Another life saved by a taser

May 11th, 2010 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Press reports:

Canterbury police have used a Taser for the first time, firing at a knife-wielding man who wanted the officers to shoot him.

Laurence William Berry, 28, pleaded guilty in the Christchurch District Court yesterday to a charge of possession of an offensive weapon.

The police summary of facts said that when police arrived at a central Christchurch property last Wednesday, Berry was holding a butcher’s knife with a 40-centimetre blade.

He walked from the Armagh St property on to the road toward police, holding the knife.

Despite police warnings to drop the knife, he refused and was Tasered.

In explanation, Berry said that he was hoping the police would turn up with guns and shoot him, the summary said.

If the Greens got their way and had the Taser banned, that man would now probably be dead.

Tasers saving lifes

April 10th, 2010 at 3:34 pm by David Farrar

TV3 reports:

A man has been tasered and arrested after setting fire to a house and throwing accelerant over police in the Auckland suburb of Glenfield today.

Police were called to the house about midday after reports of the man, a family member, damaging the building and vehicles with a pole. When they arrived, they saw him assaulting family members, having set fires inside the house and in the backyard, senior sergeant Mark Fergus said.

“When police staff approached the male, he began spreading accelerant around the home and threw accelerant over police. He then ran back inside the house.”

Other family members were taken from the house and a police cordon set up with the man inside.

Shortly after, the man came out of the house with a lighter in his hand which he refused to put down. He was tasered when he moved away from the accelerant, and arrested.

Think of how this would have ended without a taser.

Could well have had one or more people set alight.

Or the man shot dead.

The availability of the taser helped resolve the situation with no loss of life.

Yet the Greens still oppose them.

Editorials 1 April 2010

April 1st, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald approves of the balance in the foreshore & seabed proposal:

Division over the foreshore and seabed sparked a political upheaval, with Maori finally becoming an independent force in Parliament. Five years on, the Government, as part of its post-election agreement with the Maori Party, has revisited the issue. The outcome is an elegant compromise that has more of the attributes of a continuum than a radical response to the much-maligned Foreshore and Seabed Act. The proposal, outlined in a consultation document, will now be the subject of public submissions. It should attract widespread support.

Let’s hope.

The nub of the Government’s plan guarantees recognition of Maori customary rights while safeguarding all New Zealanders’ access to beaches. Central to this is the proposition that no one owns or can own the foreshore and seabed. The area would be called a public domain. Maori would again have the right to go to court to establish customary title, but not freehold title. This differs markedly from the 2004 act, which extinguished claims for customary title by vesting ownership in the Crown.

And the right to go to court is what it is all about, for many.

The Dom Post zeroes in on perks:

Finding the trough too high to get your snout all the way in? Don’t worry, the Speaker will be along with a saw shortly.

Want to treat your electorate committee but don’t want to dip into your own pocket? Don’t worry, just make sure you use the right slush fund.

Want to take the family on the train to Kaikoura for a spot of whale watching but think you’ll need a car while you’re there? Don’t worry, the taxpayer will pay for a driver to bring the ministerial self-drive down from Blenheim – and for another car and driver to take the first driver back.

Just so long as you are a minister of the Crown.

Ouch, very scathing.

And the ODT opines on tasers:

Last weekend Tasers, otherwise known as as “stun guns”, made their debut in the South Island.

Not before time, many would say, given the alarming frequency with which police men and women have been assaulted in recent months. …

Nor does there appear to be any constructive advice forthcoming on how, precisely, police are supposed to deal with drunk, drugged or otherwise crazed individuals who pose an evident risk to the life and health of law enforcement officers, but also to members of the community.

As has been suggested, the committee’s thinking on such matters appears to be devoid of any of the context and harsh reality that faces the police every day in this country.

Which is why we will ignore them.

UN calls for no tasers

March 29th, 2010 at 11:06 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

The Government is rejecting a call from the United Nations human rights committee to strip police of Tasers.

Justice Minister Simon Power has also hit back at suggestions by the international body that our criminal justice system discriminates against Maori.

The committee, which is made up of academics and judges, monitors countries that have signed up to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

It issued its final observations on New Zealand after a process that included years of reporting, as well as testimony from Mr Power.

The committee said New Zealand should “consider relinquishing” the use of Tasers because the weapons could cause life-threatening injuries and severe pain.

As does a gun.

Green Party human rights spokesman Keith Locke supported getting rid of Tasers. “The Government should take heed of this esteemed international body.”

Yes Keith. Far better that criminals armed with baseball bats be shot to death like Stephen Wallace was, rather than tasered.

Tasers saving lives

February 8th, 2010 at 9:05 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

The Taser is saving lives, and many criminals are simply surrendering at the sight of it, police say.

Nine people were shot with a Taser in its first year of use and some incidents were so violent, the offender could have been shot with a firearm, if the stun gun had not been available. …

Police incident reports issued to The Dominion Post reveal the extreme violence faced by police during the Taser incidents last year.

One man had just allegedly killed a man and was raging at neighbours with an axe. Another had stabbed himself with a samurai sword and was brandishing it at officers, a third attacked officers with a wheel brace and screwdriver, and another had stabbed a taxi driver in the head and fled in his stolen taxi.

In the Johnsonville case, a mentally ill man was tasered as he lunged at police with a hunting knife after a two-hour standoff.

Wellington area commander Inspector Pete Cowan said: “Potentially it was a case where a person could have been shot. It was a very, very good example of where … the Taser saved the offender’s life and potentially other members of the public and police.”

If the opponents of the taser had their way, then there would probably be some additional corpses. Offenders who are brandishing axes and swords would probably have been shot in the past.

But the opponents have done some good:

Police Association president Greg O’Connor said: “Perversely, the misinformation given out by the anti-Taser group has probably worked in the police and the public’s favour. People think the consequences of the Taser are worse than in reality they’re likely to be.”

Bring on the national roll-out.

Dom Post on armed police

December 29th, 2009 at 10:18 am by David Farrar

The DP editorial:

The shooting of 28-year-old Constable Jeremy Snow, predictably, has led to renewed calls for the police to be routinely armed. Those calls should be resisted. …

Many, notably Police Association president Greg O’Connor, believe those events mean that it is time to give police easier access to firearms.

I think the DP is simplifying the issue. I ended up discussing this with Greg O’Connor on The Panel, and Greg is not calling for all officers on patrol to be armed. What he did advocate is that generally all police cars should have arms in their boots, so they can be accessed quickly if needed.

Sadly there is probably nothing that could have stopped Constable Snow from being shot. The scum who did it opened fire with no warning.

However his two colleagues had to go in unarmed, to tend to his wounds. They saved his life. If they had access to arms in their car, they would have been safer in doing so.

Of course more access to firearms, means more training is needed.

There are other steps that should be tried before the question of routinely arming police is considered. The Taser, which is still being introduced, has the potential to provide police with a non-fatal alternative to firearms. Mr Broad has also talked of armed response vehicles with small teams of specially trained officers permanently on standby, but able to carry out routine frontline duties until they are needed.

The taser is a good choice if the offender is not armed with a gun themselves. But it is suicidal to go against an offender with a gun with a taser.

The concept of armed response vehicles on standby is laudable, but there are times when the five to ten minutes it will take to get there, will be too long.

A tazer instead of a smack

November 21st, 2009 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Telegaph reports:

The officer was called to the girl’s home in Ozark, Arkansas, by her mother because she was behaving in an unruly manner and refusing to take a shower. …

In a report on the incident the officer, Dustin Bradshaw, said the mother gave him permission to use the Taser.

When he arrived, the girl was curled up on the floor, screaming, and resisting as her mother tried to get her in the shower before bed.

“Her mother told me to take her if I needed to,” the officer wrote.

The child was “violently kicking and verbally combative” when he tried to take her into custody and she kicked him in the groin.

He then delivered “a very brief drive stun to her back,” the report said.

The officer has been suspended – not for tazering the ten year old, but for not having the mandatory video camera attached to it!

Interestingly one could argue that under Sue Bradford’s law, an officer could tazer a child, if it was deemed reasonable force for purpose of preventing disruption. Unlike the Borrows amendment, Bradford’s law does define limits for reasonable force.

Even better than tasers is lasers

October 6th, 2009 at 3:17 pm by David Farrar

From New Scientist:

THE Pentagon’s efforts to develop a beam weapon that can deter an adversary by causing a burning sensation on their skin has taken a step forward with the development of a small, potentially hand-held, version. The weapon, which is claimed to cause no permanent harm, could also end up being used by police to control civilians. …

Tests with a rifle-mounted infrared laser, carried out at a US air force lab near Dayton, Ohio, have determined a combination of laser pulse power and wavelength that causes an alarming, hot sensation on the skin, but which stops short of causing a burn …

I give 12 months until Greg O’Connor starts demanding them for cops 🙂

Now this will upset the Greens

September 23rd, 2009 at 6:47 am by David Farrar

AP reports:

Police in the US had to resort to a stun gun and handcuffs to capture a runaway emu running loose on the road in central Mississippi.

Police Officer Kiley Culpepper told WLBT-TV in Jackson that motorists had been calling 911 since Friday to report sightings of two emus on I-20 and nearby US Highway 80.

Authorities had been unable to find the animals until Sunday, when one was spotted near an I-20 entrance ramp.

The big bird was dodging traffic. Culpepper and deputies were able to surround the animal but has to use the taser and handcuffs to finally get it off the road.

I guess a taser was preferable to a baton!

A taser would have helped

July 28th, 2009 at 8:57 am by David Farrar

Stuff report:

Actor Robert Mokaraka said “I’m sorry bro” to police tending to him after he allegedly went at officers with a meat cleaver in his hand and was shot.

He was shot at about 1pm in the Auckland suburb of Pt Chevalier yesterday after a Smale St resident called 111 and said a man was acting strangely.

“They had serious concerns of violence,” said Superintendent George Fraser. “That person subsequently approached police armed with a meat cleaver and two knives.

Police feared for their safety and the actor was shot in the chest.

Ouch. Lucky to be alive.

The armed offenders squad and an officer trained with a Taser were on their way when Mokaraka advanced on police and was shot, Mr Fraser said.

I am sure Mr Mokaraka would rather have been tazered than shot in the chest.

Tazer preventing harm

July 7th, 2009 at 9:03 am by David Farrar

I really can’t understand the lobbyists against the tasers. There is a very good chance Steven Wallace would be alive today if we had tasers back then, And today’s Herald reports on how the threat of one being used ended a stand off peacefully:

A shirtless fugitive who kept police at bay with tree branches and the occasional haka for nearly three hours threw his arms in the air when an officer threatened him with a Taser.

Police had ruled out using dogs or pepper spray to catch the 36-year-old, who had dragged an officer with his car before crashing into a tree in the Hamilton suburb of Pukete.

In the US, he would probably be dead by now if you have injured a police officer and not surrendered.

The CIB officer had been questioning the man after a complaint from a female jogger that she had been followed. …

The man took off his shirt on the river bank to reveal “Tuhoe” tattooed across his chest. He then waded knee-deep into the water before scrambling back to the river’s edge.

He gestured to a crowd of about 50 on the other side of the river, beat nearby bushes with tree branches and performed an impromptu haka as police tried to get him to give himself up.

I’m beginning to regret they did not use the taser.

Ms Henrikson said the officer with the Taser was introduced to the fugitive, who was told he had the device and was ready to use it.

“Its capabilities were explained,” she said. “This was enough to make the offender completely compliant.”

Funny how the threat of 50,000 volts means you won’t resist arrest.

UN says no tasers

May 21st, 2009 at 11:05 am by David Farrar

The UN has said it is deeply concerned over the introduction of tazers into New Zealand.

This almost certainly means it is a sensible thing to do.

Using the same logic I note that the New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists has criticised the Christine Rankin appointment. This almost certainly means it was in fact a good thing, if the psychotherapists are against it.

Going back to tasers, I wonder why the UN thinks it is better for Police to shoot criminals dead, rather than tazer them?

Broad attacked for Police politicalisation

August 28th, 2008 at 9:52 am by David Farrar

The Police Association has attacked Police Commission Howard Broad for letting the taser decision (which is his) be used as a political delaying tactic in Parliament yesterday.

Police Association president Greg O’Connor said that while frontline officers should have been celebrating, the decision instead “highlights the politicisation of the highest levels of police”.

They are strong and damning words from the head of the police union.

The Police Association are also upset that the Goverment has decided to ban Police Officers from serving on local authorities. The flip-flop puts sees Labour now supporting NZ First on this issue.  Probably part of of a deal on the ETS.

Annette King tells the Police Association off for being ungrateful:

“Quite frankly, I am very disappointed Greg O’Connor and the association have used that sort of language. The reality is that New Zealand police have never had a better period than they have had under this Government.”

Yes Greg. What would you know about the Police. Listen to the Minister, shut up and be grateful.

Question Time

August 27th, 2008 at 2:17 pm by David Farrar

I thought of trying to cover question time from Parliament (you can apply for a one day pass) but wasn’t sure if they have a power supply handy there, so decided to watch it on TV and blog it from home.

Wilson is speaking now, defending her decision yesterday to take Peters’ word that Hide’s question was covered by a case before the courts. She is saying she had no choice but to take the word of an MP, as it is extremely serious if an MP misleads the Speaker.

Annette King has chosen today, of all days, to make a Ministerial statement that tazers are being introduced. This is a good decision, but MPs are suspicious of the timing. By making the statement today, it leads to a debate which delays question time and general debate. She could easily have delayed the decision until tomorrow.

Brownlee is laughing at the ploy saying King just announced a decision that isn’t even final, but just in principle. He is pointing out that many more major decisions never get Ministerial statements, and there was no need for it to be made today

Brownlee is right – it is a ploy to give Clark and Peters more time to work out their stories. The decision is being made by the Commissioner, not the Minister.

Gerry finished by suggesting the tazers may be used on Winston later in the week.

You know it is a setup to delay, when Dail Jones then gets up and says he agrees this is a serious issue which should be debated by the House.

… Fuck I am bored with tazers. Bring on the main show.

Rodney is now using the tazer debate, to attack Peters. Cullen is running interference for Peters which gives you some idea of how desperate they are to cling on.

… Now onto question one. Question Two is the big one.

Clark has said she does have confidence in the Minister of Foreign Affairs!!!! She is clinging to him.

She is not even suspending him. She says she will just wait for the Privileges Committee to report.

Clark keeps saying there is a conflict of evidence. But that does not mean she can not act. She knows Glenn is telling the truth, and is just trying to cling on to power.

Dail Jones is desperate. He is suggesting the Owen Glenn letter is a forgery. Fuck the man is a moron or does a good job of impersonating one.

Key has pointed out that if she is implying Owen Glenn paid to the Privileges Committee.

Peters is clinging to the fact that Glenn donated to his legal fees not NZ First. But that is a red herring for the issue of his denial that he did now know of the donation until July 2008.

Peters is basically calling Glenn a liar. He may regret that.

God Clark is desperate. She is saying that as the letter is to the Privileges Committee, not from it, there is nothing for her to do.

Clark keeps talking about waiting for teh trial. But this is not about whether or not Peters broke standing orders. It is about whether or not he is a liar. And she sacked Lianne Dalziel for lying and David Benson-Pope for lying, without needing a “trial”. She is using the Privileges Committee inquiry as an excuse for inaction.

Someone shoot Dail Jones. He is now asking for all the National MPs on the Privileges Committee to be thrown off it. Clark is almost agreeing. No-one can say National is going soft – that is for sure!

Wilson is doing better today I have to say.

Okay onto the next question. Who cares. General Debate will be fun.