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Entry 429, on 2006-11-20 at 14:10:43 (Rating 4, News)
In my blog of 7 June 2006 I expressed my concern with the idea of equipping the New Zealand police with tasers, and on 9 July 2006 I blogged about a debacle where police sprayed at least one innocent person with pepper spray. Now there is news about a totally embarrassing incident where a member of the NZ police not only tased himself but also hit several innocents while completely missing the alleged perpetrator of a domestic incident.
According to a New Zealand news site, the constable who took a taser to a domestic dispute but ended up shooting himself with it while trying to reload, then shot a 16 year old bystander, and finally pepper sprayed another innocent (he had given up on the taser after 5 attempts). The intended target did give himself up, possibly because he was laughing too much to escape! The constable had done training on use of the taser, so his errors couldn't be blamed on lack of knowledge.
Apparently the police didn't think this was worth mentioning in an official update on the trial recently. The report just says someone was contained after the taser had been used. Obviously we can't trust the police regarding this weapon and I think the trial should be terminated now. It seems that the police have decided they want this weapon, and inconvenient negative incidents will be ignored. I accept that we can't judge the effectiveness of the taser just because of this one incident, but the fact that the police seemed to be engaged in a cover-up is significant. The trial seems to be a sham.
I would like to finish this by saying I don't distrust police in general, and I know there are many good people in our police force. But there are no doubt also incompetents, sadists and idiots, just like there are in any profession. I just don't think we want to risk arming these people with something like the taser.
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