In Washington, two officers subdued a 6-foot-5-inch naked man with two pairs of handcuffs and at least three Taser shocks so that they could arrest him.
According to the police report, they were called to check out reports of a 23 year old man who had his pants down around his ankles and was screaming at the top of his lungs. One witness at the scene said that the man was “stressing out” and had ripped off his clothing.
While at the scene speaking with the witness, the officer and an undercover detective heard people fighting inside a nearby house. The police officer said that he suspected that the man inside the house was on PCP because two other people in the area had recently been arrested while on the drug.
When the officer decided that he was going to enter the house, the witness advised him that the man was around 315 pounds, and that he might need backup. So, the officer and the detective entered the house and called for backup.
Inside, they found the nearly naked man with a “wild look” in his eyes. The police report says that the man’s chest was heaving and that his arms were flailing.
Then the situation quickly escalated. The man charged at the officers, so the officer fired his Taser at him without warning him. The man fell to the floor but started to get up again, so he was shot with the Taser gun two or three more times. He reportedly attempted to lick the Taser wires while saying things like “times five” and “make a movie”.
The officers got the man outside and covered him with a blanket as he began biting the ground and getting mouthfuls of grass and dirt.
After things were under control, the house was searched and drug paraphernalia was found. There are also about $1,000 worth of damage done to the home.
The man was taken to the hospital, and then to jail, on suspicion of malicious mischief.
So, were police out of line in repeatedly Tasering this man? Or was it a situation in which he was so out of control that it was reasonably necessary?
Obviously, I wasn’t there, so I’m not completely sure. I’m also not really sure if “Taser first, ask questions later” is the best approach, but over and over in the news you see that is the approach police officers are taking.