Saturday, April 3, 2010

Taser Use

How old do kids have to be before they reach legal Tasering age? In Indiana there are no age restrictions, and as a result of one thing escalating to another the police used their taser to subdue a combative ten year old boy.

From KidGlue: On Tuesday, a worker at Tender Teddies Day Care in Martinsville, Ind., called the police to report that one of the children was acting out in a manner that threatened the safety of the other kids.
Two police arrived and found a 95 pound ten year old boy struggling with an adult female day care worker on the front porch of the day care building.  The boy was hitting, kicking and cursing, and he refused to stop.  The police demanded the boy behave himself, which was met with spitting and cursing from the boy.  One policeman slapped the boy in the mouth.  The boy redoubled his efforts to attack the woman, so the other policeman applied his taser to the boy.  After that the boy gave no more trouble.  Both police are suspended with pay.  News coverage is here, here, here and here.

When I first read this story I though 'Here we go again.  More taser happy police abusing civilians.'  Then I read more news coverage several times over, and now I'm not so sure that this was abuse.  This was the second time in a week that the police had been called to the Tender Teddies Day Care for the same child, for the same reason; uncontrollable, violent outbursts of anger.  Evidently the day care workers aren't up to controlling the little choir boy, so they called the police.  My first question is, Why is little Johnny still in class?  His behavior is abhorrent and the day care workers aren't up to controlling him, so why isn't he expelled?  The Tender Teddies Day Care refuses to comment.

I would expect the day care center to call the parents before calling the police, which they did do.  It's a fact of life that we all begin with two parents, both of whom are legally responsible for us until we reach the age of eighteen.  In this case little Johnny is down to one guardian, who was present during most or all of this incident.  My question is, then, why can't the guardian control the boy?

The two police involved are Officer Darren Johnson, with three years experience, and Captain William Jennings with 36 years experience.  All their professional experience is in law enforcement.  Give them a combative drunk, a nasty domestic, a prowler or a thief and they will know how to handle the situation.  Child psychology and discipline is out of their professional ambit.  What does anyone expect these men to do?

The way this played out, Officer Johnson demonstrated the taser to the boy and told the boy if he didn't stop fighting he'd be tased.  The boy lunged and attacked the day care worker, so Johnson tased him.  After that the boy was compliant.  The boy was examined later and his only injuries were two small marks where the taser hit him.

Having a police officer tase a ten year old boy is not a good thing, but in this case the problem got solved and I think it's likely that this ten year old will think twice before he pulls a stunt like this one again.

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