Stun-gun Use Again Under Scrutiny in U.S. and England

By Matthew Harwood


The Association of Chief Police Officers, according to the Guardian, support stun-gun use because it creates a deterrent effect.

Last week taser stun guns also factored into two incidents in the United States.

On Thursday, the nephew of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was tasered after he tried to flee a New Orleans area hospital after allegedly trying to commit suicide. After being admitted to West Jefferson Medical Center, 25-year-old Derek Thomas refused to cooperate with orderlies trying to get him into a hospital gown and tried to run away. A security guard then stepped in and punched Thomas, pulled out his hair, and then tasered him, Derek's sister Kimberly Thomas wrote in an e-mail to ABC 26. The electric shock that hit Thomas induced an epileptic seizure.

Kimberly's e-mail went on to state that "Security contests it was under doctor's orders to taser Thomas as opposed to sedating him for restraint even after prior knowledge of his epilepsy."

Also on Thursday, sheriff deputies in Boring, Oregon, stun-gunned an 87-year-old woman with dementia as she brandished a handgun on her front porch. Earlier the elderly woman pointed it at a worker trying to repair her water line.

'An officer hiding in the shrubbery around her rural home jolted the frail woman with a stun gun Thursday afternoon, and she collapsed unconscious," reports the Associated Press. "She died soon after in the hospital. The autopsy report said her heart disease was the cause of death."

Detective Jim Strovink of the Clackamas County sheriff's office told the AP that the police officers were entitled to use their firearms in this situation but relied on a less extreme use of force by using the stun gun.

"They did a commendable job in using a minimal amount of force," he said. The two deputies involved in the incident are currently on administrative leave.

♦ Photo by oldmaison/Flickr


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