Re: Control and Restraint
I stand corrected: I checked in with a hospital coworker married to a local officer; she said that there have actually been two deaths in this county directly caused by tasers, both of which were related to meth abuse by the victims.
However, if I were faced with a freaked-out officer with a baton, a gun, and a taser, I'd personally hope he reaches for the taser. Which is not to say that it's ok for officers to be freaked out and out of control.
I felt safer in Portland, OR, a large city, than I do here in Arcata, a town of ~20K. There is a very large, very strong drug use subculture here, and it has a very negative impact on the town.
I just wrote and then erased a paragraph worth of specific examples; sufice it to say that I believe, based on my own observations, that this area's *local* police force isn't using excessive force. When my co-worker says that the taser victims were violent and could not have been safely restrained, I believe her because I have personally seen violent, out-of-control people tripped out on meth several times in the few years that I've lived here.
Which is not to say that whacking an old guy in the back of the head, or tasing as a routine form of arrest, is ok for an officer to do; that wasn't what I meant to imply.