“Don’t Taze Us, Please”
Idaho police sodomize man with Taser
July 23rd, 2009 · 56 Comments
By Carlos Miller
Boise police already had the suspect handcuffed when they rammed a Taser gun into his anus and fired.
Then they placed the Taser gun against his genitals and threatened to do the same.
At the time, the domestic violence suspect was lying face down with three officers on top of him, according to the Idaho Statesmen.
He couldn’t even breathe.
It was all caught on tape. Here is the exchange that took place:
Cop: Do you feel this?
Suspect: Yes, sir.
Cop: Do you feel that? That’s my …
Cop: … Taser up your ass.
Cop: So don’t move.
Suspect: I’m trying not to. I can’t breathe.
Cop: Now do you feel this in your balls?
Suspect: I do, sir. I’m not going to move. I’m not gonna move.
Cop: Now I’m gonna tase your balls if you move again.
(A full minute goes by)
Cop: Okay, I’m gonna take this Taser out of your asshole now. Are you going to fight with me?
Suspect: No, not at all, sir.
Cop: (to another cop) So far, for the last two minutes, he’s been cooperative. But then my Taser’s in his ass.
Not only was the exchange documented on the cop’s own tape recorder, the suspect ended up with burns on the inside of his right buttock. These were evident in photographs taken ten and 13 days after the incident.
Also, another cop who taped an interview with the suspect at the jail later that night ended up erasing the taped interview.
So you would think the first cop would be prosecuted for sexual assault? Or maybe the second cop be charged with tampering with evidence?
After all, we have a case in Florida where a group of 14-year-old boys are going to be tried as adults because they sodomized one of their classmates with broomsticks and hockey sticks.
But the rules are different when you are a cop.
After an internal investigation, police determined that the first officer violated the department’s use-of-force policy. And the second officer also violated department policy when he erased the taped interview.
Both officers have been “disciplined”, according to police.
But details of the discipline were not released. And neither were the names of the cops.
After all, police say, this is an “internal personnel matter.”
That’s right, nothing to see here. Move along now.
In fact, we would probably not have even heard of this story if it wasn’t for Boise’s Community Ombudsman, Pierce Murphy, who happens to be a former cop. His job is to investigate complaints of misconduct against cops.
Although he never names the cops, he did provide an extensive and graphic 43-page report on his findings.
The officers all told Murphy that the suspect was fighting, resisting and using profanity the entire time they were dealing with him, yet he notes that none of this is evident in the audio recording.
The Complainant was not completely still in response to the orders from police to stop moving. The Complainant was moving his torso and his legs in a manner consistent with trying to breathe more easily. The Complainant’s movements were not consistent with trying to escape from the police, attempting to head butt them, trying to kick any officer, or assaulting the officers.
Discussion of Finding: Consistent statements from the Complainant, Officer #1, Officer #2, Officer #6, and Officer #7. Although Officer #4 described the Complainant as “fighting” with the officers, yelling profanities, not doing what was commanded, kicking, and attempting to head butt them, the audio recording does not support her contention. No yelling of profanity by the Complainant can be heard. When the officers first entered the residence, the Complainant exclaimed, “God damn it. What the fuck?” The Complainant used no profanity after this. Officer #3 also stated that the Complainant was kicking. However, no officer can be heard on the recordings telling the Complainant to, “Stop kicking,” or, “If you kick again, I’ll tase you.” Instead, between the two of them, Officer #3 and Officer #4 told the Complainant several times to, “Stop moving,”.
Murphy also determined that the officers could have killed the suspect by piling on top of him like they did.
In the course of this investigation, it was clear that the involved officers were familiar with the concept of Positional Asphyxia as it relates to prisoners who are hobbled. However, none of the officers seemed to be aware of the possible danger posed by Positional Asphyxia to the Complainant in this case. This was a situation where a heavy, not terribly physically fit, middle-aged man had engaged in heavy physical exertion at the door. He was then placed face-down on the ground and handcuffed with his hands behind his back and the weight of three officers on his body. This may have had the effect of restricting the expansion of the Complainant’s chest and diaphragm, thus inhibiting the ability of the Complainant to get adequate oxygen and exhale sufficient carbon dioxide to compensate for the physical exertion in which he had just engaged.
Around the nation, many in-custody deaths have been attributed to Positional Asphyxia. The following is taken from an article appearing in the June, 1995, National Law Enforcement Technology Center Bulletin produced by the US Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice.
But despite the sodomy, the torture, the destruction of evidence and even the attempted manslaughter, Murphy’s recommendation was that these officers simply needed more training.
Officers getting new law enforcement tool
But before officers can use the weapons, which jolt suspects with five-second bursts of electricity to incapacitate them, the city must adapt its “use of force” policy to accommodate the unusual weapon.
And in a world where most people only hear of Tasers when things go wrong — as in, “Don’t tase me, bro!” and the case of the 72-year-old Texas woman Tasered in May — the city’s Taser policy contains more WILL NOTs than WILL DOs, including:
• Police officers WILL NOT use Tasers near flammable liquids
• Police officers WILL NOT pull the trigger continuously to create extended energy bursts
• Police officers WILL NOT use Tasers on suspects who are passively resisting
• Police officers WILL NOT use Tasers on the elderly, medically/mentally challenged or a young child or a pregnant woman — unless the elderly, medically/mentally challenged or young child has a weapon.
• Police officers WILL NOT use Tasers aimed at the eyes, face, neck or genital areas.
“Number one is to have a very effective policy,” said Mike King, the city’s public safety director. “If you notice, the prohibitions do not say ‘shall not’ or ‘should not.’ It is, ‘you will not use it in this instance.’ This helps clearly send a message to the officer that any type of improper use is absolutely not accepted.”
City Council members were scheduled to vote on the use of force policy at their last meeting. But they held off because they had questions about the policy’s directions for Tasers.
Council members plan to have a special work session to discuss the policy in the next few weeks.
Tasers give an officer an “option that doesn’t involve deadly force, so I think it’s something we need to make sure we get done,” Mayor Bob Coble said.
Columbia’s police department is one of the last in the Midlands to use Tasers, said Geoffrey Alpert, a USC professor and an expert in police use of force.
Nationwide, about 11,500 law enforcement agencies use Tasers, according to a study Alpert co-wrote.
The study compared Taser use in Orlando, Fla., and Austin, Texas. In each city, the injury rate for suspects and officers was reduced.
“I think it’s a very powerful and important tool if used properly,” Alpert said. “But it’s very important to have a very tight policy.”
Columbia police officers also carry batons and pepper spray. The department eventually plans to provide all officers with Tasers.
“State law requires us to do a significant amount of training with the Tasers,” said Col. Carl Burke.
Reach Beam at (803) 771-8405.
Speeding Ticket Taser
Death by Taser: The Killer Alternative to Guns
Student Tasered: Judge Napolitano Is Outraged!
An eyewitness’s video recording of Robert Dziekanski being killed with a Taser by police on Oct. 14 at Vancouver International Airport: