Alex Zhen 8C
Abuse of Power by Police Officers
What do you think a police officer is? A hero, a good Samaritan, or maybe a criminal in disguise? The police have access to a large arsenal of weapons, one being the taser. Did you know that the taser can fire up to 50,000 volts of electricity?
A taser is a small gun-like device that fires electric darts to paralyze a person temporarily. The jolt stuns the target by causing a contraction of the muscle tissue. The target would be immobilized and would fall to the ground, regardless of pain tolerance or mental focus. It is a common weapon used by police officers to help control situations where excessive force is needed, and is often misused. A taser is used to allow police officers to restrain violent individuals without the risks a gun, baton, or other method would have, but how much of a risk is too much?
Statistics show that in 2009, Toronto police officers used tasers 307 times in 273 incidents. Out of the 273 incidents, only 246 were discharged on civilians and one third of the tasered were part of a category of “emotional disturbed”. Most of the 246 people who were stunned by the taser in 2009 had a combination of substance abuse, mental illness or emotional trouble in their lives.
Tasers are used quite frequently, but are they safe? I would ask Robert Dziekanski, but he’s dead from being stunned multiple times by tasers.
Robert Dziekanski was a Polish immigrant who came to Canada to visit his mother. He died on October 14th, 2007 at the Vancouver International Airport after being tasered multiple times by the RCMP.
He didn’t know any English when he arrived in the airport, with a 2 hour late flight. Stranded and confused, Robert wandered around the airport for ten hours before his death. You can imagine someone being extremely frustrated; with nobody speaking your language and no knowledge about where you’re suppose to go, I bet you would all have a nervous breakdown. This is exactly what.