Ft Worth Taser Settlement

Michael Patrick Jacobs Jr. died April 18, 2009, after he was shocked for a total of 54 seconds… The Tarrant County medical examiner's office ruled Jacobs' death a homicide.., but the officers were cleared by a police investigation. A Tarrant County grand jury declined to indict the officers.

Yeah, we may be able to indict a ham sandwich in Texas but we rarely indict cops (and, IMO, they’ve become a gang all their own!) , certainly didn’t indict this one.  I’m thinking maybe it’s time to start indicting the police departments, basically indict the “policy” the officers are leaning on to excuse their crappy behavior that ends up in citizens deaths.

His parents and other relatives sued the city, alleging that the officers were improperly trained and used excessive force. The city claimed that it was immune from the suit.  In April, U.S. District Judge Terry Means ordered the city and the Jacobs family to meet with a mediator.”  Don’t you love how the Star Telegram just skipped over the ruling on the immunity claim?

That the city has made such an offer does indeed say something.  Does it say enough?

Fort Worth police began carrying Tasers in 2001. Four other people have died in Fort Worth after being shocked with Tasers. However, Jacobs was the first victim who did not have drugs in his system or an underlying illness that contributed to his death. Police and the medical examiner's officer said he had a history of drug use, but no drugs were in his system when he died.”

In common law, if you hit someone who has a thin skull or preexisting injury or health problem and your hit causes more injuries than it would someone more "average", TOUGH.  Suck it up because, under the thin skull rule, you’re responsible for the damages – ALL OF THE; not just the harm you expected to cause but ALL of the harm you actually DID cause.  (How is that fair?  Because the reverse is true too.  If someone is particularly tough, you don't get held responsible for damages that didn't occur although they certainly would have on someone more "average".)

Why do cops think it’s OK to use their weapons on people who may be at higher risk and then basically blame the victim of for their injuries?  Why should cops get a pass when they know of the higher risk potential?  In addition, I’m just plain more than a little tired of seeing cops blame their victims or dismiss them.

According to Amnesty International, more than 351 people have died after being shocked by police Tasers since 2001.”  I wonder how many of them had pre-existing health problems of some kind.  Maybe it’s just me but I think, if they’re going to claim a weapon is safe and non-lethal, it should be safe and non-lethal on the people they are likely to use it on.  What difference does it make if that preexisting condition is "illegal drugs" in some way or fashion?  Those are exactly the people who they are likely to encounter.

Shortly after Mr. Jacobs died, Taser International issued a rather severe warning.  Even though they waffled and still continue to promote their products, it is a warning that should grab our attention.  With 5 deaths and that warning, it should damn sure get the Ft. Worth police department’s attention.

City spokesman Jason Lamers on Friday called the death a tragedy for all involved but defended the use of the Taser.  ‘The city maintains that the Taser is a useful non-lethal use of force option for our police officers; and although we could've fought this in court, we believe this settlement is the right thing to do to allow both the city and the Jacobs family to move forward,’ he said in a statement.”

That’s just down right impressive to build that much into such a short statement.

  • Still claiming it’s non-lethal although it’s certainly associated with at least 5 deaths.
  • It’s a tragedy “for all” but we’ll just keep right on doing the same thing.
  • “we could’ve fought” which is an inherent threat to future litigants.
  • “tragedy for all involved”?  Just detestable how the city and police want to be put on par with family members of the deceased.

Yeah, I don’t think it’s a tragedy to the city or the officers because, if it were a tragedy for the city, it would STOP using tasers.

Brian Eberstein, an attorney for the slain man's family, says ‘that the use of this weapon as a tool for compliance, which is basically how the city of Fort Worth uses it, is something that they need to carefully look at’.  Argh, the politics of being a licensed lawyer!  Need to take a look at?  WTF??  No, absolutely not.  These goon cops need to stop thinking they have some inherent right to demand instant compliance from all other humans on the planet.  Their delusions of grandeur need to be STOMPED OUT.  These pricks (and prickettes) have gotten to the point where they regularly demand people do the impossible and then torture them for being unable to do so.

 “As Jacobs lay face-down on the ground during those 49 seconds, the officers yelled at him to put his hands behind his back. But people can't move while they're being shocked with a Taser; the device is designed to induce muscular incapacitation.”

Shock someone to incapacitate them, then give an order, then shock again for failure to comply.  It’s become SOP.  It was SOP before that when they’d hold someone in a particular position, demand they do the impossible, and then beat with a club.  The only difference is we can see and hear the taser when it’s caught on camera so the SOP technique is merely more obvious.

No amount of training is going to solve these problems.  The underlying problem is the attitude of the officers and the governments.

Does this settlement offer say enough given that the city has already declared it intends to proceed as though it never happened?  Obviously not!  If the family accepts the offer, I can’t blame them one whit but, DAMN, I’m so sick of government just continuing its abuses of the people.  Even when there’s a record settlement, they seem to be saying “that’s OK, we’ll just go right on and jack up the taxes to cover those settlement costs”.  Is this where you want your city to go?  You want your government to continue to kill in your name?  Then settle and charge you through taxes for the settlements?  WTF????

If indict the departments doesn't get their attention, maybe the city counsel or even the state should be indicted.  It's certainly an indictment of our society if we continue to allow officers to abuse humans in our names.

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