Friday, April 3, 2009

Tasered to Death In Florida

The Miami Herald reports on the tragic death of a Broward County man who was tasered for resisting arrest.

A Parkland man who was Tasered on Tuesday during a scuffle with Broward sheriff's deputies in front of the Sawgrass Infiniti car dealership in Tamarac has died in the hospital, according to authorities.

The man, identified as John J. Meier Jr., 48, had been running in and out of traffic on West Commercial Boulevard while wearing only a pair of shorts. He was violently resisting arrest when he was Tasered, according to BSO spokesman Jim Leljedal.

One of the problems with tasers is that they invite the trigger-happy tendencies of the policemen who carry them. What better toy could the sadistic power-drunk law enforcer have on his utility belt than this one? In most cases, it's an incredibly effective torture device that leaves no discernible permanent damage. But, not this time. In fact the Broward County Sheriff's office is no stranger to this type of tragedy.

Tuesday's incident, the third death of a Taser victim in BSO custody since the agency instituted the weapon, may have been fueled by drugs, Leljedal said.

An investigator with the Broward Medical Examiner's Office declined to discuss an autopsy performed Wednesday.

Leljedal said the autopsy showed no trauma or injuries other than minor scratches and Taser marks on Meier's right side.

His death appears to have been caused by cocaine toxicity or excited delirium, though a toxicology test has not been finalized, Leljedal said.

Does the man's toxicity level really have anything to do with it? What do you think? Aren't most suspects who receive a shot of the old taser under the influence? Is that supposed to be some kind of surprising revelation explaining the death?

Do you think the cops tend to misuse the taser? We've all seen too many reports like this. Do you think all these people would have been shot dead with the policemen's service weapons if tasers had not been available? Is that the idea? Are they killing fewer thanks to the taser?

What's you opinion? Please leave a comment.


  1. Tasers should be banned or seriously reconsidered in their general use.
    We have seen the explosion of abuse of tasers as a direct result of the aggressive marketing of the Taser Corporation, who as part of the American Armss Industry has had a lot of assistance placing themselves as a major player all over the world.
    The numbers of deaths related to tasers is being deliberately supressed and attrributed in reporting to extenuating circumstances.
    A very good example of the aggressive, abusive marketing of Tasers has occurred here in France.
    There has been a lot of controversy about the deal that Taser made with the French government to equip French police with tasers.
    The head of the old LCR Party, Olivier Besancenot, who is a still employed as a postman and has run for president of France twice, led a campaign to expose the real story of taser deaths in the hands of police in America.
    Taser promptly sued Mr. Besancenot for liable and pursued an aggressive case against him in the Frenchg courts to silence him.
    Then, while the court case was going on, it was discovered that Taser had employed agents to tail Besancenot, his infant child and wife to try to find any evidence which could be used to smear him personally.
    The French media documented and exposed this by tailing the agents of Taser.
    Besancenot sued the Taser Corporation for invasion of privacy. The Taser CEO was supposed to appear in court to answer the charges and never showed.
    The libel case against Besancenot was dropped and never spoken of again, but the illegal harrasment case against Tasser is ongoing.

    You are aware that the RCMP in Canada has banned the use of tasers by its officers?

  2. So what do you propose the officers have done?

    Man was a public danger, intoxicated, and violently resisting officer.

    Let him go? Beat him to a pulp with thier batons? Shoot him?

    What have you Mr. Armchair quarterback?

  3. Broward County. Broward County? Where have I heard about them before?

    Oh, right. Their (now former) sheriff was convicted on tax evasion and mail fraud. He also deliberately misrepresented the Assault Weapon Ban on CNN by claiming it covered fully automatic firearms.

  4. The death rate for taser use by police on uncooperative subjects is pretty similar to the death rate when the police use other methods. Sometimes tasers get abused, sometimes they keep someone from getting shot. They also drastically reduce workman's comp payouts to injured police officers.

  5. I won't pretend that there are not a lot of power-hungry cops out there. Most of them are usually also anti-gunners that think that only cops should have guns. But there are also a lot of decent cops out there too.

    The Taser is a tool that can be abused and mis-used as any other tool including firearms. And like guns, it is not the fact that the Taser is available that causes problems but rather who is using it. I would say that there are some really sadistic cops out there that relish in the thought of using one on a "low-life" that dares question their omnipotent authority. And lets not forget those few examples of mis-use that resulted in death such as zapping tired, complaining travelers in airports that are obviously not a real threat.

    On the other hand, I would say that there have been plenty of times that the Taser has been deployed as a less-than-lethal alternative. My brother is a special deputy. Trained, but a volunteer that assists cops maybe once a month or so. One time they had confronted a nutcase that said he was going to kill them all and had produced a weapon. One officer was armed with a taser and nailed him as the other deputies were preparing to fire. Had that one single officer that was trained with a taser not made it to the scene, the nutcase would most assuredly be dead right now instead of in a psych ward.

    Tasers are simply a tool. Are they used too often? Probably. But then that is a training issue.

  6. You are lookijng at the problem the wrong way. Living in Italy you of all people should know the difference between the way the police act in America and they do in Italy. In America, people are not given any kinds of breaks for bending the law. How many of us have gotten a ticket for rolling through a stop sigh in America? It is obsurb the way the police act in America. It is more and more like a police/fascist state everyday and with each instance like the taser story.

  7. "What have you Mr. Armchair quarterback?"

    Maybe the taser was reasonably deployed as a last resort, or perhaps use of the taser was wholly unjustified. But, really, who cares? Only an "armchair quarterback" would have the audacity to ask a few questions when an unarmed man is killed by government agents during an arrest.

    Come on MikeB, just learn to blindly and uncritically accept the police spokesman's version of events. The best way to defend the Bill of Rights is complete deference to governmental authority.

    "The Taser is a tool that can be abused and mis-used as any other tool including firearms. And like guns, it is not the fact that the Taser is available that causes problems but rather who is using it."

    I think the problem is, tasers are not limited to use as a substitute for lethal force. As long as the myth persists that tasers are harmless, why shouldn't police officers be tempted to use tasers as "pain compliance" devices, or even as a substitute for other methods of physical restrain that are merely less convenient than tasing?

  8. Bottom line, in the hands of the police, the taser becomes an easy tool to abuse because of the purported non life threatening claims of the manufacturer.
    So, it gets used because it is convenient and easy. It gets used in situtations where force is not a rational choice under normal circumstances.
    Kids are tasered, old women are tasered, hell, you look at me funny and I'll taser your fat ass...
    Tasers are being marketed at suburban house wife parties like tupperware in designer colors.

    When you speak of proper training for cops in its usage as a remedy for abuse, I scoff.

    Isn't that one of the claims made by Todd Palin against his ex cop brother in law...that he tasered his 6 year old son to get him to shut up?

  9. Tasers aren't a substitute for traditional deadly force. They are a substitute for brute strength, fists and batons. They make it practical for women to be police officers.

    Brute strength and batons are sometimes fatal as well. Brute strength and batons have been widely misused in the past. If you take everything away from the police that can be abused, you leave them with no tools to do their job. Instead, the abusive officers themselves should be removed from service.

  10. First up, Don. Tasers do hurt a lot, but they aren't "pain compliance devices", they work by disrupting neuromuscular signals and inducing very temporary paralysis.

    Pepper spray and tear gas are essentially pain devices. This means if somebody is mentally ill or on drugs to the point where pain is not effective on them, gas, spray, and physical attacks will not affect them, tasers will (as will a stopping shot from a firearm).
    Sevesteen, is correct, Tasers are designed to replace physical force against an aggressive person resisting arrest or meaning to cause harm.

    Police still carry batons and firearms because there are times when they will be better tools than tasers.

    A taser can be fatal, but generally they a LESS likely fatal, and MORE likely effective than something like a baton or physical restraint.

  11. One thing I have not heard in this discussion is the percentage of deaths where drugs were a factor.

    The National Institute of Justice is launching a comprehensive examination of Taser deaths. In the vast majority of cases, medical examiners have ruled that Tasers were not to blame.

    That held true for Galvan's case. The Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office recently ruled Galvan was high on cocaine and attributed his death to excited delirium, which is an overdose of adrenaline that stops the heart.

    "The heart is being overstimulated by the nervous system," said Vincent DiMiao, former Bexar County Chief Medical Examiner.

    Now, not all the deaths are related to drug use...but what percentage are?

    Maybe if we can stop the flow of drugs, we could reduce the number of taser related deaths.

  12. I know this is old news to you although I am at the point that something has to be done to set this story straight. John was not a public danger, was not on drugs, or alcohol. He left a doctor's office!!! The doctor and police are at fault.

  13. John was not under the influence of ANYTHING other than a doctor prescribed medication.

  14. Linda, Thanks for you comments. Please feel free to elaborate. Has there been an investigation? What happened to the trigger-happy cop?