Because taze first and ask questions/apologize later seems to be the protocol these days, police in England tazed 61-year old blind man Colin Farmer after mistaking his white cane for a samurai sword. To be fair though, police were on the lookout for a man who actually WAS running around the town drunk with a samurai sword, this just wasn't him. This was a 61-year old blind guy. No word how many cell phones they've mistaken for handguns.
Rutger Hauer and Zatoichi both unavailable for comment
British Cops Taze 61-Year Old Blind Man After Mistaking Cane For Samurai Sword
Tags: big brother, doomed, eyes
Meanwhile, in Canada, taser use has gone way down after this incredible fuckup in 2007.
Try and track down the audio of his radio interview - he's a nice bloke and surprisingly cool about it all. Makes a joke about it which I found quite funny.
I think the use of non-lethal weaponry is one of the worst decisions of police forces. Because guns are lethal, cops usually have to think before using them, and face consequences for using them improperly. Tasers and pepper spray get used indiscriminately. I'm pretty sure the benefits to police are far outweighed by the abuses.
Over here (the uk) it's not a choice between guns and tasers, it's a choice between an unarmed officer, and one with a taser.
That said, I think the solution here is probably to continue to allow cops to have tasers, but to up the amount of paperwork they have to do if they use it, and perhaps restrict their use to officers who are carrying video equipment (so if they're used inappropriately there will be evidence).
When I see a cop with a gun it just looks weird and slightly scary, like something off TV.
In the DC suburbs, there's a case where a University of MD student was beaten by cops with batons for not dropping the object in his hand that turned out to be a cell phone. Video here. One cop said he saw the student punch his fellow officer, but some say the video shows the boy raising his arm in a defensive position, not offensive...
kid got off easy, in my part of the country he would have got shot. the cop would get a two week vacation and then put back on duty.
Back in 92, my friend got detained at one of the metal detectors at London Airport because the guard thought the CD player was a bomb. So what happened was that 5 guards with semi automatic weapons pull him off to the side. My friend tried to tell them what is was. So the one guard tells him "Play the thing and make it go round and round." By the way, we were 15 when this all went down.
"Right round, like a record, officer?"
I think I just the pun line.