Use of Tasers on Children
The use of tasers by law enforcement agencies throughout the country has come under fire over the last few years, according to Broward criminal attorney William Moore. Revelations about the device’s 50,000 volts of electricity and the high degree of pain the guns cause have led community activists, human rights organizations, and criminal defense attorneys alike to oppose their usage in most situations.
Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer Moore says that while most law enforcement agencies in the United States classify the taser as a moderate level force option – often below even a baton – police departments in other countries, like the United Kingdom, use them when guns could also be warranted. American law enforcement agencies have tended to view the use of the devices as far more acceptable than police in other parts of the world.
This laid-back attitude toward the devices that always cause tremendous pain and occasionally kill suspects has even found its way towards the use of the stun gun devices on children who have encounters with police. In 2004, the Fort Lauderdale-Dade Police Department faced nationwide criticism after two incidents involving children subjected to tasers by law enforcement officers occurred just weeks apart from one another.
One incident involved a 12-year-old girl who was truant from school, Broward criminal lawyer Moore said. The girl was reportedly at a swimming pool, where she was smoking cigarettes and consuming alcohol. A police officer responded and informed the girl that he was taking her to school. She ran away from the officer; the officer said she was potentially going to run into traffic. He tased her, hitting her in the back of the neck and incapacitating her. She was not arrested; instead, she was released to her mother and treated by a physician.
The second incident is more alarming. A six-year-old boy, who was apparently emotionally disturbed, was at his school when he told police officers that he intended to cut himself on the leg with a piece of glass he was holding. The officers responded by using the taser. The child’s mother protested the use of the taser, saying, “If there's three officers, it's nothing to tell a 6-year-old holding a glass, if you feel threatened, 'Hey, here's a piece of candy, hey, here's a toy. Let the glass go.” The company that makes the taser devices has insisted that they are safe for use on any person who weighs at least 60 pounds. The child’s weight was not disclosed.
Fort Lauderdale attorney William Moore has years of experience in criminal defense, including sex crimes and DUI. A felony or misdemeanor conviction of any type can have far-reaching consequences on your freedom, your employment, and your personal life. If you have been arrested in south Florida, contact William Moore, P.A., with offices in Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward, and Fort Lauderdale Counties.
Article contributed by Mallory Shipman, Esq.