Yesterday I wrote about an article in the Idaho Statesman concerning a finding by the Ombudsman that the Boise Police had gone too far when they tased a man – on the "buttocks." Today the Statesman reports that man has hired a lawyer to file a lawsuit. As telling – here is what the Murphy had to say:
Murphy concluded that the officer who Tased the man violated the Boise Police Department’s use-of-force policy. He said evidence showed the man was shocked once in the back before he was handcuffed, and once in the buttocks after he was cuffed, and threatened with further shocks to the anus and genitalia.
"This clearly was excessive force. It’s just not defensible. It’s very troubling," Murphy said.
The Ada County Prosecutor has declined to prosecute this case because the conduct was not, in its opinion, illegal. Or, if it was illegal, the office does not think a jury would convict. Isn’t that what we have juries for? To make those decisions?
An average citizen who pulled this crap would be prosecuted – and the smart folks at the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office seldom have difficulty in finding a charge. How about assault, battery, aggravated assault, disturbing the peace – just for starters. Of course the United States Attorney’s Office may still charge someone – one of these unidentified officers who still has his job. But isn’t it a little too cozy to have our lawyers at Ada County make this call since every day they need Boise City Police Officers to testify in the cases they do prosecute?
When I was in the Army there was a new commander who noticed that the NCOs in his new unit had "staffs" or "walking sticks" they carried. The "sticks" were not standard issue – they served only to remind the troops who had the power. Shortly the commander announced to the unit in formation: "On the subject of ‘walking sticks,’ if you are an NCO who NEEDS one, carry it." His message was received and the ridiculous practice ended.
Power does not come at the end of the stick – it comes when the people you lead respect you enough to en-power you.
Cops do not need Tasers when they have an overweight man on the ground and under the control of two or three uniformed officers. Using that Taser (stick) was just a reminder of who had the power – not the guy on the ground.
I only wish the Ada County Prosecutor had shown us that it understands who really has the power here – the people’s lawyers. They represent us – you and me – especially when police officers go too far.
By the way – that 18 year veteran officer who ERASED an audio interview of the man on the receiving end of the taser understood who had the power and who might use it to prosecute a fellow officer. Simply hit "erase" and make that evidence go away. No crime there either? Right – no crime.