Taser Happy Cops at it Again…

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The Chicago Police Department is investigating an officer’s use of a Taser last month on 82-year-old Lillian Fletcher. They said she was wielding a hammer when they arrived.

Fletcher was rushed to the hospital after being jolted by a Taser, but has since been released. 

Officials with the city’s Department on Aging went to her home on Oct. 29 to make a welfare check, and called police when they saw Fletcher in a window swinging a hammer back and forth. Officers arrived and attempted to subdue Fletcher. One officer thought it was appropriate to use his Taser, according to a police department spokesman. The department is trying to determine if the officer violated department policy regarding the use of stun guns.

On Tuesday, Fletcher said officers “pushed” their way into her home. ”They shocked me,” she said.

Fletcher at times sounded confused during the telephone interview. Her granddaughter Traci Taylor told the Chicago Sun-Times that her grandmother suffers from schizophrenia and dementia.

”My grandmother is easily confused,” Taylor told the newspaper, adding that the elderly woman can be belligerent but is about 5 feet 1 and no more than 160 pounds.

Clearly a threat to the police. 

Tasers use compressed nitrogen to fire two barbed darts that can penetrate clothing to deliver a 50,000-volt shock to immobilize people.

Law enforcement officials seem to be leaning on the use of Tasers more and more as a way to subdue combative people in high-risk situations…common sense be damned.

These weapons have come under fire around the country as they have been blamed for several deaths.

Amnesty International USA has voiced concerns that police departments are starting to use Tasers more routinely rather than in cases of serious danger. Taser use by police drew national attention recently when police stunned and arrested a University of Florida student after his fervent, videotaped outburst at an event with Senator John Kerry in September.

Could it be that police simply are not exercising good judgement or are they just not intelligent enough to know where to draw the line? In this case, Tasering an 82 year old walks the line of police brutality and Fletcher is well within her rights to seek a punitive legal remedy.

The officers responsible should be fired immediately. There is no excuse for this type of wreckless bravado when dealing with defenseless citizens. It’s almost as if they are running amok with the new toy that’s the “bullet alternative.”

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Posted on November 6, 2007, in Abuse of Power, Law, Politics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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