Alex Zhen 8C
Abuse of Power by Police Officers
What do you think a police officer is? A hero, a good Samaritan, or maybe a criminal in disguise? The police have access to a large arsenal of weapons, one being the taser. Did you know that the taser can fire up to 50,000 volts of electricity?
A taser is a small gun-like device that fires electric darts to paralyze a person temporarily. The jolt stuns the target by causing a contraction of the muscle tissue. The target would be immobilized and would fall to the ground, regardless of pain tolerance or mental focus. It is a common weapon used by police officers to help control situations where excessive force is needed, and is often misused. A taser is used to allow police officers to restrain violent individuals without the risks a gun, baton, or other method would have, but how much of a risk is too much?
Statistics show that in 2009, Toronto police officers used tasers 307 times in 273 incidents. Out of the 273 incidents, only 246 were discharged on civilians and one third of the tasered were part of a category of “emotional disturbed”. Most of the 246 people who were stunned by the taser in 2009 had a combination of substance abuse, mental illness or emotional trouble in their lives.
Tasers are used quite frequently, but are they safe? I would ask Robert Dziekanski, but he’s dead from being stunned multiple times by tasers.
Robert Dziekanski was a Polish immigrant who came to Canada to visit his mother. He died on October 14th, 2007 at the Vancouver International Airport after being tasered multiple times by the RCMP.
Law enforcement refers to agencies and individuals responsible for public safety, enforcing a set of norms and rules in a society and maintaining public order. It also refers to activities conducted by law enforcers such as dissuasion, detection and investigation of crime as well as apprehension of law offenders(Hess, Orthmann, & Cho, 2014). The most typical and organized form of law ...
He didn’t know any English when he arrived in the airport, with a 2 hour late flight. Stranded and confused, Robert wandered around the airport for ten hours before his death. You can imagine someone being extremely frustrated; with nobody speaking your language and no knowledge about where you’re suppose to go, I bet you would all have a nervous breakdown. This is exactly what happened to Robert, he rearranged some furniture and even threw a computer and a table to the floor before the RCMP arrived.
The first thing I would’ve done as a police officer was to try to find someone who spoke his language to communicate and control the situation, but the RCMP did not ask him anything – and simply discharged the taser on him. As he fell to the ground paralyzed, he was tasered again. Travellers who witnessed and even recorded the last ten minutes of his life said he was tasered up to 5 times. Video footage of the incident is publicly posted on youtube and has been viewed by thousands of people. It’s possible to suffer a fatal shock from a household electrical socket at just 120 volts; while taser guns deliver an average of 1,500 volts to a person’s body. For someone to be tasered 5 times without doing anything extremely violent and resistant, I think was a stupid move by the RCMP.
Weapons of the law are used to protect, but sometimes they can be misused and can lead to death. In my opinion, I think police officers can be excessively brutal to someone because of their personal issues, or because they enjoy bullying others and see police work as an opportunity to amuse themselves.
I hope my speech has given you an eye opener, to rethink your opinions of our wonderful police officers. From weapon misuse to brutality and theft, remember that things aren’t always as they seem.