disorderly” but was later released with no charge (except for the electrical charge he got from the stun gun of course). Which makes me wonder: if throwing his underpants at PC Birch was such a vicious attack that warranted use of a taser, how come he wasn’t charged for that attack? And why was Dove being strip-searched anyway? He was arrested for being drunk and disorderly, not suspicion of possessing drugs or carrying concealed weapons. It’s not routine procedure to strip-search suspects.
My guess is that Dove was pissed off for being nicked for no reason. He probably got mouthy, so the police decided to put him in his place and humiliate him by strip-searching him. Dove was naked when he threw the underpants, but police rules state that during a strip-search the suspect should never be completely naked at any one point. He should have been wearing a shirt or t-shirt when removing his underpants. Birch was deliberately humiliating him. If it happened to me, I’d probably throw more than my underpants at the cop.
Unfortunately, police are using their tasers without proper reason all over the country. Lancashire Police constable Scott Fairclough used the electro-shock weapon on the 20 year old man after he had refused to be strip-searched. The whole incident was captured on CCTV. And Fairclough’s colleagues thought the whole thing was funny! One PC was heard saying the 50,000 volt weapon would make him “glow in the dark” and produce “blue flames coming out of his eye sockets. ” And another officer commented: “Ahh did you make him cry? Couldn’t happen to a nicer person.”
The Mirror reported:
In an interview, PC Fairclough said he asked the man to remove his clothing and was met with the reply: “Don’t come in here, you’ll regret it.”
He then said that he heard a deep inhalation of breath from the man and took that as a sign he was about to attack him and activated his Taser.
However, in its report, the IPCC said the CCTV footage it had seen showed the man arrested was not showing signs of being volatile towards officers before the Taser was used.
Guidelines state officers may use the weapon “when faced with violence or threats of violence of such severity that force is needed to protect the public, themselves or the individual concerned”. I don’t see how any of these cases meet that criteria. And there are cases where taser use has been ridiculously cavalier. Another Lancashire Police officer Stuart Wright tasered a63 year old blind man, Colin Farmer, because he supposedly mistook Farmer’s white stick for a samurai sword! And Farmer clearly posed no danger to PC Wright at the time, as Mr Farmer was walking away from the cop and Wright shot him in the back.
The home office has reported that the police also use their tasers on children. Every day kids as young as 11 are being tasered!
Rachel Baines, chair of the Lancashire Police Federation, said there were “always lessons to be learned” where tasers were involved. She said: “The public still find it odd. We are under a lot of scrutiny, but it’s worth remembering that it is a less lethal option than using a baton and causes less injuries to people. We are pleased with the IPCC findings which say the uses were justified.”
Baines is missing the point here, even though she said it herself: tasers are allegedly “less lethal” but they have a horrific effect and can kill. Wikipedia says:
Tasers and other high-voltage stun devices can cause cardiac arrhythmia in susceptible subjects, possibly leading to heart attack or death in minutes by ventricular fibrillation, which leads to cardiac arrest and—if not treated immediately—to sudden death. People susceptible to this outcome are sometimes healthy and unaware of their susceptibility.
Although the medical conditions or use of illegal drugs among some of the casualties may have been the proximate cause of death, the electric shock of the Taser can significantly heighten such risk for subjects in an at-risk category. In some cases however, death occurred after Taser use coupled with the use of force alone, with no evidence of underlying medical condition and no use of drugs.
The taser is an awful weapon. The British police allow only highly trained officers to use firearms, but cops have to do little training before being issued with so-called “stun guns”. Can you imagine what it would be like if the British police were armed with guns?