Today is Day of Blogging for Justice: Standing Up Against the Police Pre-Trial Electrocution. See Electronic Village
I wanted to write about tasing, but first, I needed to find out exactly what the statistics were for tasing. I knew I would need to back up my opinion with some hard facts, and what I learned is that statistics on a national level are very difficult to find. I tried searching Amnesty International, but I could not determine if African Americans and other non-white people were targeted for death by tasing at a higher rate than white majority groups in the United States.
# Most of those who died in custody were unarmed and were not posing a serious threat to police officers, members of the public, or themselves
# Those who died were generally subjected to repeated or prolonged shocks
# Use of the Taser was often accompanied by the use of restraints and/or chemical incapacitant sprays
# Many of those who died had underlying health problems, such as heart conditions or mental illness, or were under the influence of drugs
# Most of those who died went into cardiac or respiratory arrest at the scene Amnesty International
Clearly, the mentally ill and those under the influence of alcohol and drugs have suffered the highest incidents of death from tasing. But I could not determine, with hard statistics, if racial profiling resulted in higher deaths due to tasing. I googled around and found a blog, It All Goes Here, confirming what I was finding on the Internet, statistics on tasing are difficult to find.
It seems clear to me that tasing is not a humane weapon alternative to guns and has the potential and history of abuse by police. Tasing has not reduced crime, and in fact, has resulting in the cruel deaths of the young and old, the mentally ill, and those who are intoxicated. And I believe that African Americans and other non-white ethnicities in the United States are held to a double standard that places these groups at higher risk of tasing.Why do White people not seem to feel that death by tasing is an issue? I have watched the video of The Killing of Fouad Kaady many times, and it seems to me that Fouad Kaady was killed because of depraved indifference to human life, not racial profiling. That doesn't mean that I believe that racial profiling is not a factor in tasing. But I do wonder why White mainstream America is silent on tasing? Why don't White people seem to care about the quality of our police and the painful deaths of our citizens at the hands of incompetent people who are not held responsible for their actions with tasers?