Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Tasered While Black and on knees, pepper sprayed, and punched in Seattle

Source: KOMO TV
and "Tasered While Black"

There appears to be no police accountability in Seattle, Washington. As this Black Man was pepper-sprayed, punched then Tased from behind by Seattle Police even after he complied with their orders and he was down on his knees.

SEATTLE - The King County Sheriff's Office is investigating a scuffle that erupted when Seattle police tried to make an arrest on New Year's Eve.

Police officers ended up using a Taser on the man who, at that time, was on his hands and knees.

Deputies investigate New Year's Eve arrest
A KOMO 4 News photographer captured exclusive video of the arrest as officers were struggling with Marcel Richardson. Nearly a dozen police officers and at least one firefighter chased and tackled the man. (Watch the raw video of the arrest)

Police say Richardson, 23, had a simple choice -- comply or get arrested, and he chose the latter. But Richardson's aunt claims the police took it one step too far when they didn't have to, with her nephew already on the ground.

The scuffle broke out in the packed streets near the Space Needle when a computer glitch suddenly stopped the planned fireworks, sending the excited crowds on the ground over the edge.

The footage shows Richardson being pepper-sprayed, punched then Tased from behind while he was down on his knees.

"He was beat in the back of the head with a baton, he was kicked, he was punched in the face (and) for what?" said Michelle King, his aunt.

King, who works for Seattle's Municipal Court, says she knows the justice system and is sure the officers went too far.

"To me, the police department is nothing but a licensed gang and I stand by my son. And no matter what happens after today, I'm going to stand by my son and my nephew until the end," she said.

When KOMO 4 News showed the tape to Seattle police, they shared a different take of the incident. more HERE


Aaron & Alaine said...

I looked at the video several times and I have to say that I don't see the brutality issue here. The video footage referenced shows the brother making a very energetic run for it. He appears to have been tased from behind while he was running, which makes sense because he was doing his level best to run from the cops and had blown past the one cop with the taser. Then he runs into a gaggle of cops and he is struggling and trying to get away from them, which is plain stupid under the circumstances considering he ran into a football teams worth of cops. At the point he was on his knees, he was not under control. He had not been on his knees for more than a second or two when he was tased again. No cop had a hand on him, he was not cuffed and was fully capable of continuing to resist. The video cuts off after the point at which he was cuffed, so if there was physical stuff visited on the brother after that point, I can't speak to it. But based on whats on the tape, I don't see the brutality issue when this brother tried to break out of an area that was swarming with armed cops by trying to run through them. Simply not smart. I can't say I was particularly disturbed by his experience. What I DID find disturbing was the way that the non violent and unarmed sister off to the side was dealt with. It appears from the video that one of the cops had his weapon with laser sights drawn and that weapon was pointed at this sister. Further, the officer she was directly in front of pulls out either a gun or some other type of weapon and brandishes it at her at which point the sister wisely decides to back off and leave the area. If my understanding of the situation is correct, this was basically a crowd control/riot environment with a lot of people that probably outnumbered the cops. Not the environment to be mixing it up with the police in. I don't get a brutality case on this video.

- Aaron

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

At first, the guy was running. No question about it. But watch the video again. When the man is down on the ground, immobile, on his hands and needs and in an utterly compliant and still position, the police officer standing behind him Tasers him.

It is not appropriate to taser people "for good measure" who are already compliant. Just because the man was running at some point in the recent past doesn't mean that police should Taser him at any and all points in the near future. A taser is to immobilize, period. People who are already immobilized ought never be tasered.

Nobody should be tasered, but the police are not legally authorized to punish suspects - only to arrest and charge them so that the courts can determine whether they should be punished. Tasering people who are immobile amounts to an extra-judicial punishment - like lynching - and takes the United States down a road to becoming openly like the brutal dictatorships that the United States sponsors overseas.

Anonymous said...

just because he was on his knee does not mean he is not dangerous to the law officers........dont be so stupid.