Why SF cops shouldn't have tasers


So let's assume, arguendo as the lawyers say, the Johannes Mehserle is telling the truth, that he thought he had drawn his taser instead of his handgun when he shot Oscar Grant in the back. I'm not saying I believe him, but suppose that's true.

It's still an excellent argument against giving tasers to the SF cops.

So is this.

I don't think anyone, even the still-clueless BART police, would argue that Oscar Grant had created a situation that justified the use of lethal force. He was unarmed, not an imminent threat to the life of a cop or a bystander. But a taser is just so convenient; you can zap someone who is just a little unruly. It's a weapon that's just too easy to justify.

If Mehserle didn't have a taser, Grant might still be alive.

And I don't care how much training you give the cops: As we saw with the BART cop zapping the fare evader, give them a weapon and they'll use it.


people paid to comment on the world, they have opinions on everything. And I mean everything. Doesn't matter how informed, someone is paying and someone somewhere wants to hear it.

Didn't Saint Ammiano fix this BART police problem already?

We are just one; commission, study, plan, public hearing, lawsuit, community meeting, open dialogue, buzzword, away from Utopia.

Posted by Matlock on Jun. 25, 2010 @ 11:16 am

Give the idiot who actually believes cops will use any weapon they are given, some more drugs. On second thought, his mind is altered enough already.

Posted by Guest JC on Jun. 25, 2010 @ 11:47 am

When a 50 cent bullet will do the job

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2010 @ 12:04 pm

If you are paying 50 cents per bullet you need to start buying in larger quantities cause that's too much. Of course there is a lot to be said about watching some punk who has been giving you lip for the last 10 minutes ,called you and your mama every name in the Ebonics dictionary., Flop around on the floor like a fish out of water, soiling their cloths while crying like a little girl. Ah, good times!

Some times what's $20 among you and your newest closest friend, how's your mam-ma boy?

Posted by Edward on Feb. 22, 2011 @ 7:49 pm

Or does that apply to CA in general?

Tasers Save Lives Every Day

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2010 @ 12:08 pm

that's a fresh one.

Posted by marke on Jun. 25, 2010 @ 12:19 pm

You know that's a Gallagher bit, right?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2010 @ 1:53 pm

Do any of my oh-so-creative critics think it was cool for the BART cop to zap a fare evader with a taser? The penalty for fare evasion is a modest fine. Tasers, I think we can all agree, at least have the potential to be lethal weapons; people have died after being zapped. My fear is that if you treat them as nonlethal alternatives, they'll get used in a lot of instances when use of that level of force is inappropriate.

Posted by tim on Jun. 25, 2010 @ 2:45 pm

Taking a stab in the dark here (no pun), but guessing all of same critics are white.

Including the keynoting imbecile that criticizes everything including people that supposedly criticize everything, proving that authority worship really is endemic of borderline personality disorder.

Crippling,maybe maiming or killing some turnstile jumper is serious business. Were it ever you or yours you'd agree. Were the po-po ever profiling you and yours, you might have a little perspective.

But you don't.

An innocent man is dead, that doesn't outrage you. The idea that the color of authority may be misused and curtailed, that's an affront. How dare Tim Redmond
suggest that trigger-happiness may be lethal when it, err, actually was.

Utterly and predictably ridiculous.

Posted by Guest Johnny Wendell on Jun. 25, 2010 @ 3:07 pm

"Taking a stab in the dark here (no pun), but guessing all of same critics are white."

What does race have to do with anything here? Do you consider yourself an adult?

Posted by Matlock on Jun. 25, 2010 @ 10:42 pm

I don't under stand where some one who was arrested for fare evasion was profiled? did the cop lump him into a very small group of individuals who by crawling under the fare gate, I don't understand.

once on a muni bus I watch a brother who was caught in the act of having his hand up to the elbow in a ladies purse, Clutching her wallet he complained he was being profiled cause he was black. Duh! you got your hand in her purse and now it's only stealing because your Black?

Posted by Edward on Feb. 22, 2011 @ 7:58 pm

Like the guy who got zapped - he already had been cited for fare evasion the week before AND he was a registered sex offender.

People who feel these kinds of "small" laws don't apply to them are FAR more apt to violate other, more serious laws. Like the ones against sexual abuse of a minor.

And this is the guy you're arguing is somehow innocent?

Too bad he wasn't zapped and then zapped again.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jun. 25, 2010 @ 4:41 pm


That guy was not tazed because he evaded a fare. He was tazed because he was resisting arrest for evading a fare - a much more serious offense.

If a perp attacks or resists a cop, or seeks to escape, then a tazer gives the cop an extra option to detain or subdue without shooting him with his firearm.

As such, many villains and thugs are still alive today who otherwise would not be. Tazers save lives.

Posted by TomFoolery on Jun. 25, 2010 @ 11:12 pm

Tom, I think we all know what "resisting arrest" means. It means the cop needed a justification for smacking or zapping someone. It's by far the most common excuse for excessive force.

Posted by tim on Jun. 26, 2010 @ 7:35 pm

A registered sex offender - who had been cited a week earlier for evading fares.

Don't want to get zapped? Don't evade paying the fare.

It's as simple as that.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jun. 26, 2010 @ 10:36 pm

"Don't want to get zapped? Don't evade paying the fare.

It's as simple as that. "

Maybe we should have the death penalty for jaywalking. Don't want to be hanged? Don't jaywalk. It's as simple as that.

What ever happened to "let the punishment fit the crime?"


Posted by Greg on Jun. 27, 2010 @ 4:42 pm

"Don't want to get zapped? Don't evade paying the fare."

I've seen people getting tickets for not paying, they were not getting tazed.

So maybe something else was added to the equation?

Posted by mr matlock on Jun. 30, 2010 @ 9:06 am

I personally was put in handcuffs by San Francisco police for refusing to show my -valid- pass to fare inspectors because I consider it be an unconstitutional search without probable cause to ask someone inside of the Muni underground or already -on- a bus for their proof of payment; literally seeking to get me to proactively prove that I am not breaking the law when most people being stopped/searched are not breaking the law.

Since the fare inspectors do not have the authority to compel persons to show an ID so that the inspectors can write them a ticket, the only way to enforce the statute is for the police to show up and compel an alleged evader to submit to a search, and that's the moment when the whole interaction is revealed to be ridiculously unconstitutional. Fare evasion, even before the inspectors were deployed a few years ago, was 15% at most. So the police absolutely do not have probable cause to compel the constant proof of payment searches that we are all subjected to. This is all a slippery slope toward a deepening draconian police state under local departments already interacting much to closely with Homeland Security, DEA, etc.

That police intervention is also the moment when the interaction becomes far more dangerous, because the alleged evader my be pretty agitated/afraid, and the cops have weapons.

This is an obvious recipe for police committed abuse, especially of the poor who simply cannot always afford to pay for their Muni trips.

Most alarmingly, this whole regime puts low income undocumented citizens in a -lot- more danger of being reported to ICE, just for trying to go to work on the bus or train...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 30, 2010 @ 10:24 am

Everyone knows it's reasonable to be asked for POP on transit, and for ID if you don't have it. The alternative is a night at Central Locking which, I suspect, someone with your attitude is familiar with.

Obey the law and you won't have to worry about these things. But be a smartass and you'll come off badly.

Oh, and since when was being poor an excuse for theft?

You're a fool.

Posted by Wally on Feb. 22, 2011 @ 8:13 pm