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Friday, January 16, 2009

Confirmed: BART uses the pistol-shaped X26 Taser

Just got a call back from BART's communications officer. He confirms that Bart officers carry the X26 model Taser; that this is a recent addition to their equipment; and that all officers must complete 6 hours of training before they are allowed to carry a Taser.

The X26 has the same feel and controls as a service pistol, with an ambidextrous safety:

Taser X26

According to the San Francisco Chronicle:
BART is looking into a number of [explanations for the Oscar Grant shooting], including whether the officer had meant to fire his Taser stun gun rather than his firearm.
Given the similar operation of the X26 and a service pistol, this explanation for why BART officer Johannes Mehserle shot Oscar Grant is not just plausible. It is the ONLY plausible explanation.

A more recent Chronicle article questions how Mehserle could be justified even in using a Taser, given that: "Grant had struggled with officers but had already been restrained when Mehserle shot him in the back." A look at the video, however, clearly shows a brother officer struggling to keep Grant down while Mehserle is fumbling to pull his gun out of its holster (at 25 seconds):

Mehserle's fumbling is another sign that he was confusing his pistol for his Taser, as is his stunned reaction when the gun goes off.

As the Marcia Noriega case shows, there is no criminal liability for Taser confusion

In 2002, another California police officer accidentally killed a man by mistaking her pistol for her Taser. Prosecutors studied the case and decided that with no criminal intent, no criminal charges were possible:
Wyatt explained that without the intent of criminal negligence, criminal charges against Noriega could not be sustained.

“The required aggravation ... did not occur in this case,” he said.
The Mehserle case is identical. A lot of commentators are making reckless statements about Mehserle at least being guilty of gross negligence, which is just wrong. Negligence requires that a reasonable person would foresee the likelihood of an injurious outcome. If Mehserle thought he was firing his Taser, he obviously did not foresee ANY of the consequences of actually firing his pistol.

As I commented at Sam Spade's San Francisco:
The only case for negligence at all is if Mehserle skipped out on training, or wore his equipment in a non-regulation way. What happens under duress--trying to access his Taser with a struggling detainee and a mob encroaching--is at that point just an accident. There is no time to "foresee" anything.

You are inciting people with errant legal analyses, just as people did in the Rodney King case, where King's persistent refusal to obey police commands resulted in extended escalation of police actions, in accordance with the letter of department policy. Keep it up and you are likely to have blood on your hands.
At most, a fair jury could decide that Mehserle WAS wrong to Taser an already restrained arrestee, but the only thing he should be liable for in that case is the foreseeable consequences of misusing his Taser, not his gun. But IS it unreasonable to Taser a still struggling arrestee? A fair jury will most likely not find Mesherle guilty of ANYTHING.

An ACCIDENTAL shooting is what Oakland freaks out about?

These little dirtbags that are rioting in the streets murder each-other day-in and day-out while victimizing numerous Oakland innocents. Of course they are eager to use an accidental shooting as an excuse to riot, in accordance with their dirtbag natures. But what is the explanation for all the adults who are pandering to this bogus outrage instead of throwing cold water on it?

At best, Oakland society thinks that "the rule of law" means that if they don't riot, they have a right to the judicial outcome they want. "No justice no peace" is really a threat of violence if there IS justice, as happened in the Rodney King case.

The gang trash and their enablers need to be taught what the rule of law really means, by prosecuting every last rioter.

If there is any liability for Taser confusion, it belongs to the Taser company, and to BART

Taser's designers presumably felt that making their device similar in operation to a standard semi-automatic pistol would make it easier for police officers to learn to operate, which is undoubtedly correct. Did they also consider that it would lead to some officers mistaking their Taser for their pistol and vice versa?

Making the controls similar to a service weapon seems like an unwise design choice, but it might have been the only choice. Taser pistols only offer one shot, which must be well aimed. Suppose they gave the device a thumb trigger instead of the usual index finger trigger. It seems likely that an oddball trigger of this sort would ruin aim, which would make the Taser useless. It would be better for officers not to have a Taser at all than to have one they can't hit with.

Given that Tasers are effective in subduing people who officers might otherwise have to shoot, the occasional accidental shooting caused by Taser confusion seems like a sound trade-off for saving human life. If that is the case, it needs to be codified by exempting the Taser company from civil liability for this confusion, and by limiting the liability of police departments and individual officers, so long as a reasonable standard of training has been met.

Another example of "Taser confusion" here. ("That hurt," said the suddenly compliant victim. I'll bet.)

a "brother" officer? What the hell is that supposed to mean you racist sack of shit?
WTF? God these leftards are bizarre. Can this guy really not know what a "brother officer" is?

That would be a fellow officer, dimwit. Learn English.
Great...now all a PD has to do is carry this weapon and shooting people in the back on the ground is almost legal.
Oakland is not a safety place anymore. There are a lot of persons victims of delincuence and unresponsable teenagers who playing with guns always are. My cousin was one of those victims.
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