Ban Cops From Using Tasers Before Another Young Man Dies

The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner recently issued a landmark ruling: Israel "Reefa" Hernandez, who was shot with a Miami Beach Police Taser last August, died of heart failure because of an "electric device discharge." It was the first time in Florida that a medical examiner had made such a finding, and it prompted the American Civil Liberties Union to demand that local police departments revamp how they train cops to use stun guns.

Cops shouldn't be aiming stun guns at people's hearts.

This all came after three other men died after being Tasered by police.

Last month, Willie Sams, a 21-year-old from northwest Georgia who was visiting his grandmother in Liberty City, was electrocuted by police responding to a domestic dispute. Around the same time, cops Tasered 37-year-old Maykel Antonio Barrera after he tried to fight his way out of custody. The same day, Hialeah officers answering a call that Treon Johnson was beating dogs with a pipe shocked the 27-year-old Miami Gardens man into submission.

Last year, 18-year-old Hernandez led Miami Beach officers on a foot chase after he was caught tagging a wall with graffiti. One of the cops, Jorge Mercado, zapped Hernandez in the chest. The teen collapsed and later died at Mount Sinai Hospital. His death sparked protests, but his family and friends are still waiting for justice to be meted out against Mercado.

None of these incidents warranted using a Taser because the suspects were unarmed and there were more than two cops on the scene to subdue them. And cops shouldn't be aiming stun guns at people's hearts anyway. Even Taser International, the stun gun maker, warned officers in 2009 to steer clear of shooting at the chest because of the risk of cardiac arrest.

Local police departments should stop using Tasers before cops end up killing another unarmed young man. Right now we don't know if the manufacturer or the police are at fault.

Until we can hold police or Taser International accountable, officers must holster their stun guns.

Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.

 
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3 comments
Lynxx3
Lynxx3

I don't think you should ban cops from using tasers. What's the statistics on how many lives it's saved through it's use (instead of a gun) You have to give law enforcement something to subdue a potential criminal with. The use of tasers I would suspect, has saved many more lives than it took.

I am not condoning the right to use it (or any other weapon) when someone is running, unarmed,

and not threatening deadly force. 

I'm simply stating that the use of it across the country has saved more lives than it took, and allowed Police to take into custody people that may have harmed themselves, others, or the cops themselves.

veteransforthedraft
veteransforthedraft

It's interesting that you forgot to mention the damage done to someone else's property by Hernandez.  But then, he didn't deface your property.  The problem isn't the police, it's the punks who break the laws.

melliimel12
melliimel12

That's what I found interesting also. No mention of the wrong doing he did, just that cops did something wrong. It is sad that a life was lost but the entire situation needs to be analyzed and not just the side of one.

 
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