Shame on police in ‘Taser’ town

2012-06-15T07:30:00Z Shame on police in ‘Taser’ town The Times and Democrat

I was outraged after reading “Police defend using stun gun on 80-year-old,” T&D, June 7, 2012.

How many police officers in St. George are needed to subdue a naked and disoriented 80-year-old woman with a cane? Sounds like the beginning of a joke, doesn’t it, but this was a serious incident.

Clearly four officers on the scene were not enough, including the police chief who “advised one of his officers to deploy a stun gun toward the woman” and defends its use. According to the article, he said, “I didn’t want anybody to get hurt — that’s what the Taser’s for — to keep people from getting hurt.”

Obviously the lady was suffering from some medical/psychological condition and not responsible for her actions, and needed help. Did anyone even consider they could have killed the woman, who was “talking confusedly”? How many volts does it take to stop an 80-year-old heart?

The police officers didn’t get hurt, but did anyone consider how it hurt her? Come on people, all you really needed to do was wait her out — at 80 years of age, waving a cane can get pretty tiring in a very short period of time.

It was reported that they tried to take the cane away from the woman. Seems to me that any police officer who doesn’t have better reflexes than a naked, 80-year-old woman waving a cane needs to find a different line of work.

Shame on the St. George Police Department. I am certainly glad I am not growing old in your “Taser” town.

– Diane Henegar, Bamberg

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(8) Comments

  1. sicntyrd
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    sicntyrd - June 18, 2012 4:47 am
    cs, what you stated is true. But no where in the article did it state that she was about to run into traffic or hurt herself. I don't remember anything in the original article about her trying to come off the porch or anything. If I recall, it was when the police tried to apprehend her that the "cane wielding" started. If that be the case, then they should have backed off and waited her out. Surely, someone had Psych 101 and could have tried for a while to talk to her.
  2. scguy55
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    scguy55 - June 16, 2012 12:21 pm
    Finally, a reasoned response.
  3. confisus_sum
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    confisus_sum - June 15, 2012 1:27 pm
    The unfortunate reality of this situation is that the police are commissioned to protect life, including their own. The circumstances cannot be fully evaluated in the minimal time they are required to make a decision. If this individual posed a threat to herself, or others, they were perfectly legitimate to use non lethal force. What others call inhuman, is not nearly as inhuman as letting her run into traffic, wield a weapon, or physically injure herself.
  4. servco
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    servco - June 15, 2012 11:33 am
    Thank you Ms. Henegar. When I read the initial story, I was shocked and disgusted. To think it took four police officers to subdue an 80 year old woman who was clearly in mental distress, what kind of training do these offers recieve? I work with the elderly and it broke my heart to hear of this abuse by those hired to protect our most precious asset. St. George, you need to provide some training to your officers..such as Dementia 101.
  5. truthandjustice
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    truthandjustice - June 15, 2012 11:25 am
    And, besides, before it is all over someone will be singing: "The best things in life are free, and you can give them to the birds and bees. But give me money; that's what I want."
  6. truthandjustice
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    truthandjustice - June 15, 2012 11:24 am
    This was just stimulating.
  7. Harvey Elwood
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    Harvey Elwood - June 15, 2012 11:13 am
    Yes - Thank you Ms. Henegar for your keen insights and bring more attention to this matter. And for the observations of others who clearly recognize this as a most alarming situation, not just for the St. George community, but anywhere in America. While the safety of the public and those charged to enforce our laws are of the utmost importance. Our most vulnerable citizens and those suffering from mental or physical disorders must be protected at all cost. After all their lives are a daily struggle and a most confused existence. Again thank you for your letter.
  8. sicntyrd
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    sicntyrd - June 15, 2012 8:32 am
    Great letter, Ms. Henegar. I keep waiting for Paul Harvey to tell "the rest of the story". Surely the police can give some reason for this incident. But as the facts that have been reported stand, this was completely uncalled for. But the cops wielding the taser better realize, what goes around, comes around. They may be old and disoriented one day too, and they will get their due.
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