Today we can read in the Guardian that a totally innocent car driver, Mr Sylvester, was stopped on the street in London by armed police. When he got out of the car, he was ‘tasered’ several times and collapsed onto the street breaking a front tooth. His car was searched while he writhed in agony in his blood and urine.
While a case can be made for tasers – i.e. that they are a usually non-lethal alternative to a firearm – they are in fact often deployed as instruments of on the spot torture without the bruises. Two thirds of those tasered in London were black, so we can now update the old saying, ‘the only good nigger is a well tasered one.’ The sole defence a police officer need give, it would seem, is that the victim was, or in Mr Sylvester’s case might become, aggressive.
In 2005 police officers followed a suspect (in this case again a completely innocent one) from the street into the London Underground and, without attempting to arrest him, assassinated him on the spot. When the result of that incident is that the police are not to blame and only a few operational procedures need adjustment, what real hope is there that victims of taser torture will receive justice.