Friday, July 16, 2010

Today's TASER Travesty

A couple of cases of less-than-professional police officers getting a little taste of their own medicine:

1.  Phoenix, Arizona police officer Seth Samuel Castillo has filed a $500,000 notice of claim against the nearby city of Gilbert alleging excessive force and the violation of his Fourth Amendment rights because officers in that burg used a TASER on Castillo while attempting to arrest him for DUI.

There's apparently not much doubt that Officer Drunky was guilty of his alleged crime, 

[Castillo] was found on Jan. 3 "slumped over" behind the wheel of a [running] black Jeep Commander, which was blocking an intersection in his Gilbert neighborhood, according to a police report.

A Gilbert police officer ordered Castillo out of the vehicle and told him to put his hands on the car. Castillo reportedly dropped his arms, and the officer, fearing he might draw a weapon, shot him in the back with the Taser, according to the report


Lab results showed that Castillo had a blood-alcohol content of 0.173 percent, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent."

but that's really beside the point for the purposes of this discussion.  Castillo was TASED in the back because a fellow cop (although that little tidbit wasn't known at the time.  Might it have changed things somewhat?)  "feared" the obviously highly intoxicated suspect might draw a weapon, despite the officer seemingly having absolutely no reasonable suspicion for believing such an attack was imminent.

Multiple cops couldn't find another way to control a suspect who was barely conscious and couldn't even stand up, much less present a genuine threat?

Castillo certainly didn't like his treatment at the hands of the Gilbert cops.  Tough.  How many times a day are the peasants of this country made to twitch like a disco dancer on even flimsier pretenses?

P.S.  "Officer" Castillo is back on street patrol and has yet to face any disciplinary action, despite the fact that "an internal Phoenix Police Department investigation of Castillo sustained allegations of drunken driving and conduct unbecoming for a police officer".

Wonderful.  It's great that he has such, you know, fantastic credibility while running around arresting others for the exact same offense. 

2.   An off-duty Rhode Island police officer has been charged with "assault and battery with a dangerous weapon" after TASING another off-duty police officer (from a different department, we're glad to note.  How awkward would that locker room be right about now?) during a recent late-night tussle in Haverhill, Massachusetts: 

"Haverhill Deputy Police Chief Donald Thompson said [Kingston, R.I. Patrolman Joshua] Wallar is not authorized to use a Taser in Massachusetts. While police are authorized to use Tasers if necessary, 'He (Wallar) is not a police officer in Massachusetts. He's a civilian,' Thompson pointed out."

So when a "special person" goes ahead and lights up a peasant for all but the most egregious of situations (and usually videotaped to boot) during the course of their day, they're most likely going to be defended as doing a great job.  When they go ahead and do the very same act while off duty in a different state and as such are reduced to the status of a mere commoner, all of a sudden they're guilty of using a "dangerous weapon".

Interesting.  We'll make sure and file that little factoid to bring out the next time someone in authority argues that a TASER is little more than a jolt from a dog-fence.

Oh, and the other officer in the fracas?  He's was hit with domestic violence charges.  What a great pair these two make.

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