Naked Man Killed By Cop's Taser in Texas; UK Journalist Investigates Taser Abuse

Finally, someone has written a thoughtful argument against tasers in a mainstream newspaper. It's in Britain, but they are on verge of going full taser, so it's right that they should be discussing it. It's more than we ever did here in the US.

Johann Hari:


Daniel Sylvester can't forget the night the police fired 50,000 volts of electricity into his skull. The 46-year-old grandfather owns his own security business, and he was recently walking down the street when a police van screeched up to him.

He didn't know what they wanted, but obeyed when they told him to approach slowly. "I then had this incredible jolt of pain on the back of my head," he explains. The electricity made him spasm; as he fell to the ground, he felt his teeth scatter on the tarmac and his bowels open. "Then they shot me again in the head. I can't describe the pain." (Another victim says it is "like someone reached into my body to rip my muscles apart with a fork.") The police then saw he was not the person they were looking for, said he was free to go, and drove off.

This did not happen in Egypt or Saudi Arabia or any other country notorious for using electro-shock weapons. It happened in north London and, if the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, has her way, it will be coming soon to a street near you. In Britain there are 3,000 police officers trained to use Tasers as part of specialised armed response units, but Smith has fired a jolt forward. She wants there to be 30,000 Taser-carrying officers, authorised to use them against unarmed citizens, including children. These "stun-guns" fire small metal darts into your skin, and through the trailing wires run an agonising electric current through your body.

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