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"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."
I don't see how you can fault that fine officer for tasing a guy after demanding license and registration and giving the guy 5 whole seconds to produce it. Clearly, the driver of the vehicle should have just jumped faster to do his lord and master's bidding.I love the fascist prick who comments first on that second link. Clearly, the driver just had too much self esteem, and hadn't been raised to properly respond to authority. It is my devout wish that someday he meets a cop who hasn't had his donut.
Hm. I note that in comments people are saying that he was suspended for his actions. Depending on his past conduct and service, an appropriate length of suspension may be the right response. He was overly gruff from the start. It's wrong. (But hard to screen/make policy against. "Don't talk mean.")He had the force of law behind him to demand DL and insurance. He, uh, would have gotten it faster if he had asked nicer, I think we all would agree. Whe she started to argue about it before giving him her driver license, she committed at least two violations: Fail To Present Driver License, and Fail To Identify. At this point I will interject that he's being unnecessarily rude, but that stalling is a common technique for people who are committing other violations. Having her step out of the vehicle is entirely appropriate. Again, he would get compliance better if he'd be nicer. When she started back toward him to argue with him (because, rude or no, she was in fact arguing), he was effectively boxed between the traffic, the car, the car door, the passenger in the car. Raising his voice at that point to make clear that she was to move to the back of the car would have been appropriate. Problem was, he had already raised his voice, and there was no where to go. Next step in the continuum is empty hands. Problem: He's a white man, and she, apparently, is a black woman. Putting your hands on a woman's front to push her to the back of the car is almost unthinkable, for many male cops. There is a mindset out there among many men that if they touch a woman at all, they'll get sued and put into federal court for sexual harassment. There is an official policy that TASER is equal to empty hands, in many departments. Well, think about it. If you can TASER her, and not touch her, for the same level of force as putting hands on her, and there's no issue of sexual contact (trust me, that's one of the considerations), then a significant number of cops say "hell with it-- I'm tasing them." He seems to also have forgotten that you can put a weapon away, once drawn. (Note to all: "Draw" doesn't mean "Fire.")Maybe Austin P.D. Corporal 180 has learned a little humility now. If so, and if he realizes how wrong he was, maybe he could be a decent officer. Or maybe not.
Here's a .pdf document from the internal affairs investigation:http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/2007/tx-oconnor.pdf(On my machine, it says that it wants to install a Japanese language pack; I don't know why, because it's all in Texan.)
He was being an ass. That happens. She was being confrontational, that happens.She turned and tried to walk back to her car during the stop. That's called attempting to escape, and no cop is going to allow it.I've been Tased, I've been gassed, I've been whacked with a nightstick and thrown to the ground and cuffed. Those were the only options available to the officer. I'll take Tased, any day.What was he supposed to do, stand there while she got in her car and left?
Oops. In reading the IA transcripts, I see that the masculine pronoun is being applied to the driver. With the driver's face obscurred and in his(?) loose clothing and kind of dumpy physique, I really couldn't be sure, but thought that his(?) voice was feminine. A kid, maybe? At any rate, there goes about half my previous speculative comment, above.
matt g - maybe all is not lost - I think he was sporting man-tits.
Personally, I've met a highly agitated Austin police officer, after inadvertently being between her and the car she was chasing. I would have been much more comfortable with her hand on the butt of a taser rather than the Glock she had unlimbered. Folks is folks, whether they wear a badge, a belt, a bra or a beanie cap. Everybody has bad days - we can but pray there is sufficient self control exercised by all parties such that situations don't escalate to morbidity.
This particular officer has been suspended three times for violating force policy. I usually stand up for cops, but not this time.
From the interview with Officer Friendly: '"Maybe I did come across as abrupt," O'Connor said. "It's 1:10 in the afternoon and I have [redacted] so I hadn't eaten. And that is a problem when you get [redacted] is you're, it makes you kind of edgy."' As someone who once ran with Very Much The Wrong Sort, I can think off all kinds of things that fit in [redacted], the mildest of which is "popped a huge lot of anabolic steroids." I'm sure it's not the case and the dear little ossifer is just frettin' 'cos his guppy is sick but that there [redaction] smells a bit guppy-like itself. With all due respect to the po-lice here among Tam's minions, that sort of get-'em-off-balance-and-keep-pushing hectoring sure seems like a pretty good way to get into an escalation-of-force situation whereas dialin' it back a notch might've produced less paperwork-intensive results. Some of us get clumsy under stress.
Matt_g, I'm a supporter of LE, but I'm seeing far far too many Taser incidents these days. And a policy that a Taser equals empty hands worries the hell out of me.With an aging population and a corresponding high incidence of cardiac problems such an equation is a recipe for disaster.
Matt, As you probably know I am not a supporter of LEOs. Yes, I think that there are a heck of a lot more Ls in existence than there ought to be. However, my biggest problem is the macho hyper-aggression that so many currently show. Treat me with respect and courtesy and you will get it in return. Treat me with condescension and or aggression, and well, it ceases to be pretty. The prick did not need to escalate this incident. In fact he could have just gotten back in his cruiser, and if the violation was serious enough, gotten a warrant from a judge. While I agree with you that he should have handled it more politely, why is he still a cop? Why are his "brothers in blue" not taking this prick out behind the woodshed and knocking some sense into him? Why are departments across the country allowing this type of behaviour?It appears that LEOs are viewing non-LEOs as the enemy, or as prey. I don't need that. There are enough criminals out there already. Start policing your own ranks and maybe you will earn back my respect and support.
MattI'll agree that the officer was acting within the law, I'll also agree that he was being a jackass. There may have been valid reasons for his use of the taser but I can't help but feel that they came about because of his actions prior to that point. Rather than state the reasons for his actions, the officer offers up the excuse that he was cranky because he'd missed a meal. I feel strongly that when any individual is acting in a professional capacity they have no valid excuses for any of their actions, they may have reasons, yes, excuses, no.Bob
Bob, Gregg, I've often said that if I was of a priggish mind to, I could get into a fight every shift of my career. As it is, I've struck exactly one person since pinning on the badge, and that was to stop a drunk from hitting me (he'd already rung my bell, due to carelessness on my part.). Incidents like these are NOT common. Hold on, hold on-- take a breath and listen. I'll say it again: they're not common. They are so uncommon as to be truly newsworthy when we find out about them. I've been carrying a taser for over a year. I've never even pointed it at anyone. (Though I did draw it once, and when things deescalated, I put it up and cuffed the guy.)I know only a few taser-carrying cops who have tasered people, and most of them were stopping an assault at the time. I'm already on record, such as it is, as being extremely opposed to taking an unnecessarily heavy hand while wearing a badge. Most cops don't like asshole cops, because they: 1. Give us a bad name, and most of us don't like being assumed to be asses; 2. Make our job much harder to do. If you assume that all cops, or even most cops, or even a plurality of cops, approve of heavy-handedness and violations of human rights, then you're making some of the same cubby-holed assumptions that the bad cops are making. I'm pretty invested in the idea that we work for the people, serving the people. Yes, I will raise my voice at times. Yes, I am prepeared to use force to effect my duties. No, I don't look forward to it, and I don't try to generate situations where it occurs. I know of few who ever do, and none who always do.
Here's the problem, Matt: every cop like that not only makes your job harder, they make my interactions with all LEOs more difficult. I go out of my way to remove possible "triggers" to aggressive-officer behavior when traffic-stopped: I turn on my dome light and get off the road (in a parking lot or side road if reasonably possible) and by the time the officer is at my door, I try to have the engine off, keys on the dash out of my easy reach, license and registration in hand, no firearms in sight (there's no duty to inform here), door locked and my window open no more than 2". I'd like to tell you that's all 'cos I care about the Boys In Blue (and that is why I get as far off the road as possible -- I'll be damned if some policeman's gonna get wiped out by a nitwit on my account), but I'd be lieing. My life is on the line every time one of you public servants stops me. I'm at the mercy of your moods. You can shoot me dead and get no more a stern letter reminding you not to be a bad boy. So 'scuse me if the lights and the badge are no reassurance. It's not personal. I'll know if its you or Lawdog or one of the locals I've met and relax but the rest of them get treated with the same caution as any other big dog on the loose and for the same reason.
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