Police Misconduct Reports

Raw Story collects a number of recent incidents of misused tasers, including an appalling account of police who tasered a 16 year old 19 times after he fell from a highway overpass. The boy had a broken back, which might explain why he refused to obey police commands and why he was making incoherent statements that officers apparently regarded as threatening.

The headline story in the Raw Story article concerns a San Marcos, Texas officer who stopped a man for speeding. The driver tried to explain that his dog was choking to death and he was rushing the dog to a vet. The officer's compassionate response:

"It's a dog, it's OK. You can get another one. Relax."

The dog died during the 15 minutes it took Officer Michael Gonzalez to write a citation. Moral of the story: if your dog (or other family member) needs immediate medical attention, don't stop for the police. No jury will convict you of eluding under those circumstances, and your family member is more likely to survive if you don't stop.

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    wow (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by progrocks on Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 01:26:07 PM EST
    If that happened, I would go to jail for a long time, cause i would get out of my car and try to kick the crap out of the cop for killing my dog.

    That is, if I was not tased first.

    On the other hand (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by mmeo on Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 04:04:49 PM EST
    Moral of the story: if your dog (or other family member) needs immediate medical attention, don't stop for the police. No jury will convict you of eluding under those circumstances, and your family member is more likely to survive if you don't stop.

    On the other hand, when you're pulled over and shot dead by armed, emotionally-disturbed badge-wearing thugs as a result of your failure to stop, you personally -- never mind the family member -- won't have survived at all.

    That's a tough one (none / 0) (#21)
    by sj on Tue Aug 19, 2008 at 09:58:49 AM EST
    Let your dog die or take a chance on getting tasered for not complying with an officer's orders.  If a kid with a broken back who has obvious fallen can be tasered 19 times, what chance does a frightened pet owner have?

    Where are we living again?


    I'd vote to convict (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by roy on Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 04:43:40 PM EST
    The life of a dog just isn't worth so much danger to other people.  I've loved my share of animals too, but the life of a pet is not on equal moral footing with the life of any other family member.  Yes, the cop should have been more flexible, but I can understand his strictness.  Bending the rules would encourage the mentality that a speeding ticket is just another cost to pay to do what you want.  Driving 100mph isn't illegal to make it expensive, it's illegal to prevent drivers from killing people.

    Disclosure: I'm more of a cat person.

    Cat person? (none / 0) (#12)
    by Jen M on Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 04:50:46 PM EST
    Egads, you evil... I mean

    what would you have done if it was your kitty choking?


    I'd considered that (none / 0) (#15)
    by roy on Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 05:29:31 PM EST
    I'll admit I might drive dangerously under similar circumstances, but only because like most people I make bad decisions when emotionally overwhelmed.  I'd probably also ask the cop for some flexibility, but with a cooler head I hope I'd still realize his refusal would be reasonable.

    As I think about it, the idea of not pulling over feels more and more wrong.  Doing so takes up more time of the cop chasing you, which could otherwise be spent doing something important.  If he has to chase for long, he'll probably call for backup, tying up still more resources.  When cops chase people, even at low speed (I don't read TChris's suggestion as endorsing speeding), it disrupts traffic which is dangerous itself.  As the costs and risks keep piling up, refusing to pull over seems to be incredibly selfish.


    welll sure, the rules are the rules. (none / 0) (#13)
    by hellothere on Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 05:03:08 PM EST
    information! i have three cats and if one was choking i'd be moving on down the road too. if a policeman tried to do that to me, he'd be eating dust. sure he can follow ticket and sent me to court or the slammer. i wouldn't sit that while that ass mouthed off like that.

    Thought so. (none / 0) (#14)
    by Fabian on Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 05:20:41 PM EST
    It was a toy poodle.  Small dogs of that size are prone to tracheal collapse.  It's a function of their size.  We breed life threatening genetic disorders into them so they can be small and cute.  Yay us.  

    I feel sorry for the couple, but 100mph is excessive and dangerous.  The point of driving somewhere is to arrive at the destination in one piece.  That's why ambulances and fire trucks rarely exceed posted speed limits, even with sirens wailing.


    depends (none / 0) (#16)
    by Jen M on Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 05:39:49 PM EST
    in what part of Texas you are in. 100mph around here is suicidal. In some parts of the west, not so much.

    I35 in/near New Braunfels. (none / 0) (#17)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 05:46:40 PM EST
    Not really in the boonies...

    Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress... (none / 0) (#2)
    by mike in dc on Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 02:14:27 PM EST
    ...sounds like a pretty good case for it here, though the dog technically isn't considered family under the law, and there's no physical injury suffered.  The other option would be suing for the replacement value of the dog, plus punitives, or for the amount by which the dog's chances of survival were decreased by the officer's actions.  

    Sorry, law school just started up again today...

    Hm (none / 0) (#8)
    by Steve M on Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 03:51:35 PM EST
    I hope they cover official immunity somewhere in this year of law school.

    Yeah, they do... (none / 0) (#22)
    by mike in dc on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:34:27 PM EST
    ...but that's not always a strict bar to recovery in all cases.  

    100mph?! (none / 0) (#3)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 02:16:02 PM EST
    Absolutetly deserved to be pulled over and ticketed. The cop could have helped get the dog to the vet though.

    I can find no justification to taze a dude w/a broken back 19 times. There must be more to the story. I hope.

    He was speeding (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by dianem on Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 02:19:10 PM EST
    So... why couldn't the officer get his license, escort him to the vet, and then give him his citation? Human beings aren't supposed to be this callous. Let an innocent animal choke to death because somebody drove too fast doesn't seem right. I know.. the tasering the boy was inhumane, also. But that doesn't justify the mistreatment of an animal. I hope the officer is charged with animal abuse.

    Exactly- (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by tlkextra on Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 02:39:35 PM EST
    To devalue a creature's life is amazing.  My middle finger received better treatment here in Denver. Explanation: I had a table saw accident where some of my fingers were chewed up or cut off. I was taken away by the EMTs, but because it wasn't "life threatening", no siren was used and they took a leisurely (while I was writhing in pain) Easter Sunday drive across town.  Meanwhile a neighbor found my middle finger, jump in the car and sped towards the hospital. He was stopped by the Police, who took the finger, flipped on the siren and sped away. Five minute out from the Hospital, someone came on the ambulance radio and asked "The finger's here, where's the patient?". So, my finger received more urgent care than myself. But I laugh in retrospect, as a final act, I gave "the finger" to a cop (it wasn't savable).

    I'm in agreement. (none / 0) (#6)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 02:27:01 PM EST
    Was that not clear?

    If your dog is choking on an object (none / 0) (#18)
    by nycstray on Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 06:19:19 PM EST
    you can heimlech

    And a person on a Dal list was successful with getting the blockage out of her dogs throat when the dog passed out since the dog was no longer in panic mode.

    Taser Death (none / 0) (#20)
    by WillieB on Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 11:51:35 PM EST
    A gentleman was recently tasered to death not far from my home. No excessive force of course but autopsy results released today found 17 bruises etc.