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s/o 11yo, taser, police post


BakersDozen
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This isn't a JAWM nor is it a post solidly in favor of/against the situation or action taken. It's more musing as I muddle through the story and struggle to decide how I feel about it. With all that "fine print" out of the way, here goes...

I'm not sure I disagree with the fact that an 11-year old was tasered by an officer.

She did not stop when told to. This is a huge, huge issue. For whatever reason the girl chose to disregard the officer's instruction. What if she had gotten away? Kids are fast! Had she gotten away might this lead to increased confidence/arrogance in her, potentially with future shoplifting? If continued shoplifting occurred might the girl face even more serious consequences?

The taser was such that the girl was able to return to the store (from what I read). The officer seemed to desire to help her see the seriousness of what she chose to do (again, from what I read).

The outcry is that she was only 11 yet what if this was turned into, "Thank goodness she was only 11!" Impressionable, hopefully stunned at what happened enough to never, never, never do something like that again (shoplift or ignore command from police). And hopefully leading to a lot of parents/kids having serious talks about breaking the law and, even worse, trying to get away when caught.

I'm trying to rattle different scenarios in my head regarding children and tasers. If a child is already making the decision to ignore police commands, might the use of a taser not necessarily be the worst thing that could happen? Not that I think tasers should be used as a first resort but the kid was out of there after being warned/told to stop. The taser stopped her and showed her that the police mean business.

As a mom I want my children to have the utmost respect for the police and the job they have to do. If that was my kid would I be angry? Would I be saying that if police can't handle an 11-year old then they shouldn't be in that business? Would my child be a victim? Or would I thank the police officer for scaring the crud out of my kid and if that's what it took to get through to her (which hopefully it would!) then the taser mark was worth it? If I got a call saying, "Your kid was tasered, please come to the hospital," would I be more focused on the use of the taser or the fact that he/she had shoplifted and then run from police? Or both?

I don't know...honestly, I don't. Was the shock worse than the lesson learned? What other options were there and with what consequences? Had the officer warned that he was going to use the taser then used it would that have been better? What if he didn't feel he had time to warn her (again, kids are way too fast)? Should the girl have been allowed to flee?

Questions...questions...questions... I thought much about this last night at the Fair as there were 2 police officers there. Maybe that's why it is weighing heavily on my mind because anything could have happened at any moment and they would have to respond instantly...I don't envy them their choice of profession.

Hitting 'Submit Topic" with some trepidation yet hopeful for insights that will convince me one way or the other...
 

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I am not of the opinion that “police” means “right.”  Many (including myself) are deathly afraid of police, as people keep ending up dead in their presence. When people are afraid, they sometimes make poor decisions. Also, no one should ever electrocute a child. 

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I know this is not quite what you are asking, but to me, the racist remark made by the officer tells me all I need to know about the inappropriateness of this incident. I wonder what would have happened has this been a young white boy? 

I don’t normally tattle on my kids, but the following story is illustrative:  recently, my DS13 was at a friend’s house and he and the other two boys got into “daring” each other to do things, with the result that the three boys ran over to a neighbor’s house and banged on the door and then fled. Well, they were caught and punished and made to understand how that must have felt for the inhabitants of the house. But one thing that loomed in my head was that if these were not white boys, they might have been shot. I even said this too my son, minus the white boy part; i.e., “You could have gotten shot!” This is a rural area and there are certainly people around there who would believe it is their right to shoot at anyone on their property who might have ill intent. 

But to the point you are asking, no, I am not philosophically of the thinking that if you can overwhelm a kid with pain and fear, then that’s a good way to avert future criminal activity. Pain and fear most often increase the probability that people will behave in anti-social ways. 

It’s like when people have a dog that is a runner and the dog slips out the door, the owner spends forty minutes trying to catch the dog and by bribery or trickery or cornering, they finally grab the dog and then they beat the hell out of the dog. So now they just made it a hundred times less likely that the dog will come to them on the next escape. It is literally training the dog not to trust the owner. 

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My second youngest son managed to grab a toy at the dollar store without me seeing when he was 4yo. When we got home and I saw him with a toy I didn't recognize, I asked him where he got it and if he gave it to the cashier to ring up when we left. Then we talked about stealing and how it is wrong and I made him return it to the store manager and apologize. The manager, seeing how upset ds was, tried to say it was ok and he could keep it but I insisted that he return it because stealing was not ok, no matter how small the item. He was plenty scared just having to apologize for his actions, no electrocution necessary. Granted he was 4 years old, not 11yo, but there are plenty of ways to impress upon a child the seriousness of their actions without physically punishing them or berating them. I would imagine the 11yo isn't afraid of shoplifting again, she is afraid of the police. The punishment, if you will, did not fit the crime.

I also agree with the others who said "police" doesn't equal "right". They are only human beings with their own bias just like everyone else.

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The cop should not have used the taser. 

He should have and could have found her (later) bc she was with 2 other girls, one of whom was her 9 yo sister. And once she was found, I do think there should have been consequences (returning the stolen stuff, community service, and a period of time being banned from the store...just off top of my head) including CPS checking to see if the family has enough food, if they took the food bc they were hungry.*

I'd also like to know why they were out after 9 pm and were they alone? Did their mom send them to store for something? Or were they supposed to be somewhere else? Or were they just unsupervised?

9 and 11 year olds are very young, but still old enough to know what they did was wrong. There was an opportunity here to help them and possibly their family but now it has been lost, I think. 

*articles said it was snacks. It makes me think of the thread about adding fun food for kids at food banks. Maybe they weren't hungry but maybe there is no money for any treats, either, in their family.

 

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He electrocuted an 11 year old for stealing food. She was running away. No, it is not okay. Yes, she should have stopped, but she didn't. She's a child, she made decisions the way a child makes decisions. Likely it never occurred to her that she could get shot for running away from a police officer. It used to be that we valued people over things. Now, those things are more valuable than the people. We used to think it was more important for people to live than it was for us to teach them some kind of lesson.  It used to be that officers used "deadly force" when they were actually threatened or when the person was threatening someone else. Now, it is used when an officer "feels" threatened. Of course that has devolved into thinking that it's okay to electrocute a child over food.

So she stole snack food - maybe she was hungry and took the food she liked the most? Maybe it's just easier to steal snack food than a package of hamburger.

What if she had gotten away? Well, she probably would have eaten the food. Maybe she would have been frightened enough by being chased to never shoplift again. Maybe she would have turned to a life of crime. Who knows? But, she would have lived and she would be in charge of her life. Now she knows she has reason to fear for her life and to not trust police officers.

Not all police officers deserve respect and we all need to realize that. We need to respect the law they represent, but as individuals, there are some officers out there who are very poor decision makers, believe that their badge means they are not to be questioned and behave badly as a result.  We need to stop putting them on a pedestal.

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She was not electrocuted. A taser was used...wrongly, I think.

But *electrocution, electrocuted*, etc...are used to indicate a death or serious injury caused by a electric shock. That is NOT what happened.

Using electrocution, etc serves to shut down the conversation and kills the chance to convince people who might think it is OK to taser an 11 yo just how wrong that is.

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I'm not terribly impressed by the numeric age argument as to why this was wrong. She is just a kid. But some kids are pretty impressive criminals by the age of 11.  Some 11 year old have attempted murder and committed serious crimes.  

In this instance, based on what has been reported, it seems excessive force and frankly ridiculous (and likely there will be a lawsuit). But the use of a taser on a 11 yr old does not warrant a carte blanche 'this is always child abuse by person in position of authority on someone of this age'. 

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33 minutes ago, unsinkable said:

She was not electrocuted. A taser was used...wrongly, I think.

But *electrocution, electrocuted*, etc...are used to indicate a death or serious injury caused by a electric shock. That is NOT what happened.

Using electrocution, etc serves to shut down the conversation and kills the chance to convince people who might think it is OK to taser an 11 yo just how wrong that is.

I disagree. The severity of injury doesn’t play a role. Tasers always injure people, sometimes fatally. The fact is, when a taser is used, the person using it doesn’t know with certainty the effect that it will have. Tasers can be lethal weapons and should be treated as such. Every single time a taser is used, it should be with the assumption that it is lethal. The officer should not have used it if he did not intend to electrocute her. I think speaking frankly about what happens, and what could happen, when a taser is used is exactly what people who think it’s okay to use a taser on an eleven year old shoplifter need to hear. 

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10 minutes ago, TechWife said:

I disagree. The severity of injury doesn’t play a role. Tasers always injure people, sometimes fatally. The fact is, when a taser is used, the person using it doesn’t know with certainty the effect that it will have. Tasers can be lethal weapons and should be treated as such. Every single time a taser is used, it should be with the assumption that it is lethal. The officer should not have used it if he did not intend to electrocute her. I think speaking frankly about what happens, and what could happen, when a taser is used is exactly what people who think it’s okay to use a taser on an eleven year old shoplifter need to hear. 

You disagree with what?

the commonly used meaning of electrocution?

She was not electrocuted, as people commonly understand and use that word.

That doesn't mean what happened to her should have happened or that I agree with what happened to her, because I don't.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, unsinkable said:

You disagree with what?

the commonly used meaning of electrocution?

She was not electrocuted, as people commonly understand and use that word.

That doesn't mean what happened to her should have happened or that I agree with what happened to her, because I don't.

 

 

The definition. Any injury meets the definition, it doesn’t have to be severe. We simply disagree on the common usage of that word. You can find resources that say severe injury, I can find resources that say any injury. I don’t believe using it the way that I do serves to shut down the conversation, as you stated. In this context, it just might wake some people up, IDK. 

Oxford English Dictionary: Injure or kill (someone) by electric shock.

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1 minute ago, TechWife said:

The definition. Any injury meets the definition, it doesn’t have to be severe. We simply disagree on the common usage of that word. You can find resources that say severe injury, I can find resources that say any injury. I don’t believe using it the way that I do serves to shut down the conversation, as you stated. In this context, it just might wake some people up, IDK. 

Oxford English Dictionary: Injure or kill (someone) by electric shock.

Yeah, you don't know what it might do, but if you say to someone, "a cop electrocuted an eleven yo girl." 

and the person responds, "Oh, my God. did she survive?" 

Then you respond, "Well, yeah, she got up and walked back to the store where she had just shoplifted" 

I would think you've lost credibility with that person.

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1 hour ago, LarlaB said:

I'm not terribly impressed by the numeric age argument as to why this was wrong. She is just a kid. But some kids are pretty impressive criminals by the age of 11.  Some 11 year old have attempted murder and committed serious crimes.  

In this instance, based on what has been reported, it seems excessive force and frankly ridiculous (and likely there will be a lawsuit). But the use of a taser on a 11 yr old does not warrant a carte blanche 'this is always child abuse by person in position of authority on someone of this age'. 

 

I am fine with the Carter Blanche “Violence against children is always wrong”.  Full stop. Especially by those in positions of authority. Higher standard folks. 

Does that mean it might not be used if a 10 year old is about to actually shoot someone? No.

But coming from a place of “Violence is wrong, find another way”, encourages other solutions. Currently violent options are becoming the first strategy. 

 

 

Shoplifting does not warrant violence. 

 

“Little Johnny ran away after stealing a piece of candy TASE HIM!!!!” Really? That’s who we want to be? 

 

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As long as we are going to argue semantics...

stun gun

  1. a battery-powered, handheld weapon that fires an electric charge when held against a person and activated by a trigger or button, used, especially by police, to immobilize a person briefly and without injury.

Taser

A Taser is a brand of electroshock weapon sold by Axon. It fires two small dart-like electrodes, which stay connected to the main unit by conductors, to deliver electric current to disrupt voluntary control of muscles, causing "neuromuscular incapacitation".

 

I have to disagree with the "without injury' part as I believe psychological and emotional pain is just as much an injury as physical injury but that is not really the point here. The point I'm trying to make is that a weapon was fired at a child that electrically shocks them into compliance when the crime they committed probably amounted to less than $50 (maybe less than $20, I didn't see a dollar amount in the story) and made a child like decision to try and run, likely out of fear. Should she be punished? Absolutely. Should a weapon have been fired at her to cause her to receive an electric shock and make her comply? Absolutely not.

But in all fairness, I'm not keen on tasers or stun guns being used on adults either. What if the person, child or adult, has a heart condition or some other medical condition that no one, not even the suspect themselves, is aware of and that electric shock does cause injury and secondary complications? The police seem to use tasers much more quickly than they would a normal gun because it supposedly does not cause injury. I would even argue that the stun gun definition above ought to read "without lasting injury" since even a healthy person can be injured by a taser that is being used correctly. It may not be as critical of an injury as being shot with a normal gun but it's not a slap on the wrist either.

If a parent had fired a taser at their 11yo who was running away to avoid the consequences of their actions, there would be very few who would not condemn that parent and call their actions over the top and abusive. I don't see why it should be any different just because the adult has a badge.

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His statements were sick and she was not endangering anyone. Under those circumstances there just can't be any question that it was evil.

 

I will say that 10-14 year olds (more boys than girls) aren't slow. They aren't always weak. My 11 year old is 145 lbs.  My 13 year old is the fastest in our family despite my husband being in very good shape commuting from a suburb to the city on his bike daily (9000 miles in 3 years). But when we play tag or capture the flag my 2 youngest are by far the best players.  

That being said if they get away, it's not great but not the end of the world. It's a little food for Pete's sake, not a serial killer. That doesn't mean that in an actual dangerous situation where you were actually protecting a human being a taser might be useful.

I see a lot of underestimating of children on this thread but I also see a lot of overestimating of police. Police must be more responsible, more careful BECAUSE they are given authority. 

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10 hours ago, BakersDozen said:

 The officer seemed to desire to help her see the seriousness of what she chose to do (again, from what I read)..
 

No. No he did not. There were many ways he could have done that, other than what he actually did and said.  His words said that he wanted her to know that people like her were the reason that blacks don't have enough grocery stores in their neighborhood.  Blaming an 11 year old snack stealer for social discrimination against blacks is not helping her to see the seriousness of her action.  It is helping her see many things, but none of them good.  

 

4 hours ago, TechWife said:

 It used to be that we valued people over things. Now, those things are more valuable than the people. We used to think it was more important for people to live than it was for us to teach them some kind of lesson.  It used to be that officers used "deadly force" when they were actually threatened or when the person was threatening someone else. Now, it is used when an officer "feels" threatened. 

16 minutes ago, OKBud said:

I think that "the police teach children humility* by force in this country...* is an extremely dangerous road to go down.

Do you want authority figures to be allowed to do anything short of killing you if YOU'RE caught doing something wrong? How about instead of a ticket, we just get pistol-whipped when we're caught speeding? Speeding, unlike stealing snacks, is literally dangerous, after all.

Obviously these are off the wall comparisons. I use them only to shed light on the central question. What should police be allowed to do, and under what circumstances shouldn't hey be permitted to do it?  

 

 

The two comments above from Tech and Bud are at the root of the problem, and also what disturb me about the OP's question.  Any disobedience to the law or to a police office does not automatically merit physical force or physical response.  At least, that used to be the case in this country.  As Tech said, we valued life and health over property, or over just teaching obedience or "respect" of the law.

Does an 11 year old (or even a 20 year old) snack-shoplifter who is fleeing the scene pose enough of a threat to anyone to justify physical force/violence being used against that person?  No.  Physical force/violence is not justified by the sole reason of disobeying the law or disobeying a police officer. There have to be other factors involved. If we cross that line as a society.... well, that's a very dangerous place to be.  I don't care if the little girl and her mom both came out and said "I'm so glad, she learned so much from this!"  Nope.  That is not worth crossing that line and all the implications that come with it. 

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3 minutes ago, goldberry said:

No. No he did not. There were many ways he could have done that, other than what he actually did and said.  His words said that he wanted her to know that people like her were the reason that blacks don't have enough grocery stores in their neighborhood.  Blaming an 11 year old snack stealer for social discrimination against blacks is not helping her to see the seriousness of her action.  It is helping her see many things, but none of them good.  

 

 

The two comments above from Tech and Bud are at the root of the problem, and also what disturb me about the OP's question.  Any disobedience to the law or to a police office does not automatically merit physical force or physical response.  At least, that used to be the case in this country.  As Tech said, we valued life and health over property, or over just teaching obedience or "respect" of the law.

Does an 11 year old (or even a 20 year old) snack-shoplifter who is fleeing the scene pose enough of a threat to anyone to justify physical force/violence being used against that person?  No.  Physical force/violence is not justified by the sole reason of disobeying the law or disobeying a police officer. There have to be other factors involved. If we cross that line as a society.... well, that's a very dangerous place to be.  I don't care if the little girl and her mom both came out and said "I'm so glad, she learned so much from this!"  Nope.  That is not worth crossing that line and all the implications that come with it. 

I think it's funny (ironic not haha) that you're here when you basically forbid anyone from speaking a contrary word in your other thread.

Which, if one cares about changing things, is IMO, the wrong way to go.

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1 minute ago, OKBud said:

 

In many places, unfortunately, that has never been the case for many minorities. 

 

In which case, we should be taking more of a stand against it, not making it more socially acceptable or excused.  The recent trend that "anyone who disobeys a police officer deserves whatever happens to them" is not going in the right direction.  This case highlights that I think.

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1 minute ago, unsinkable said:

I think it's funny (ironic not haha) that you're here when you basically forbid anyone from speaking a contrary word in your other thread.

Which, if one cares about changing things, is IMO, the wrong way to go.

 

99.9% of the time I'm fine with contrary viewpoint.  When I posted that thread I was basically broken with sadness over this happening.  I was not up for hearing anyone justifying it.  Also, it was my thread. I did not want a thread that I started becoming a thread justifying what happened.  That may not make sense to you, which is fine. I debated responding to this thread but because I do hope that people can be changed through discussion, I responded.  There is no contradiction to me. 

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I also am very grateful for our police.  It's a false narrative that just because a person sees injustice or abuse of power in certain police actions, that they are "anti-police".  I have heard more than one police officer say that the bad cops out there make the good cops more likely to get killed or to be involved in violence. It is in every one's interest that these issues get called out.

Are there police-haters out there?  Yes.  Just like there are also those who would defend any police action no matter what it is.  Most of us are (hopefully) in the middle somewhere.  Part of the problem is the all or nothing narrative. 

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11 hours ago, BakersDozen said:

This isn't a JAWM nor is it a post solidly in favor of/against the situation or action taken. It's more musing as I muddle through the story and struggle to decide how I feel about it. With all that "fine print" out of the way, here goes...

I'm not sure I disagree with the fact that an 11-year old was tasered by an officer.

She did not stop when told to. This is a huge, huge issue. For whatever reason the girl chose to disregard the officer's instruction. What if she had gotten away? Kids are fast! Had she gotten away might this lead to increased confidence/arrogance in her, potentially with future shoplifting? If continued shoplifting occurred might the girl face even more serious consequences?

The taser was such that the girl was able to return to the store (from what I read). The officer seemed to desire to help her see the seriousness of what she chose to do (again, from what I read).

Dh is a LEO. Dh isn’t even sure the makers of the taser say it’s designed to use on children, but it’s certainly against department policy. Number of scenarios that dh would ponder using a taser on an 11 year old kid? Zero. Number of times dh has used a taser in the last ten years? One.  And even if the person in question here was an adult? You don’t use a taser on someone running away.

Tasing someone as a deterrent? Uh, no. There are probably 1,000 different ways to deal with this that don’t involve a taser and would leave a lasting impact.

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14 minutes ago, goldberry said:

 

99.9% of the time I'm fine with contrary viewpoint.  When I posted that thread I was basically broken with sadness over this happening.  I was not up for hearing anyone justifying it.  Also, it was my thread. I did not want a thread that I started becoming a thread justifying what happened.  That may not make sense to you, which is fine. I debated responding to this thread but because I do hope that people can be changed through discussion, I responded.  There is no contradiction to me. 

I never said it didn't make sense to me. I said if it was so important to you to change, telling everyone to JAWM isn't the way to go.

It's like you're responding to something I didn't even write. 

But you did make me laugh. "Also, it was my thread." Well, Ok then.

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17 minutes ago, OKBud said:

 

The policeman who did it thought so. Even though it hurt his precious feelings to do it. 

I think it's fair for the OP to reach out to sort it through in her own mind. For many of us, still, the police are always a force for good. I'm actively happy when I see police in my neighborhood. 

The way he talked about his precious feelings was straight out of an afterschool special about abuse. "It's your fault I have to do it!" Boohoo.

I get weary about this stuff. Most police are good people, yes, I don't hate individual police officers... but also, it's not a bad apples problem - there is a problem of systematic abuse and its encouragement in many, if not most, police forces. We are militarizing our police, which is not good for society. People like to mock de-escalation training, but it's real. It won't solve everything, but it can help if we'd only embrace it. Racism is real and plays a part in bias of enforcement - even by black cops. And we're still talking about all this stuff with people who "aren't sure" and need to "work out their feelings." And... it's frustrating when you're watching a child get tased. And tasers are not harmless. They hurt. They can even kill (police have killed more than a thousand people with tasers in the last decade).

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18 hours ago, unsinkable said:

I never said it didn't make sense to me. I said if it was so important to you to change, telling everyone to JAWM isn't the way to go.

It's like you're responding to something I didn't even write. 

But you did make me laugh. "Also, it was my thread." Well, Ok then.

Ugh. I was saying it was my thread to explain why I did not want a thread *that I started* to be justifying the behavior.  My thread as opposed to someone else's thread who was comfortable justifying it.  Not sure why you are being so adversarial about it.  

Threads have different purposes.  The thread I started was JAWM because I needed to vent about it and did not want at that time to listen to justifications.  You thought it was ironic I commented here after posting that thread.  There is no irony.  The purpose of this thread was discussion.

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The cop was probably wrong to taser her just for shoplifting IMO.  (Note:  "probably" in case there were facts I don't know.)  That said, I am not prepared to say a tase is never indicated just because the age is 11.

This post does remind me of some situations where the parents were more concerned about what the child did (and whether s/he learned not to do it again) vs. whether the adult was in the right.

When my brother was about 13, he and one or two friends decided to "egg" the home of a classmate.  They threw an egg at a house.  The classmate's father was sitting inside, minding his own business and drinking beer.  Father ran outside and chased the kids down in his car.  Father actually ran over the bike my brother was riding.  Brother was not seriously injured, but was knocked about a bit.  Someone called the cops.

Brother was taken to juvenile court, scolded, required to clean off the egg, required to pay restitution, and probably some other punishment from the court.  My parents, concerned about the character issues involved for the kid they were raising, added additional punishments at home.

The guy who drove drunk, chased the kid, and ran over the bike?  The judge told him he shouldn't drive drunk any more.  That was it.  No punishment, no restitution for the destroyed bike.  Was that right?  By today's standards, he might have gotten a DUI, but that would have been his concern, not ours.

And in general, when I was growing up, most parents would have put more of a hurting on a delinquent child than a taser would.  They would be saying, I'm beating your butt right now because I don't want you getting shot and killed later.

I don't think the taser incident is the best example to use, but I do think that there have been many cases in recent years where the parents seem to lose sight of what their kid did to get himself/herself into the situation.  As a parent, that is really my concern.  What is my kid doing, what do I need to be doing as a parent to deal with risks my kid is taking?

 

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On a related topic - the comment the cop made about no grocery stores in black neighborhoods.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seemed to me the cop was black.  I think it is fairly common culturally for people to make comments like that about their own community.  I am not sure how I feel about the cop being disciplined for saying this.

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17 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

To my way of thinking, it's not really ok to use a taser of anyone who is just shoplifting from Kroger.  If we were talking about a 20 yr old shoplifting tens thousands of dollars of diamond rings from a jewelry store, that's a different kind of shoplifting.  A grocery store generally clearances or takes a loss on so much more for stupid stuff like cut open boxes (even though the bag in the box isn't open) or stuff that just plain doesn't even sell by it's sell date, even if it's actually still good.  Seriously, a back pack full of cracker sandwiches, cheetoes, hershey bars and such, it's just really not worth that much effort.  I don't care if the person is 11, 21, 51 or 81.

 

 

I agree. People over things. 

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36 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

I personally don’t and said so in the other thread.  That doesn’t mean NO instances of using a taser on a minor are justified, though.  That’s my issue - there are certainly some that come to mind.  But not a property crime.  Or when a subject is capable of complying or being subdued safely in any other way.

I'm not sure... I mean, I think a situation where a minor is an imminent threat maybe. I'm not totally sold that even in a very serious crime that - in the absence of any threat - that such a visibly young child should ever be tased.

In this case, I don't think it's really up for debate.

In a perfect world, LEO's would have training and leeway to use more common sense about stuff like this. And we'd all trust them to do so more. And they'd constantly be reviewing their practices and working on issues around bias and excessive force and considering what we want police to really do in our communities and what harm is created when police approach situations like this one - which likely needed compassion, not force - with this sort of over-reactive attitude. But while some police departments seem to be taking those questions seriously, so many seem to be very adversarial about them, which means I don't have a lot of trust in letting officers use common sense about a situation where a minor might merit being tased.

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1 hour ago, Arctic Mama said:

Tasers are actually specifically NOT classified as ‘lethal force’ in legal ruling, as far as I have seen.

Yet, they can be lethal. If someone uses a taser, they need to realize that they could kill the person they use it on. Shoplifting food isn’t worth killing over.

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20 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

Something possibly killing someone doesn’t mean it is designated as lethal force.  You’re either intentionally misunderstanding or being dishonest at this point.  Disliking or disagreeing with the method doesn’t mean the legal definition must comply with your moral one. Or did I not explain explicitly enough in the other thread, and here, in multiple posts?  Sheesh.

I’m not quibbling with your description. You provoded a legal definition. I don’t believe that the law is the only thing in play. There are practical (for lack of a better term) and moral concerns. Morally speaking, if I use a weapon that has the potential to kill, then I must be reconciled to that fact and use it only when absolutely necessary. Whether or not a taser is legally classified as a lethal weapon doesn’t really matter. What matters, from a moral standpoint (yes, moral) is whether or not it is necessary to approach a shoplifter with the mindset that the offense is serious enough to warrant bodily harm and possibly death. I think you and I and many others on this thread have said that it’s not an appropriate reaction to a shoplifter. 

You have made your position clear and I hope with the above description I have made mine clear as well. If not, I’m not sure how else to explain my viewpoint, other than to restate that not everything that is legal is moral, and yes, I make a distinction when necessary. 

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4 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

To my way of thinking, it's not really ok to use a taser of anyone who is just shoplifting from Kroger.  If we were talking about a 20 yr old shoplifting tens thousands of dollars of diamond rings from a jewelry store, that's a different kind of shoplifting.  A grocery store generally clearances or takes a loss on so much more for stupid stuff like cut open boxes (even though the bag in the box isn't open) or stuff that just plain doesn't even sell by it's sell date, even if it's actually still good.  Seriously, a back pack full of cracker sandwiches, cheetoes, hershey bars and such, it's just really not worth that much effort.  I don't care if the person is 11, 21, 51 or 81.

 

 

 

My dh worked at a logistics place for a supermarket chain. It is absolutely, sickenly obscene the amount of good food wasted. You have no idea. They had to throw away pallets full of produce.

We asked about donating it but they said that the supermarket already had a donation scheme and that they couldn't donate this stuff due to public health liability. I'm talking hundreds of punnets of beautiful fresh raspberries and the like.

Now he works at a chocolate factory and the food waste is still obscene. Someone made a scheduling error and you have tons of ingredient going straight off the line into the garbage bin. Not because there's anything wrong with it, but because the other ingredients weren't scheduled and it's cheaper to start again rather than store it.

Reminds me of Grapes of Wrath, security guarding the ditched fruit while people starve to death...

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Also, I shop lifted all the time when I was about 11. All the time. We had plenty of food at home, middle class family.

Of course shop lifting is wrong. I haven't read details of this case beyond this thread. But wow tazing a shoplifting preteen sounds like warped priorities to me.

 

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I have an 11yo (boy.)

If I were to discover he shoplifted, I would not taze him.  If I were to see him trying to shoplift, I would not taze him.  CAN YOU IMAGINE IF I DID?!?!  My kids would be removed from my care and I would probably serve time.

Somehow, I feel like people would be more upset if he had caught and spanked her.  But they're fine with justifying more serious injury. Unbelievable.

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21 hours ago, LarlaB said:

I'm not terribly impressed by the numeric age argument as to why this was wrong. She is just a kid. But some kids are pretty impressive criminals by the age of 11.  Some 11 year old have attempted murder and committed serious crimes.  

In this instance, based on what has been reported, it seems excessive force and frankly ridiculous (and likely there will be a lawsuit). But the use of a taser on a 11 yr old does not warrant a carte blanche 'this is always child abuse by person in position of authority on someone of this age'. 

 

I agree with this entirely.  

DH as a young teen was tazed voluntarily at a boy scout camp.  They were testing out a theory on how someone could keep moving.   He said it was most definitely not pleasant, but it wasn't that big of a deal.  

 

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14 hours ago, Medicmom2.0 said:

According to the articles I’ve read, the police officer is also black.   His defense seems to be he was trying to teach her a lesson.

 

 

His being black makes absolutely no difference when it comes to my judgment of his behavior or what he said to her.  (Not saying you are saying that, just stating my own opinion on it.) 

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Finally finding a moment to get back to this thread.. A number of responses indicated that the girl was tazed for shoplifting which was not (I don't believe) the case. She was told to stop but she took off instead. That is why the officer used the taser. And that is what prompts my mind to fill with memories of news stories where a suspect did not obey police orders with dreadful consequences (true, there are also stories where suspects did obey with dire consequences but that is another topic that I'm sure has been discussed). So in my mind's eye I picture this girl running and I project her action to others who chose to do the same and something wells up in me - overwhelming anger, alarm, fear? I picture my 11-year old and how I would feel if she ran from police...and I come back to my original dilemma of wondering if her choice would outrage me more than the use of a taser or not.

I fear for my children with all the normal fears that keep moms awake at night. I cannot imagine how afraid I would be if I found out my child had run from police. What is driving these overwhelming emotions in me is that fear and wondering if the use of a taser would cause more good or more harm mentally/emotionally for the child and the community. If the girl was tazed for shoplifting I would be outraged. That she ran has me shocked and questioning the officer's decision to use the taser. I do agree with much of what was posted in the responses, I just have to sort this out in my mind, I guess.


 

 

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3 hours ago, BakersDozen said:

Finally finding a moment to get back to this thread.. A number of responses indicated that the girl was tazed for shoplifting which was not (I don't believe) the case. She was told to stop but she took off instead. That is why the officer used the taser. And that is what prompts my mind to fill with memories of news stories where a suspect did not obey police orders with dreadful consequences (true, there are also stories where suspects did obey with dire consequences but that is another topic that I'm sure has been discussed). So in my mind's eye I picture this girl running and I project her action to others who chose to do the same and something wells up in me - overwhelming anger, alarm, fear? I picture my 11-year old and how I would feel if she ran from police...and I come back to my original dilemma of wondering if her choice would outrage me more than the use of a taser or not.

I fear for my children with all the normal fears that keep moms awake at night. I cannot imagine how afraid I would be if I found out my child had run from police. What is driving these overwhelming emotions in me is that fear and wondering if the use of a taser would cause more good or more harm mentally/emotionally for the child and the community. If the girl was tazed for shoplifting I would be outraged. That she ran has me shocked and questioning the officer's decision to use the taser. I do agree with much of what was posted in the responses, I just have to sort this out in my mind, I guess.
 

The details that I read were (1) that she *walked* away, not "took off" and (2) that the officer was working as security, not a police officer, in this incident. Not that that changes my own perspective if it's the case, because I feel the same even if an 11yo girl was running from an on-duty police officer while suspected of (and later, charged for) shoplifting.

I don't see any room for questioning the officer's... let's say motive. He wanted to stop an 11yo shoplifter.  He didn't suspect a murderer.  He didn't suspect a drug dealer. He didn't suspect a terrorist. He suspected a shoplifter.  He, nor the possible people around him, were in danger. 

Shoplifting is not okay.  Walking away from a security guard isn't okay, either.  Just because something isn't okay, doesn't mean physical measures are appropriate.  If your kids come over to my house and act like real jerks, can I, as the authority in the situation, just do as I see fit to "handle it"?  Or are there some basic expectations that humane and rational decisions will be made?  When I send my kids out in public, should I accept that, if they decide to do stupid things, store employees can physically assault them?

Sometimes kids act like jerks.  While that might astonish you, it astonishes me more that you want to believe you might not be upset if yours got hit with a taser for stupid (or perhaps desperate) behavior, that you would consider they might have deserved it. 

Whatever narrative we want to create, I still maintain that it all boils down to the fact that white kids stealing are being obnoxious little scamps who did a naughty thing to look cool among their friends. (All the psych articles pretty much agree.)  Black kids stealing, on the other hand, are viewed as impending threats to society and must be punished (instead of helped) in effort to "cure" them before it's inevitably too late.  That is a problem!!! That is not a "normal" fear to have for one's children. 

I did not, and still do not, fear that my 11yo little white boy is going to get hit with an officer's taser for ANY reason.  Not because my kid would never do anything wrong, but because I have zero reason to think he might suffer inappropriate consequences.

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If a child is so afraid of the police that they run, tazing them for running is not going to make them less afraid of police. It will make them run sooner and faster next time, more than likely. 

The answer is not to use violence to teach the child not to run from police, the answer is to fix our police department and our society so that small children are not afraid of them. 

Although seriously, no one ever made a bad decision or went into fight or flight mode when panicked???? No one ever ran away when scared rather than stay and face the music? It's normal behavior for a human, especially in a child. It's instinctive. And the appropriate response is not violence. 

Ask yourself, would I be okay with a school official using such violence on my child? A babysitter? Then why a store security guard?

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I don’t care what his primary job was. He was a security guard in this instance. And a security guard isn’t owed crap. They have no authority. He has no rights to detain people. No rights to assault them. No rights to interrogate them.  As a security guard, if they see a crime committed, their job is to call the cops. If they tell someone to leave and that person refuses, they call the cops to enforce trespassing laws. He was not being physically threatened and had zero just cause to use force of any kind to stop her.

Every day, parents fight with their kids and their kids storm out of the house in thoughtless anger or fear, reasonable or not, that could lead to trouble or accidents and yet no one would buy it if a parent claimed they tased their kid out of concern they might run into traffic or what all else. Because that’s bullshirt crazy talk.

People saying tasing is no big deal need to just shut up. Having barbs shot into you that apply a voltage of any level, much less one strong enough that you fall over and can’t function for several minutes is a big freaking deal. Just because it’s better than a bullet doesn’t make it okay. I mean good grief, he could have punched her and that’s better than a bullet too but not okay either. No one was being physically threatened so there was no need for a security guard or a cop to use force, whether she was 11 or 21.

This shouldn’t be that difficult a concept for our society to grasp.

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8 hours ago, BakersDozen said:

A number of responses indicated that the girl was tazed for shoplifting which was not (I don't believe) the case. She was told to stop but she took off instead. That is why the officer used the taser.

My dh is a LEO. He carries a taser every shift. You do not use a taser on people running away. Full stop. That’s not what tasers are used for. You also do not use a taser to stop someone being hit by a car in a parking lot as another poster has suggested. Again, this is not what tasers are for!

And if you don’t believe me. Here’s on department’s taser use policy - http://www.pbpd.org/Policies/Chapter-V/POL-0510-_Electronic Restraint Device -Taser_.pdf. This department does not allow the use of tasers on children or those weighing less than 80lbs. They’re also not meant to be used as tools or coercion or punishment. You’ll also notice that it talks about subduing a combative subject that the officer is arresting, not on a fleeing subject.

Here’s the Medford PD taser use policy - https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/field_document/30157-30162 Taser Policy.pdf. You’ll notice here, this policy explicitly prohibts taser use on fleeing individuals. And again, not on children.

The rest of the post that follows, does not follow because the underlying premise assumes that this instance was a proper usage of a taser. It is not. The officer in question used a taser in a way that is not the normal usage - in fact his usage runs counter to the standards a whole heck of a lot of departments follow for taser usage. This is not how tasers are meant to be used. This is not what tasers are for. Period.

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Honestly, I probably would have run from a security guard when I was 11.  I don't think it indicates a character flaw.  In my case, my fear would have been that they would tell my parents and my mother would tan my hide.  Not for running, but for shoplifting.  It would not have occurred to me that I might be shot by an officer over a petty theft.

I do teach my kids to respect the cops and do what they say.  I'm sure I was taught the same.  Obviously once a kid has decided to shoplift, she has chosen not to follow the sage teachings of her trusted adults.

(To reiterate, I don't agree with the use of a taser in the incident discussed here.)

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2 hours ago, Murphy101 said:

 

People saying tasing is no big deal need to just shut up. Having barbs shot into you that apply a voltage of any level, much less one strong enough that you fall over and can’t function for several minutes is a big freaking deal. Just because it’s better than a bullet doesn’t make it okay. I mean good grief, he could have punched her and that’s better than a bullet too but not okay either. No one was being physically threatened so there was no need for a security guard or a cop to use force, whether she was 11 or 21.

This shouldn’t be that difficult a concept for our society to grasp.

Every now and then you post something that reminds me why you are one of my very favorite posters on this board. Thank you. Even on the rare occasions I disagree with you (this isn't one of them) I find you a breath of fresh air and common sense and decency. Thank you. 

(also, am I the only one worried about someone hitting their head hard if they fall when tased)

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22 hours ago, mamaraby said:

My dh is a LEO. He carries a taser every shift. You do not use a taser on people running away. Full stop. That’s not what tasers are used for. You also do not use a taser to stop someone being hit by a car in a parking lot as another poster has suggested. Again, this is not what tasers are for!

 

Yes! No matter what the legal definition, tasers are potentially deadly. Morally, that needs to be weighed in the consideration of every use. Shoplifting? Potentially deadly force not justified! Running away? Potentially deadly force not justified! If the 11yo has a knife AND is threatening to kill herself, then, yes, I could see a police officer making the decision to use a taser, because of the risk-benefits equation.

I say police officer, not security guard.  I want to believe the best of cops (despite the decisively bad examples). They are (should be) trained to not go with their instincts, but think quickly about their response. That quick risk assessment should be part of their toolbox just like the taser and gun. I think people with training, who are skilled with making those decisions, should be the only "enforcement professionals" allowed to carry tasers or guns. (I guess I would want all armed security people to be either off-duty LEOs or people who have trained as LEOs and continue that training...NOT people who have just been trained by TASER, the company!)

I've been reading the medical articles and autopsy reports (1500 people have died after being tasered in the US and Canada, 150 deaths have been (officially) attributed to the taser attack, so the information is out there. Plenty more have been revived and hospitalized.) I simply can't see EVER using a Taser unless the other result is clearly potentially fatal for someone.

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