Call for Harsher Punishment for Taser-Happy Police

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Target: City of London Police

Goal: Reevaluate the training techniques and use of Tasers among police officers 

Colin Farmer, a 61 year-old blind man, was walking to meet some of his friends at a local pub in London when a 50,000 volt Taser gun brought him writhing to the ground. It was this case of mistaken identity that left Farmer, who had already had two strokes in his lifetime,  fearful for his life. Police had received a call earlier that day that a man was walking around town carrying a sword, and when officers came upon Farmer with his walking stick, they mistook him for the suspect. Officers claimed they shouted at Farmer to stop walking, but that he simply did not listen. So the officers saw it fit to use their Tasers to stop him. Once Farmer was down to the ground, police handcuffed him as he repeatedly screamed “I’m blind! I’m blind!” After Farmer had recovered, he said he thought he was being mugged. The real suspect, a 27 year-old man, was later arrested without the use of a Taser, but no charges were filed.

Tasers were originally developed as a non-lethal weapon option for police to use while pursuing suspects. Last year, in the United Kingdom, Tasers were fired by police into suspects over 1,000 times, compared with only 700 in 2010. In June, the Police Federation wrote to the Prime Minister to demand that every front-line officer has access to a Taser. There are currently 12,000 on our streets, but under the Police Federation plans that number would be increased to 36,000.

Tasers cause temporary paralysis by firing a 50,000 volt charge into the victim via two barbs attached to thin metal wires which have a 21 foot range. After the attack on Farmer, he was taken to the hospital and treated, later being released. Police apologized and have launched an investigation, but no disciplinary action has been taken. Farmer says he is planning on taking legal action against the officer.

Please sign the petition below to help stop the unnecessary use of Tasers. A stricter policy must be put in place and a better training system must be implemented in order to decrease the number of non-threatening citizens that accidentally get Tasered.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear City of London Police,

The unnecessary use of a Taser on a 61 year-old blind man is appalling. It is understandable to look out for your own safety, as your job is very dangerous; however, this man was simply walking along the street at a “snail’s pace” (as he put it). He was not threatening you in any way, and had no reason to think that people were shouting at him to stop.

If the Prime Minister allows every officer on the front-line to carry a Taser, increasing the number of Tasers three-fold, it is imperative, for the safety of everyone, that stricter training methods and harsher punishments for the unnecessary use of Tasers are put into place.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: freefoto.com

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