Earlier this summer, Detroit Police Commissioners approved the use of Tasers as a non-lethal weapon option. There has been a lot of both positive and negative examples of the use of Tasers in police work, nationally. They have a great deal of controversy surrounding them and have been at times, a lethal weapon used by police. While they are intended to be used as a last resort for subduing a suspect, many critics have their concern about this current decision by Detroit Police.
What is a Taser?
Tasers are considered a non-lethal weapon that is intended to subdue a resistant subject with the use of a strong electrical shock. The shock which is around 50,000 volts and lasts about five seconds, can render a person motionless. These weapons are not intended to cause lasting harm to a person, but rather stop them in their tracks, eliminate additional or potential violence, and allow police to detain a suspect into custody, without harm to officers or suspect.
You’ve probably heard the stories on the news about individuals suffering lasting injuries or even death from Tasers. These instances are the reasons that so many police departments nation-wide are reconsidering the use of Tasers as non-lethal weapons. Tasers require a substantial amount of training prior to use. However, many police departments in Michigan fail to provide adequate training on the use of all types of non-lethal weapons, which leads to serious bodily harm or even death. While Tasers can be effective as a non-lethal weapon, they can be as or more lethal than a handgun without adequate officer training and oversight.
Violation of Rights
When does a Taser violate your rights? That’s a question that has been asked frequently by civil rights, and police brutality activists. While Tasers are an effective method for subduing an active suspect, they are dangerous when a suspect has already been immobilized. Many of the deaths that are the result of improper use of Tasers have been to individuals that were already hand-cuffed and in police custody. When this force is used, it becomes a violation of an individual’s rights. In other instances, individuals who are Tased by multiple officers at the same time, violates human rights. This load of electricity on a single individual can result in substantial lasting damage to the heart or brain, and in worse case, death.
What is the Solution?
The solution to improper use of Tasers starts with Detroit Police, and other departments that chose to use Tasers as a method of non-lethal force. Proper training is the first step to ensuring that the rights of all individuals involved with a Taser are protected. If our police departments in Michigan are well trained, the likelihood of a serious injury or death from a Taser is reduced. Then, it comes down to the public. As attorneys and civil rights advocates, it’s our job to ensure that our police departments are using Tasers in an appropriate manner, and blowing the whistle when they are not. Keeping our eyes open for police misconduct is critical to protecting the civil rights of all individuals.
Need a Civil Rights or Defense Attorney in Metro Detroit?
Matthew S. Kolodziejski helps Detroit area residents protect their rights, with outstanding legal representation. If you need an experienced defense attorney in Metro Detroit or believe that you’ve been the victim of police misconduct, we are the Detroit area experts and are ready to assist you. To speak with an attorney 24 hours a day, please call us at (313) 736-5060.