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CJUS 630 Force Replies

Please respond to the following 2 classmates with 250 words EACH, at least 1 cited reference EACH, and 1 biblical viewpoint with a cited scripture.

Original Discussion Post (Do not respond to this post, this is just to let you know what my classmates were talking about) On November 11, 2009, Ozark Arkansas police officer Dustin Bradshaw was dispatched to a domestic disturbance between a mother and her 10-year-old daughter. When he arrived, the girl was curled up on the floor screaming and kicking. Her mother told the officer the crisis began when the girl refused to take a shower. Officer Bradshaw attempted to take the young girl into custody, but she continued to violently kick at him. It was then that the girl’s mother gave officer Bradshaw permission to use a Conducted Electrical Weapon (TASER, for purposes of this discussion) in an effort to gain control of the girl. According to his report he delivered a very brief stun to her back. It was enough to disable her, and after placing handcuffs on the child, officer Bradshaw carried the 65-pound girl to his squad car. His actions were later determined to be in compliance with department policy, and ultimately, he received a short suspension with pay only for not engaging his video camera during the incident.

A growing number of children in America are finding themselves on the receiving end of a police officer’s TASER. A 14-year-old in Chicago went into cardiac arrest after being Tased in 2005. In that same year a 6-year-old Florida boy threatening to cut himself with a piece of glass was Tased by police, as well as a 12-year-old girl guilty only of skipping school. And in 2010 two federal lawsuits were filed in Illinois, each seeking $10 million, after a Kankakee police officer Tased two 12-year-olds in their school classroom just to demonstrate how the weapon works. These are just a few of the many reported incidents.

The idea of using such a weapon on a child continues to be hotly debated. Most police departments allow for its use with children in certain situations, and the makers of the Taser gun argue that it is a safe and effective weapon for gaining control of an unmanageable person, even a child. They argue that although it is painful and disabling, it has no lasting effects, and its use may even prevent the child from harming themselves much more seriously by continuing to struggle.

Discussion Questions (select one of the following questions and draft a response according to the directions outlined in the Assignments folder and Syllabus located in the Course Content section)

  1. Should there be limits placed on the types of weapons a police officer may use against a child?
  2. Is there an even greater risk of harm or civil liability related to a police officer physically subduing a child with their hands?
  3. Should a child’s parents grant or rescind permission to police for Taser use on their uncontrollable child.

1.Peak- I think that in order to have an accurate understanding of the use of tasers, specifically among children, one must have an adequate understanding of both sides of the argument.There have actually been some studies conducted that claim that tasers can be harmful. In the article, Police Use of Tasers: The Truth is “Shocking” by Seals (2007), they claim that “Besides fatalities, an array of health risks has been associated with taser shocks as well” (p.115). They go on to say that “Direct injuries from the impact of the taser include abrasions, scarring, and eye damage from the laser aiming aid” ( p.115). Seals (2007) states, “Taser International also cautions of secondary injury risks, which may occur as the result of falls from loss of control. (p.116). Not only are there health risks, but there have been deaths associated with the use of tasers. Seals (2007) states, “Although a taser can be a life-saving device when deployed in the appropriate situation, the lack of regulation and questionable use by police officers, combined with the associated health risks and fatalities, has led police taser use to become a serious and controversial issue. The increasing number of deaths following police use of tasers, especially those in which a taser shock has been listed as the primary cause of death, is alarming” (p.137). Some have other views on the use of tasers and what it entails. Sierra‐Arévalo (2018) states, “Today, the TASER is a ubiquitous less-than-lethal force technology lauded for its ability to curb police officers’ use of excessive and lethal force” (p.420).I have a personal opinion that in certain circumstances, such as where there is an uncontrollable child or there are lives at risk, a weapon such as a taser is reasonable. I feel that in certain times, due in part to the nature and nurture of a child’s upbringing, there may be a perception that there are no accountability and consequences for their actions. In a real world scenario, however, there definitely are consequences to actions. Not every situation consists of a child that has this mindset, but I do feel that this is the case often. As mentioned, although it is painful and disabling, it has no lasting effects, and its use may even prevent the child from harming themselves much more seriously by continuing to struggle. Understanding that there are consequences to action at an early age I feel can lead to a more profitable and understanding human being, thus creating a more efficient society. Proverbs 2:6 reads, “For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”

References

Proverbs 2:6 (KJV). (2020). Bible Gateway. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Prove…

Seals, E. (2007). Police Use of Tasers: The Truth is “Shocking”, 38 Golden Gate U. L. Rev. http://digitalcommons.law.ggu.edu/ggulrev/vol38/iss1/4

Sierra‐Arévalo, M. (2018). Technological Innovation and Police Officers’ Understanding and Use of Force. Law & Society Review, 53(2), 420–451. https://doi.org/10.1111/lasr.12383

2.Pritchett- Oh goodness, this is actually tricky, at first I read this thinking this would be an easy answer but it really is not. An officer would probably get in trouble if they used their hands too. I do not think an officer should not have to use a weapon of any kind unless someone is in danger, this could be the child being a threat to themselves, the child about to hurt someone else, or if the officer intervened without a weapon the child would hurt the officer. An officer should be able to handle a child who does not have a weapon, without using their weapon, unless this child is large and the officer just cannot physically restrain the child. The only limit I think an officer should have when it comes to using a weapon on a child is to follow their policy. In some incidents, children want to behave like criminals and just because they are children does not mean they are allowed to do whatever they want and get away with it or hurt someone because of the fact that law enforcement is not allowed to subdue them. The policy for Michigan State police says that tasers cannot be used on children unless exigent circumstances exist. This would mean absolutely necessary or extremely urgent (MSU, 2020). The Seattle Police Department’s policy only talks about the use of their canine dogs against juveniles. The policy said that they will not let the canine dogs loose on juvenile offenders except under certain circumstances and it also lists that in their policy (Diaz, 2021). Every department should have in their policy what weapon they can or cannot use on a child and the exceptions with each. If a department does not have this in their policy and an officer has to end up using one of these weapons on a child one day, I am sure a big lawsuit would be in either that officer or that department’s future. Officers must be trained on how to de-escalate situations, CIT crisis intervention teams. Officers need to be able to know every tactic to use before having to resort to using a weapon on a child. But, there can very well be times when it will be necessary. Like MSU Policy stated, except for exigent circumstances. An officer could only have five seconds to make a life or death decision and not have time to use any crisis intervention tactics to calm a child down. It is still extremely important for departments to have policies and training about children and how to handle them though.

References

Diaz, A. (2021). 8.300 – Use of Force Tools – Police Manual | seattle.gov. Seattle.Gov. http://www.seattle.gov/police-manual/title-8—use…

MSU. (2020). Policy: Use of Force and Weapons – MSU Police. Police.Msu.Edu. https://police.msu.edu/about/policy-and-procedure/…

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