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?
Previous readers of I HATE HATE!!! may have seen my post of 27 Jan about the German sport “Camover” – an multi-player offline game that consists of destroying CCTV cameras. It’s a good idea, but unfortunately the puny, cowardly ISPs have been closing down sites thst are connected to it.
But never fear: here is a FAQ on a site about Camover: http://camover.noblogs.org/faq/faq-in-english/. Unfortunately, vlosing date for the original Camover game’s closing date was in February, and as far as I can tell, it’s now gone.
But why can’t we resurrect it? Make it international. CCTV is evil, and I live in the UK, a police state with probably most cameras in the world. So let’s do it!! Anyone interested, leave Comments or get me via Contact Form. CCTV is EVIL. So let’s kill the thing!!
I am a member of online campaign groups like 38 Degrees and Open Rights Group. These are groups that ask members what campaigns it should get involved with, then the group will call on its members to send to local MPs. ministers and other such, so our will is focused and targeted and helps ensure that the government and others can’t just ignore us. Divided we are nothing. United we can do anything… well, the government can’t just ignore us.
My local MP is the Tory Robin Walker. Incidentally, his late father Peter Walker (1932-2010) was MP for Worcester until 1992, when he resigned as MP and was sent to the House of Lords to do his masters’ work. Robin has been a pretty engaged MP – he has replied to every email I’ve sent him (he uses official House of Commons writing paper and envelopes – you would have thought that Parliament had discouraged use of snail mail) but only once has he expressed agreement with my point, about the Defamation Bill). Most recently he sent me a (probably form) letter telling me how important it was that the government keep my communication and other logs for all eternity just in case I were a terrorist or paedophile. He wrote:
Communications data is vital for the police in their fight against crime, including serious offences, such as child abuse, drug-dealing and terrorism.
Note the use of the “big 3″: child abuse, drug-dealing and terrorism”. The suggestion is that opposing the Data Communications Data Bill is, or supports, nonces, pushers and suicide bombers. Thanks Robin; yet another reason to avoid voting for him when the general election comes round.
Right now, I don’t have a clue who’ll get my vote: it won’t be the Conservatives, the Lib Dems are no longer a viable choice…if Ed Miliband can drag Labour back to the left I might put my mark by his name; but how likely will that happen?
Brits are wage-slaves, with mortgages and their children’s educations keeping the populace keeping their nose to the stone, while bankers, corporate directors and other vested interests keep their money in tax havens. But don’t worry: the Conservatives want your personal data, phone logs, emails, bowel movements, whatever, stored for all eternity in a massive computer system that probably fail (as do most government-contracted computer systems do). We’re stuck with this situation unless someone does something about it.
Who’s your MP? Does he care about you? I’d love to see along string of Comments to this post, telling us how our MPs act for our best interests. And my current voting advice regarding the next election: go to the voting station, spoil your ballot (I like to write at the bottom of the voting card “None of the above” and a X in a box next to it), put it in the black box, and be on your way. This is not apathy, this is showing the establishment that the status quo must end.
Tory Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell: why don’t they put 50,000 volts up his ass?
In the first Prime Minister’s Questions session since Tory Chief Whip swore at police officers and called them “plebs”, Cameron has defended Andrew Mitchell against calls from the Opposition that his position is now untenable.
Ed Miliband, leader of the opposition Labour party, said in PMQs that Mitchell should be sacked. After all, as London mayor Boris Johnson said in last year’s Conservative convention, anyone who swears at a police officer must expect to be arrested as part of a zero-tolerance approach. One rule for the yobs, another for the elite, pointed out Miliband (though he didn’t really need to point this out – the elite have always enjoyed a cosy relationship with the forces of law and order, as well Ed knows, having been a member of tha t elite for quite some time).
It will be mildly interesting to see what’s done about Mitchell. Only mildly, because whatever is done ain’t gonna amount to a hill of beans. Slapped wrists, grudging “apologies”, then a donkey in Blackpool will bray the National Anthem or something and Mitchell’s tribulations will be yesterday’s news. No one cares, cos everyone knows there’s no point in caring.
Another mildly interesting story in the Guardian today is that a copper shot a blind man in the back with a 50,000 volt taser because he apparently thought the man’s white stick was a samurai sword. WTF? Ch Supt Stuart Williams, of Lancashire police, said the force deeply regretted the incident, in an apology as grudgingly given as Mitchell’s, then went on to explain:
Police had “received a number of reports that a man was walking through Chorley armed with a samurai sword”.
A description of the offender was circulated to officers and patrols were sent to look for the man. One of the officers who arrived in Chorley believed he had located the offender. Despite asking the man to stop, he failed to do so and the officer discharged his Taser.
Colin Farmer, the 61-year old victim of this electrocution said he was taking a slow walk to meet some friends when he became aware of some shouting. Next thing he knew, he had been zapped to the ground and forcibly restrained by an anonymous officer (anonymous cos the police ain’t telling and Farmer can’t identify the dickhead since he’s blind).
Ch Supt Williams said that as soon as officers realised their mistake, they took care of Hunter and gave him a lift to meet his friends. That was big of them, considering they could have killed the guy. Hunter, obviously not a young man, has already had two strokes and lives in fear of a third. And how in heck does a police officer mistake a blind man’s white stick for a samurai sword? I thought the whole point of the white stick was so people would realise its carrier was blind. But now, if I were blind, I’d be too scared to take my stick out with me. Who knows, maybe it’ll be a Heckler & Koch MP5 submachinegun used on the next unfortunate victim of mindless police brutality. Insanity.
PC Simon Harwood, a member of the Met’s infamous “Territorial Support Group”, is a killer. Nothing libellous about that claim: he dodged the bullet that was the charge of the manslaughter of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 demo in London (and remember, Tomlinson was not a demonstrator but merely a member of the public trying to get home after a day’s work), but the jury for the inquest into Tomlinson’s death found that he’d been “unlawfully killed” by the police officer – and the inquest jury came to this conclusion after seeing and hearing evidence just like that used in the subsequent trial. So PC Harwood is a killer, who unlawfully killed Ian Tomlinson by way of a cowardly attack from behind. Coward and killer – I foresee a successful career for him in the police. How come he hasn’t been promoted yet?
Of course, Harwood is just one of a great many police officers who have killed people and gotten away with it scott free. According to a Guardian article today, no police officer has been convicted of manslaughter for a crime committed while on duty since 1986, though since then hundreds have died in police custody or soon after contact with the police. It was only because of Tomlinson’s family’s tenacity, the accumulation of evidence against Harwood and, perhaps most crucially, the video of the attack made by an American tourist, that Harwood was taken to court. And still he got away with it. Many many people have been killed by the police, but these slayings are never even investigated, never mind prosecuted. In her piece for the Guardian, Nadine El-Enany goes on:
Harwood’s actions were not exceptional. Not only have hundreds died in police custody, but also police violence at public events is commonplace, most recently during the student demonstrations of 2010, during which anti-fees protesters were charged at by officers on horses, atacked with batons and kettled late into the night. In a statement today, Defend the Right to Protest has highlighted the importance of “supporting all those in their struggle to hold the police accountable for their actions, whether on demonstrations, in our communities or in custody”.
Until the pyschopaths and thugs, potential killers, or actual killers like Harwood, are sacked from the force, until the police abandon such brutal forms of crowd control tactics like kettling, and accept that the right to free assembly and to demonstrate are clear-cut human rights, trust in the police will continue to fall. How can we trust and respect people like Harwood to defend us?