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Thread: Police use of Taser questioned.

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    Video coverage
    http://www.wesh.com/news/14904960/detail.html#

    http://www.news-journalonline.com/Ne...AD01122007.htm
    DAYTONA BEACH -- Can running your mouth off at a police officer during a confrontation in a crowded store get you blasted with a Taser?

    It happened last month when a Daytona Beach police officer stunned a yoga instructor. The officer used her Taser when the teacher refused to pipe down inside the Best Buy store on West International Speedway Boulevard.

    Some human rights and civil liberties experts say a Taser, and the 50,000 volts its twin projectile probes deliver, should never be used in a situation like that. But Daytona Beach's police chief said the verbal lashing his officer got and the way her commands were ignored gave his officer every right to use her weapon.

    The incident reflects a growing international debate over Taser use. Last month, after six people who were stunned died in the United States and Canada, a United Nations committee said the use of Tasers can be a form of torture. Law enforcement advocates counter that stun guns are safe, essential tools that save officer lives and protect the public.

    It was Nov. 26 when 35-year-old Elizabeth Beeland of Ormond Beach stopped at the store to purchase a CD player for her father, she told The Daytona Beach News-Journal before refusing to speak more about the incident.

    Beeland's shopping trip ended up with a ride to the Volusia County Branch Jail, charged with two misdemeanors -- one for disorderly conduct and the other for resisting a police officer without violence.

    Beeland's attorney entered a plea of not guilty in the case and now it will be up to the State Attorney's Office to determine whether to prosecute.

    In a report police are required to prepare after deploying their Tasers, Officer Claudia Wright said she used her weapon on Beeland because the woman was "verbally profane, abusive, loud and irate." Beeland pointed her finger "towards my face" and was waving her arms, the officer wrote.

    But is that against the law? And is yelling at a cop considered enough resistance to merit the use of a Taser?

    According to an American Civil Liberties Union representative in Orlando, yelling at a police officer and even cussing one out is constitutionally protected speech. And both the ACLU and Amnesty International USA say this incident likely could have been handled differently, adding that Taser use has become too casual and too common among police officers.

    Police Chief Mike Chitwood said if a Taser had not been available, his officer likely would have used other weapons to subdue Beeland.

    "I was never raised on Tasers," the chief said. "I used nightsticks and slapjacks."

    The chief said Wright initially approached Beeland under the assumption a credit card had been stolen. In the end, it was determined Beeland was using her own card and had committed no crime.

    But according to Wright's report -- the officer declined comment for this story -- Beeland yelled to the point of disrupting business at the Best Buy and she would not comply with the officer's commands. Wright warned Beeland she could be arrested and ultimately, could be shot with the Taser, unless she calmed down, the report shows.

    Wright, at the store investigating another matter, was called over by a Best Buy cashier that afternoon after Beeland -- who was about to pay for her item with a credit card -- suddenly left her transaction unfinished and walked outside.

    The cashier apparently thought the card was stolen because of Beeland's sudden exit, the report indicates. When Wright caught up with Beeland just outside the glass doors, Wright said, Beeland began yelling at her, even at one point using the "F" word.

    The officer said she asked Beeland to calm down. She then asked Beeland to step inside the store so it could be determined whether the credit card left with the cashier was hers.
    Once inside, Wright states Beeland kept yelling at her and causing a disruption. She says Beeland's screaming drew a crowd of patrons. Wright said she told Beeland if she didn't calm down, she would be arrested.

    Finally, Wright warned Beeland if she didn't quit the commotion, she would have to deploy her Taser.

    A tape from the store's surveillance camera shows Beeland motioning with her hands and talking to Wright. She is seen slowly backing away from Wright as the officer advances.
    Then, in one fell swoop, the tape shows Wright reaching for the Taser gun and shooting Beeland in the abdomen. She crumpled to the floor.

    The entire confrontation inside the store took less than a minute, the tape shows.
    Police Department policy states an officer can deploy his or her Taser "for the purpose of subduing a violent, noncompliant or combative subject."

    Another section titled "Use of Force," says the Taser may be deployed when an officer believes the person presents a threat to the officer or to others "in the event that lesser force options are ineffective." The Taser also should be deployed to prevent the escape of a "criminal suspect," and when a "subject actively resists arrest or detention by violence or threat of violence."

    Beeland, although not compliant, was not acting violently, according to the officer's report. However, Chitwood said his officer had been flagged down under the assumption Beeland may have stolen a credit card.

    The fact Wright said Beeland refused to comply only further fueled the situation, Chitwood said.

    "The fact that she (Beeland) was resisting and not following commands being given by a uniformed officer, that means that officer eventually was going to get hurt," Chitwood said. "Claudia Wright did not wake up that morning and say, 'I think I want to tase someone today.'

    "The woman's actions caused this to happen," the chief said.

    A News-Journal review of all Taser incidents by Daytona Beach police in November shows officers used the weapons 10 times. Beeland's was the only incident that did not involve violence or a fleeing criminal suspect.

    Officials with the ACLU and Amnesty International USA say other tactics should have been used, especially because Beeland was not acting violently or threatening the officer in any way.

    "In my view, a Taser should be used only as an alternative to a gun," said Glenn Katon, director of the Central Region of the ACLU in Orlando. "Is yelling (at an officer) enough resistance to cause someone to be Tasered?

    "People are getting killed with Tasers," he said.

    Taser use has become so commonplace, Katon said, that officers no longer employ other training tactics they've learned to subdue people.

    "I certainly don't want to see an officer get hurt, but a cop should have enough training to be able to use something other than a Taser to calm someone down," Katon said.

    Jason Disterhoft, a human rights campaigner with Amnesty International USA, said a Taser should be used when lethal force is the only alternative, "not just when somebody refuses to comply with an order.

    "The force used should be proportionate with the threat posed," Disterhoft said.

    Chitwood said Taser critics don't understand the types of situations police encounter.

    "Everybody has their opinion, but at the end of the day none of the people who have an opinion walk in that officer's shoes," Chitwood said.

    That afternoon when Beeland suddenly walked away from her transaction, leaving her credit card behind at the cash register, she had received an upsetting telephone call from her husband about their child, said Beeland's attorney, William Chanfrau Jr.

    Distraught, she walked outside to speak to him more privately, forgetting for that moment about her card and her purchase, he said.

    "She fully intended to go back inside and finish making her purchase," Chanfrau said.


  2. #2
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    A sad, sad case once again. Good to see the ACLU on the job, though.

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    I wish we could get the volunteers to take up the 2A.

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    Doug Huffman wrote:
    "The fact that she (Beeland) was resisting and not following commands being given by a uniformed officer, that means that officer eventually was going to get hurt," Chitwood said
    Has anybody got an address, I want to buy the officer and chief a beer!

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    FightingGlock19 wrote:
    Doug Huffman wrote:
    "The fact that she (Beeland) was resisting and not following commands being given by a uniformed officer, that means that officer eventually was going to get hurt," Chitwood said
    Has anybody got an address, I want to buy the officer and chief a beer!
    I tend to think he should have used the nightsticks and slapjack on her instead of a taser. Better yet they should have just let her leave and then buy a new HDTV with the credit card she left.

    According to an American Civil Liberties Union representative in Orlando, yelling at a police officer and even cussing one out is constitutionally protected speech.

    I have trouble with anyone cussing someone out in public like that 1A or not.

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    I can't quite get my wits wrapped around this one.

    It seems to me that if the officer had reasonable suspicion to justify a detention, and the citizen refused to comply, then force is possibly going to become, atsome point, the only way to gain lawfully required compliance.

    Like PT111, I have problems with someone disrupting business in the way reported. However, I have even bigger problems with being required to quietly submit togovernment seizure if I feel its unjustified. In my mind, that also hands gov't too much opportunity.

    Prompted byPT111'sidea to let her leave, the officer could have just invited her back outside.

    Also, we're missing some information. The report doesn't really say how the officer verbally handled the contact. Was the officer doing or saying things to escalate the hostility, or lessen it.

    I do agree that Tasers are being used too freely and easily. Somebody has the idea that they are a science-fictionly harmless tool. Yet the police chief called it a weapon.

    In this incident, I'm not convinced the situation had reached the point where force was the only option left.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    PT111 wrote:
    According to an American Civil Liberties Union representative in Orlando, yelling at a police officer and even cussing one out is constitutionally protected speech.

    I have trouble with anyone cussing someone out in public like that 1A or not.
    Interestingly, I can see where "cussing one out" might not be constitutionally protected, at least as decided by the courts. SCOTUS has ruled that "obscenity" is not protected by the 1st amendment (Miller v. California, etc), and whether or not they were right in that decision, and even though Miller tends to be applied to pornography, I can see where it can be applied to this situation.

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    imperialism2024 wrote:
    SNIP Interestingly, I can see where "cussing one out" might not be constitutionally protected, at least as decided by the courts. SCOTUS has ruled that "obscenity" is not protected by the 1st amendment (Miller v. California, etc), and whether or not they were right in that decision, and even though Miller tends to be applied to pornography, I can see where it can be applied to this situation.
    Well, lets hope not. Either the initial stop fits 4th Amendment case law or it doesn't. If it does, that's all the power, and possibly more, thanI'm willing to give the government. No sense in giving power-tripping police officers more excuses and more opportunities. And tying the hands or exposing people who were brought up in a home where foul language was acceptable.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Citizen wrote:
    It seems to me that if the officer had reasonable suspicion to justify a detention, and the citizen refused to comply, then force is possibly going to become, atsome point, the only way to gain lawfully required compliance.
    The thing is, I can't see where the officer had reasonable suspicion to justify a detention. Mainly, I can't see how the tasee's actions clearly point to credit card fraud. Sounds to me like a seasonal employee overeager to get a superhero award for stopping credit card fraud.

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    imperialism2024 wrote:
    Citizen wrote:
    It seems to me that if the officer had reasonable suspicion to justify a detention, and the citizen refused to comply, then force is possibly going to become, atsome point, the only way to gain lawfully required compliance.
    The thing is, I can't see where the officer had reasonable suspicion to justify a detention. Mainly, I can't see how the tasee's actions clearly point to credit card fraud. Sounds to me like a seasonal employee overeager to get a superhero award for stopping credit card fraud.
    I agree, literally. I can't see it either. By this I mean its not clearly reported. It may have been present; butthefactsarenot clearly reported.

    I think it would depend on what the store told the police officer. I suspect the clerk mighthavenot nuanced her report to the officer and just said, "That ladytried to use a stolen credit card." Which would trigger reasonable suspicion, in my opinion.

    However, if the clerk said, "Officer, I'm not sure, but I think that lady right there might have tried to use a stolen credit card," all betswould beoff. The lady could just impatiently be going to her car to get her husband'scredit card, i.e. onethat works, as in the magnetic strip isn't deteriorated.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    imperialism2024 wrote:
    Citizen wrote:
    It seems to me that if the officer had reasonable suspicion to justify a detention, and the citizen refused to comply, then force is possibly going to become, atsome point, the only way to gain lawfully required compliance.
    The thing is, I can't see where the officer had reasonable suspicion to justify a detention. Mainly, I can't see how the tasee's actions clearly point to credit card fraud. Sounds to me like a seasonal employee overeager to get a superhero award for stopping credit card fraud.
    Wouldn't attempted use of a stolen credit card be reasonable grounds for detention? From the way I read it the officer was notified that the customer tried to us a stolen credit card and when asked about it walked off leaving the card. I would think that wouldbe reasonable grounds for detention and for a few on here would be resaonable grounds for shooting someone. Turns out that the officer did not know about the supposed phone call but.......

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    PT111 wrote:
    SNIP Wouldn't attempted use of a stolen credit card be reasonable grounds for detention? From the way I read it the officer was notified that the customer tried to us a stolen credit card and when asked about it walked off leaving the card. I would think that wouldbe reasonable grounds for detention and for a few on here would be resaonable grounds for shooting someone. Turns out that the officer did not know about the supposed phone call but.......
    There is still too much room in the exact wording of the story.

    I think it wouldboil down to exactly what was reported to the police officer, almost word for word.

    There is a big wide difference between, "Officer that person triedtouse a stolen credit card,"and,"She walked away quickly in the middle ofthe transaction." In fact, now that I think about it, I don't think credit card machines report back to the merchant that the card is stolen. I'm not sure, withself-swipe terminals,if they even tell the clerk to seize the cardlike they did years ago.How did the officer decide the credibility and reliability of the report?

    That's the problem withthe media. They work very hard to make sure you don't have enoughinformation to come to a sound conclusion.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    A tape from the store's surveillance camera shows Beeland motioning with her hands and talking to Wright. She is seen slowly backing away from Wright as the officer advances.

    Then, in one fell swoop, the tape shows Wright reaching for the Taser gun and shooting Beeland in the abdomen. She crumpled to the floor.
    So, slowly backing away from a cop is now threatening? Obviously not, according to Trigger-Happy Anne, here.

    Beeland, although not compliant, was not acting violently, according to the officer's report.
    Oh, and....

    The chief said Wright initially approached Beeland under the assumption a credit card had been stolen. In the end, it was determined Beeland was using her own card and had committed no crime.
    People seem to be overlooking that. Note that the Chief never specifies what KIND of weapon...

    Now personally, I think they both ed up, and I'm pretty sure I'm playing arm-chair po-po here, but I'd say all THREE parties are to blame here.

    Best Buy: Poor job of returning a forgotten credit card.

    Beeland: Hysterics.

    Wright: Trigger-happy.

    This is a damn lose-lose-lose situation.

    Oh, and in before "Don't tase me!"
    Why open carry? Because 1911 > 911.

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    PT111 wrote:
    Wouldn't attempted use of a stolen credit card be reasonable grounds for detention?* From the way I read it the officer was notified that the customer tried to us a stolen credit card and when asked about it walked off leaving the card.
    No, the way the (poorly written) story reads, she was making a purchase, set her card on the counter, got a call while it was being scanned, and walked outside on the phone in the middle of the phone call/item scanning.

    Apparently, it was something involving one of their kids, probably medical, from the importance.

    The kid at the counter, with nothing better to do, say "Hey, must be a stolen card", possibly without even swiping it.

    Phone call over, the woman, now apparently distraught, is told she's using a stolen credit card, despite the fact it's hers, and, presumably, has not even been swiped yet.

    She's already upset from the phone call, and is probably not in the mood for being called a thief (I know it PISSES ME OFF to know end).

    So, she's PO'ed about the news of her kid, then she's PO'ed about being called a thief, wants to take her stuff and go.

    LEO gets called over while in the middle of some other problem, and has to deal with a by-now probably hysterical woman.

    To reiterate my previous post, this was a screw-up from the word go.

    Best Buy, Beeland, and Wight ALL should've ID'd Beeland properly, and ANY of them doing this would've solved this problem.
    Why open carry? Because 1911 > 911.

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    AbNo wrote:
    Best Buy, Beeland, and Wight ALL should've ID'd Beeland properly, and ANY of them doing this would've solved this problem.
    Or have just run the credit card and let the credit card company sort out the details?

    Two years of bottom-of-the-barrel electronics retail taught me that out of all the credit card transactions that seem suspicious, about 99% of them aren't. And as I understood it at the time, as long as the credit card is signed, the merchant cannot, under contract with the credit card companies, require ID as a condition of running the card.

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    AbNo wrote:
    PT111 wrote:
    Wouldn't attempted use of a stolen credit card be reasonable grounds for detention? From the way I read it the officer was notified that the customer tried to us a stolen credit card and when asked about it walked off leaving the card.
    No, the way the (poorly written) story reads, she was making a purchase, set her card on the counter, got a call while it was being scanned, and walked outside on the phone in the middle of the phone call/item scanning.

    Apparently, it was something involving one of their kids, probably medical, from the importance.

    The kid at the counter, with nothing better to do, say "Hey, must be a stolen card", possibly without even swiping it.

    Phone call over, the woman, now apparently distraught, is told she's using a stolen credit card, despite the fact it's hers, and, presumably, has not even been swiped yet.

    She's already upset from the phone call, and is probably not in the mood for being called a thief (I know it PISSES ME OFF to know end).

    So, she's PO'ed about the news of her kid, then she's PO'ed about being called a thief, wants to take her stuff and go.

    LEO gets called over while in the middle of some other problem, and has to deal with a by-now probably hysterical woman.

    To reiterate my previous post, this was a screw-up from the word go.

    Best Buy, Beeland, and Wight ALL should've ID'd Beeland properly, and ANY of them doing this would've solved this problem.
    A lot of assumptions you are making but if a LEO is informed that someone is trying to use a stolen credit card they have every right to detain them or is it that only CCW's can use restraint. (See Joe Horn) Yes it was a crew up but the woman had no business trying to answer her #### cell phone while trying to check out. Aggravating as heck for someone walking around in a store with a cell phone stuck to thier ear blocking the aisles and totaly oblivious to their surroundings or at the counter totally ignoring the clerk while keeping others waiting.

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    PT111 wrote:
    Yes it was a crew up but the woman had no business trying to answer her #### cell phone while trying to check out.
    Damn, I can't believe I missed that. Thank you.
    Why open carry? Because 1911 > 911.

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