Republished from Electronic Village
Electronic Village: 50 Taser-Related Deaths in the United States
There are not many states in the nation who have not been involved in a taser-related death this year. Tasers are now deployed in law enforcement agencies in 29 of the 33 largest U.S. cities.
Perhaps the idea of an electric rifle made sense when it was first invented. However, we now see too much taser abuse.
First available to law enforcement in February 1998, now used by more than 14,200 law enforcement agencies in more than 40 countries. More than 406,000 taser guns have been sold since the product hit the market. It may be time for congressional hearings.
This blog has been pointing out incidents of police taser torture for quite awhile. The work done over the past few years by Patti Gillman and Cameron Ward inspired this post. Gillman and Ward documented over 450 taser-related deaths in North America on their blog.
Our blog has documented 50 taser-related deaths in the United States since the beginning of the year:
Jan 9, 2009: Derrick Jones, 17, Black, Martinsville, Virginia
Jan 11, 2009: Rodolfo Lepe, 31, Hispanic, Bakersfield, California
Jan 22, 2009: Roger Redden, 52, Caucasian, Soddy Daisy, Tennessee
Feb 2, 2009: Garrett Jones, 45, Caucasian, Stockton, California
Feb 11, 2009: Richard Lua, 28, Hispanic, San Jose, California
Feb 13, 2009: Rudolph Byrd, 37, Black, Thomasville, Georgia
Feb 13, 2009: Michael Jones, 43, Black, Iberia, Louisiana
Feb 14, 2009: Chenard Kierre Winfield, 32, Black, Los Angeles, California
Feb 28, 2009: Robert Lee Welch, 40, Caucasian, Conroe, Texas
Mar 22, 2009: Brett Elder, 15, Caucasian, Bay City, Michigan
Mar 26, 2009: Marcus D. Moore, 40, Black, Freeport, Illinois
Apr 1, 2009: John J. Meier Jr., 48, Caucasian, Tamarac, Florida
Apr 6, 2009: Ricardo Varela, 41, Hispanic, Fresno, California
Apr 10, 2009: Robert Mitchell, 16, Black, Detroit, Michigan
Apr 13, 2009: Craig Prescott, 38, Black, Modesto, California
Apr 16, 2009: Gary A. Decker, 50, Black, Tuscon, Arizona
Apr 18, 2009: Michael Jacobs Jr., 24, Black, Fort Worth, Texas
Apr 30, 2009: Kevin LaDay, 35, Black, Lumberton, Texas
May 4, 2009: Gilbert Tafoya, 53, Caucasian, Holbrook, Arizona
May 17, 2009: Jamaal Valentine, 27, Black, La Marque, Texas
May 23, 2009: Gregory Rold, 37, Black, Salem, Oregon
Jun 9, 2009: Brian Cardall, 32, Caucasian, Hurricane, Utah
Jun 13, 2009: Dwight Madison, 48, Black, Bel Air, Maryland
Jun 20, 2009 Derrek Kairney, 36, Race: Unknown, South Windsor, Connecticut
Jun 30, 2009, Shawn Iinuma, 37, Asian, Fontana, California
Jul 2, 2009, Rory McKenzie, 25, Black, Bakersfield, California
Jul 20, 2009, Charles Anthony Torrence, 35, Caucasion, Simi Valley, California
Jul 30, 2009, Johnathan Michael Nelson, 27, Caucasion, Riverside County, California
Aug 9, 2009, Terrace Clifton Smith, 52, Race: Unknown, Moreno Valley, California
Aug 12, 2009, Ernest Ridlehuber, 53, Race: Unknown, Greenville, South Carolina
Aug 14, 2009, Hakim Jackson, 31, Black, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Aug 18, 2009, Ronald Eugene Cobbs, 38, Black, Greensboro, North Carolina
Aug 20, 2009, Francisco Sesate, 36, Hispanic, Mesa, Arizona
Aug 22, 2009, T.J. Nance, 37, Race: Unknown, Arizona City, Arizona
Aug 26, 2009, Miguel Molina, 27, Hispanic, Los Angeles, California
Aug 27, 2009, Manuel Dante Dent, 27, Hispanic, Modesto, California
Sep 3, 2009, Shane Ledbetter, 38, Caucasian, Aurora, Colorado
Sep 16, 2009, Alton Warren Ham, 45, Caucasian, Modesto, California
Sep 19, 2009, Yuceff W. Young II, 21, Black, Brooklyn, Ohio
Sep 21, 2009, Richard Battistata, 44, Hispanic, Laredo, Texas
Sep 28, 2009, Derrick Humbert, 38, Black, Bradenton, Florida
Oct 2, 2009, Rickey Massey, 38, Black, Panama City, Florida
Oct 12, 2009, Christopher John Belknap, 36, Race: Unknown, Ukiah, California
Oct 16, 2009, Frank Cleo Sutphin, 19, Caucasian, San Bernadino, California
Oct 27, 2009, Jeffrey Woodward, 33, Race: Unknown, Gallatin, Tennessee
Nov 13, 2009, Herman George Knabe, 58, Caucasian, Corpus Christi, Texas
Nov 14, 2009, Darryl Bain, 43, Black, Coram, New York
Nov 16, 2009, Matthew Bolick, 30, Caucasian, East Grand Rapids, Michigan
Nov 19, 2009, Jesus Gillard, 61, Black, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Nov 21, 2009, Ronald Petruney, 49, Race: Unknown, Washington, Pennsylvania
I think it is worth noting that at least 21 of these deaths of these taser-torture killings occurred against African American men. We make up about 6% of the total population, yet 42% of the taser-related deaths in America this year are Black men.
However, nothing seems to be able to stop the continued taser-related killings. I remain convinced that the 'Use of Force Continuum' needs to show tasers as 'near-lethal' ... definitely an error to claim that they are 'non-lethal'.
Something is wrong! I appreciate the 2,000 or so folks that have signed our online petition asking for congressional hearings on taser torture. We plan to bring our voices together on December 4, 2009 in a Day of Blogging for Justice: Stop Taser Torture. I hope that you will join our effort on that date!
What say are your thoughts about these taser-related deaths?
AfroSpear and afrosphere participants are also circulating an online petition calling for Congressional hearings into the increasing number of "Taser" electrocution deaths, and into video evidence that "Tasers" are being used as torture devices and devices of summary extra-judicial executions.