Cops are Going Taser-Crazy: Teens Injured and Killed By Supposed 'Nonlethal' Weapons

There's a lot of talk about torture these days. Among the political elites the parameter of the debate has narrowed between Obama deciding to continue the torture or abandoning it, despite the fact that Obama vociferously denounced it during the campaign. But such is the way that goalposts are moved in Washington. But the goalposts are moving across our culture as well. Here are two stories about the torture of teenagers by police, one of whom died.

In the first case, you can see perfectly how the government now views the use of electrical shock as a benign tool to force compliance:


Salt Lake City police used a stun gun on a 14-year-old boy after they say he refused to leave the Gateway Mall and resisted arrest on Saturday night.

Around 8 p.m. Saturday, police said a group of kids was trying to pick a fight with a second group.

Gateway security officers asked the group to leave the mall, but they refused and at least one boy actively fought with officers, police said.

"He said his group was waiting for someone, and they were not leaving until they did so -- despite what police and security officers were telling them to do," said Salt Lake City Police Department Det. Dennis McGowan.

The boy cursed at officers and clenched his fists, taking "an aggressive stance," McGowan said.

McGowan said the boy refused to turn around to be arrested and pushed back at officers.

"He wouldn't go on the ground, and officers were unable to gain control," McGowan said. "Apparently they were falling on top of each other, so as a last resort, the officer pulled out his Taser."

McGowan said officers told the boy "over and over" to stop resisting and "had no choice but to deploy the Taser."

"It was for this person's safety as well as the officer's safety," he said. "It's much safer for them to do that versus someone getting beaten, or both parties getting beaten badly."

McGowan said the officers tried to work with the boy, and police were justified in elevating the force for the boy's own protection.

"A Taser only lasts for a few seconds," McGowan said. "Once the shock is over, it's as if nothing happened. The person totally recovers. We use minimum force when necessary -- that's what we try to do on every single call."


"It only last for a few seconds" and then "it's as if nothing happened." (Of course, the pain is akin to major organ failure, but it's such a short jolt of agony that it's hardly worth even thinking about.) It leaves no marks. There is really no reason it shouldn't be used by anyone at any time.

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.