The question here is, what does a cop have to do to be held accountable for his or her actions? At the very least, when does a cops fear of getting hurt trump a citizen’s right to live. In Austin, Texas, it appears that a disabled senior citizen being tased is “by the book” no matter what the surrounding circumstances may be.
March 6, 2015, 62 year old James Sizer called 911 and stated that he had fired 3 shots into the ground in his backyard. While he admitted to this, he said he would not be armed while waiting for the police in his front yard. While on the phone with 911, Cpl. Salvator Reale showed up on the scene with his gun drawn, and demanded Sizer get on the ground.
Sizer stated that he couldn’t get on the ground, and when Reale asked why, Sizer exclaimed that he was disabled. About that time, Officer Martha Cameron showed up on the scene with her taser drawn. She too demanded that Sizer get on the ground. Sizer again exclaimed that he could not.
With a senior citizen before them shoeless, wearing jeans and a tshirt, and holding nothing but a phone in one of his clearly visible hands, Sizer was tased by Officer Cameron in short order. 62 year old Sizer fell backward, hitting his head on the cement, requiring a trip to the hospital. Days later, he died from apparent complications from the injury.
Fast forward one year, and Officer Martha Cameron is cleared by a grand jury of any wrong doing.
This wasn’t a person on the front lawn waving a firearm around. This wasn’t a response to someone making a sudden movement for his waistband. Hell, this doesn’t appear to be a man capable of making any sudden movements.
It would appear that the police are buying their own hyperbole about anyone that comes into contact with the police is a cop killer. It appears that they have consolidated all citizenry to be exactly the same, and no variation of procedure can ever be given. Babies and senior citizens get treated exactly the same as crazed terrorists wearing a bomb vest and multiple AK47s.
Ask yourself, was this “reasonable and necessary” force? This man didn’t appear to pose any real threat here. Not that we’re saying they shouldn’t take this seriously and be cautious, but was it completely out of the realm of human decency to try to work something out before risking his life after such a short time? Was enough time given to comply with an order to do something that may not be all that simple for a senior citizen before being tased?
So why was it necessary to get tased so quickly? We seem to have become blind to the fact that tasers are considered lethal force. Just because it doesn’t always kill, even the manufacturer has admitted the risk.
At what point does the “officer safety” line not hold water? It doesn’t look like we’ll find out any time soon. Even the police trainers support them no matter what.
Complete KXAN Story:
APD Officer Cleared After Taser Caused Fatal Injuries
The family has filed a civil lawsuit.
My Statesman Article:
Lawsuit Reveals Unreported Death After Austin Police Stunned Man