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Jury Trial Excessive Police Force Abuse Tased Man Dead

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In The News

Jury trial, involving Tennessee police, finds police officers not guilty of excessive force after they repeatedly tased a man who died. In fact officers tased him 19 times. 21-year-old male, Patrick Lee, was repeatedly tased by Tennessee officers for supposedly resisting arrest while outside of a nightclub. Police reports stated Lee was “acting strangely,” and that Lee was under the influence of LSD when Tased.
Lee’s parents subsequently sued the Tennessee police officers, the local government authority, and additionally the Taser manufacturer in wrongful death lawsuits. Cases against all entities other than the police officers, including manufacturer Taser International and the local government authority, were dismissed in 2006.
Legal counsel for the police officers claimed the involved officers “were doing their best with the tools they were given.” The "tools" that lawyer is referring to seem a little unclear. The lawyer's statement is a bit vague. The tools appear to have been tasers officers were using, coupled with questionnable lack of care. If this is the "best" police officers can do, society may be frightened. Patrick Lee had very real reason to be frightened. He is, after all, dead. And the last people surrounding him were those that are supposedly enlisted to "protect and serve." Lee wasn't protected, and it appears the entity being served is not community.
In the past eight years, more than 350 people in the United States have died following shocks administered by Police Tasers. And most of those people, like Lee, were not carrying a weapon. As Amnesty International believes, it is a growing concern that Tasers are being used by police officers as routine "tools" of force instead of use as a last resort to guns or firearms.
Following their own statement, that Lee was under the influence of LSD at the time, common sense might lead officers to be even more careful of any shocks they were administering. Instead, they continued to shock Lee's body through use of the Taser, which would obviously heighten risk of death. Heightened risk of death through Taser use should have been a foresight. Foresight, that is, unless officers simply didn't care about the outcome.
Experts warn that being Tased once can pose a health risk. Patrick Lee was Tased by officers an additional 18 times. Even the Taser's own manufacturer, Taser International agrees there are risks associated with taser use. The Taser manufacturer acknowledges that, for a person in a state known as excited delirium, repeated or prolonged stuns with a Taser can contribute to “significant and potentially fatal health risks.” Since the police force uses this piece of equipment, it would stand to reason that officers are well aware of chances related to fatality or Taser-related death. And Lee was "acting strangely" according to police officers, not attempting to murder them. Lee was not attacking officers with weapons, he was acting in a strange manner. And now he's dead.
Taser use is highly unregulated, and physical effects very much unresearched in depth. Yet police officers are routinely using what has proven a deadly "tool." Danger is great for Taser use in general. Obviously risk of death and health hazards are intensified through officers repeatedly administering tases, like what happened to Lee. Patrick Lee was tased not once, not twice, but 19 times. A gunshot isn't necessarily fatal either. But if a victim was shot 19 times, he'd obviously be dead, and we'd be demanding to know what police officers were doing.
LSD and all other drugs aside, it seems the act of being tased at all might in itself lead to a state of "excited delirium." It's not termed 'fight or flight' for nothing. And, for Lee, any perceived danger turned out to be very real. He is, after all, dead at the hands of police officers.

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