Activists are outraged over a Denver Police body camera video that shows an officer using a Taser on an unarmed homeless man.
“He took an innocent step forward and got tased,” said John Holland, the man’s attorney.
The incident happened last June after police were called to the scene by alleged reports of a fight between homeless men. In the video, the officer fires his Taser less than ten seconds after his first command. Holland said he believes it was clearly excessive force, and the officer did not give his client, Gregory Heard, enough time to comply.
“[It was] An unarmed person who wasn’t threatening him,” said Holland.
“Most people who run into police are being suspected of something, the question is what did they do while being suspected by police — this case is about police abuse of power,” he said.
The Denver Justice Project, Denver Homeless Out Loud and the Holland, Holland, Edwards & Grossman law firm released footage from the officer’s body camera, saying the incident is an example of how police routinely use needless force.
It is the second time this month a police officer using a Taser on a homeless person has been in the spotlight. Last week, The Denver Post reported that Officer Keith A. Graves was suspended after using a Taser on an uncooperative, but non-threatening man who was camping in Cheesman Park. The footage above is from a separate incident.
Officer: “Hands up”
Heard: “I have nothing man.”
Heard: “I have nothing, Okay. Look, look.”
Officer: “Crawl out… Crawl out on your hands and knee, I’ll ******* tase you.”
Heard: “Don’t tase me man.”
Officer: “Turn around, stop right there.”
Heard: “No, no, look.”
After the previous taser incident mentioned above, the Denver Police Department was supposed to revamp its ‘use of force’ policy. A draft policy can be viewed here. I’ve read the new policy and fear it will not curb any of the violence that has become synonymous with the DPD. One of the contributing factors in which DPD officers can use when determining whether use of force is justified is “Psychological Intimidation”. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up. Have a look at it for yourself. It’s on page 2 of the document.