One who enforces laws or guidelines, it’s important to always keep in mind that proper discretion is key to successful enforcement. This video of a young man being tasered is an example of poor assessment of a situation and lack of proper discretion by Cpl Thomas O’Connor.
The officer initiated a stop on the highway and demanded to see the driver’s license, registration and insurance. As he was getting it out, the officer escalated the situation by yelling and pointing his Taser gun at him. Then after changing orders to have the driver exit the vehicle, the officer’s abrasiveness resulted in him yelling at the driver, then electrocuting him (being Tased) to get him on the ground. From that point, the officer became belligerent and called for backup and failed to address why the driver is under arrest. You can read the news article from The Statesman.
The officer was suspended for three days from this incident. Additionally, he has been suspended before for similar behavior, as well has numerous complaints about his demeanor with citizens in his area.
I know a Taser is a non-lethal weapon, but was this application of using it necessary? I’ve been tased (not from an officer, but by friends at a party) before, and it’s very inconvenient to say the least. From a typical traffic citation to being tased on the ground, it’s certainly excessive in my opinion. I’d like to see where in Taser training videos, it stated to yell at someone and use it within 45 seconds of the interaction with a subject.
If I was the victim, I would sue this officer civilly and press charges criminally and ensure there was wide media coverage so all police departments can learn from this example. The only person that had control in the situation, was the only one who escalated it.
Just for anecdotal purposes, I do a certain amount of enforcement and I continually assess and make judgments on many conflicts between users. While it’s easier to close accounts, my discretion allows me to give people a second chance to adhere to the guidelines on our service and often it’s effective.
Sometimes you just need to step back and look at the big picture to make the best judgment.