Wednesday, February 22, 2006

85 and Counting: America’s Taser Gun Deaths

SCLC Site Link


Can you imagine 50,000 volts of electricity pulsating through your body for five seconds? Well a controversial law enforcement tool, the Taser gun, does just that. The gun releases two barbed prongs that give off from 0.36 joules per pulse to 1.76 joules per pulse. When a doctor uses electric paddles to try and restart a stopped heart, the paddle emits 150-450 joules. The manufacturer of the device, Taser International, as well as a number of doctors across the country maintain that the smaller jolts of electricity cannot affect the human heart or brain even if the person is shocked repeatedly.

Yet, since 1999, the device has been involved in 86 deaths in the United States and Canada. The gun is heavily marketed to police agencies across the country and increasingly the world as an effective device that subdues a perpetrator without inflicting harm.. One has to assume that the manufacturer doesn’t consider the intense pain that renders the body immobilized harmful, especially when the alternative could be bullet from an over zealous officer’s gun. The Taser gun is supposed to be a non-lethal device that decreases the number of police killings, but evidence is quickly mounting that the device may be causing deaths that would not normally occur in situations that are not justified by the use of deadly force by law enforcement.

Taser International has maintained from the beginning that zero fatalities may be directly attributed to the use of a Taser. In fact, the company has called efforts by Amnesty International to have the device banned until further testing is done as “irresponsible, unfair, and defamatory.” However, Amnesty International only among a growing list of human rights organizations, community activists, and even law enforcement agencies who have begun to question whether or not the popular devices are inherently dangerous.

The call for a moratorium in the use of devices has emerged slowly over the past 5 years as Taser death involved fatalities have grown from 1 in 1999 to 46 in 2004. The Southern Christian Leadership began to monitor the rise in Taser involved deaths in early 2004 when it began to monitor the rising occurrence of deaths in police custody. SCLC began to pay close attention to in custody deaths after it began to routinely take calls from its members and partners about an emerging pattern of in-custody deaths that many felt were going unchallenged.

A number of human and civil rights organizations have begun documenting deaths related to the use of Tasers including the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, and the Canadian Police Research Center in Ottawa. Amnesty International released a comprehensive report in November 2004 that at documented 70 Taser involved deaths in the United States and Canada. In addition, the U.S. National Institute of Justice is paying the International Association of Chiefs of Police to review law enforcement "use of force" policies, including the use of Tasers. In December of 2004 the Department of Justice also announced that it would begin to study whether or not the Taser device was as safe as is supporters argue.

This report “86 and Counting: America’s Taser Gun Crisis” provides a synopsis of eighty-five (86) deaths that involve the use of a Taser gun from 1999-2005. The report is drawn from a review of newspaper articles, websites, Internet searches, and in-depth reports by the Arizona Republic, American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International and others since April 2004. The report documents deaths involving the use of the device as well as incidents where SCLC believes officers abused the use of the device.


The Taser is a hand held “conducted energy weapon” that uses propelled wires to send out or conduct energy that affects the sensory and motor functions of the central nervous system. A Taser differs from a stun gun because a stun gun requires the user to physically touch the intended target, while a Taser allows the user to fire two wire-tethered darts at the intended target from a distance currently up to 21 feet. In certain instances, the Taser devices may be effective with only one probe attached to the targeted subject. Additionally, the devices may be effective even if the probes do not penetrate the targeted subject’s skin.

This allows police officers or other Taser users to shock their target from a distance, with the conducting energy being transmitted through the wires to the target. The wires stun and override the central nervous system, which causes uncontrollable contractions of the muscle tissue and incapacitation, while a stun gun jams the central nervous system with “electrical noise” and generally works through pain compliance. In other words the Taser immobilizes a target, while a stun gun produces pain to force the suspect to comply with police orders.

Because Tasers are designed to affect both the sensory and motor nervous systems of the body, they are reportedly more effective than stun guns due to the resulting incapacitation of the targeted subject. Additionally, so long as the wire-tethered darts remain attached to the targeted subject, another cycle can be applied to the subject without reloading and firing another cartridge. After firing its probes, both the Taser M26 and X26 can act as stun gun (requiring physical contact with the subject) as a backup weapon. Both the Taser M26 and the X26 have a dataport that stores the time and the date when the unit was fired. The X26, which was released by Taser in May of 2003, has an “enhanced dataport” that also records the duration of each discharge with the temperature at the time of use for reportedly 2,000 firings. The X26’s dataport also connects through a USB cable to most modern computers, and it has a digitally encrypted data file to protect data for possible admissibility as evidence in court.


Taser International is the leading manufacturer of the Taser. Its main products, the M26 and X26 Tasers, are now used by over 4300 U.S. law enforcement agencies, as well as officers involved in pilot programs in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. The company was founded in Scottsdale, Arizona by brothers Patrick and Thomas Smith in 1993, and originally sought to sell electric weapons not to law enforcement, but to civilians.

In 1991, two of Rick and Tom Smith’s friends were brutally murdered by an angry motorist. Concerned about the increasing violence in their neighborhood, the Smith brothers purchased a gun for their mother. She refused to use a deadly weapon for self-protection. As a result, the two brothers from Scottsdale, Arizona found a solution to the problem of violence in society. In 1993, they formed AIR TASER, Inc., and began production with Jack Cover, on a non-lethal self-defense device that has revolutionized personal protection and law enforcement.

Upon his return to Arizona, Mr. Smith teamed with his brother and began work on their first electric gun, which they would begin selling in 1995. Powered by compressed nitro gun, the weapon did not fall under the regulation of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and thus could be sold to civilians without any major regulations.

After four years, however, sales of the weapon proved to be weak. In fact, the company was nearly bankrupt, and had an accumulated debt of $2.7 million. In a last ditch effort to save the company, a new product, the Advanced Taser M26, was introduced in December 1999. This new Taser, which closely resembled a handgun, was more than four times as powerful as the previous models. It was also, both in shape and strength, a direct response to the criticism by law enforcement officers of earlier models. Not only was the new Taser less bulky, but it also was “designed to cause complete, although temporary, physical incapacitation, not just discomfort or distraction.”


Increasingly the Taser gun is being used by law enforcement in situations that do not require the use of force. In addition to Taser involved deaths, there are increasing reports of law enforcement officers using the technology to torture or abuse citizens. Since there are no federal or state standards for how or when Tasers should be used, departments are allowed to develop their own policies. The lack of such standards has resulted in incidents of Taser abuse which include:

Boynton Beach, Florida. Officer David Silverman, 38, resigned in October after officials saw a video of him using the Taser, on prisoner Christopher Mroczko, 30, of Boynton Beach. Silverman was charged with misdemeanor battery and falsifying a public record, a third-degree felony. While in the department's holding cell, a video shows Mroczko kicking and yelling toward the door. Mroczko sat down, but Silverman walked in and fired the Taser. Silverman told his supervisors a different story, records show. He said, both orally and in a report, that he ordered Mroczko to stop kicking the cell door and sit down, and that Mroczko, stood his ground and threatened him.

Denver, Colorado. A county jail prisoner in Denver, Colorado was shocked twice with a stun gun while he was handcuffed to a wall in a booking room for “mouthing off.”

Rock Hill, South Carolina. Police used a Taser on a 76-year-old woman when she allegedly refused to leave a nursing home she was visiting. A police department investigation determined that officer didn't quite follow policy, but she did have the right to Taser the woman. Police officials in Rock Hill say they reached the conclusion of the investigation comes from interviews of eyewitnesses and from a 911 tape.

Miami, Florida. Miami police officers used Taser on a 6-year old boy who was threatening to injure himself with a piece of glass.

Miami, Florida. Police used a stun gun to immobilize a 12-year-old girl with 50,000 volts. who was skipping school and apparently drunk. According to a police report, the officers responded to a complaint that children were swimming in a pool, drinking alcohol and smoking cigars on the morning of Nov. 5, 2004. An officer said he noticed the girl was intoxicated and was walking her to his car to take her back to school when she ran away through a parking lot. The officer stated that he chased the young girl and yelled several times before firing the Taser when she began to run into traffic. The electric probes hit the girl in the neck and lower back, immobilizing her.

Denver, Colorado. A man was shocked in the genitals while he was handcuffed and seated in the back of a squad car.


The basis of SCLC’s call for a moratorium on the use of Tasers is primarily grounded in the need for more independent research. There is wide acceptance from experts that there is a need for studying the effect of Tasers on sensitive individuals, including those taking prescription or illegal drugs. For example, Dr. Kathy Glatter told the Sacramento Bee:

"There's really almost no medical research examining this issue," Dr. Glatter is a UC Davis Medical Center electrophysiologist, a cardiologist who specializes in heart rhythm disorders and sudden death. "Many of those medicines can cause life-threatening heart rhythms, although it's rare, and they are generally considered safe, butt the combination perhaps in the wrong person could be lethal.

"This is significant because a high percentage of individuals who have died in Taser involved incidents were later determined to be using stimulants. Taser International supports additional research, but it is adamant that there is sufficient data to demonstrate that the Taser is not dangerous. The company’s spokesman Steve Tuttle has indicated on several occasions that several studies have shown that the Taser is most likely not a contributing factor during custody deaths. However, two recent studies, one by the U.S. Department of Defense and the other by the British Columbia Office of Police Complaints, said more research and training are needed.

Taser International objected to efforts by Amnesty International to call for additional research on June 2, 2004 and indicated in a press statement that the organization had failed to acknowledge extensive medical reviews including:

· The government of the United Kingdom, which spent millions of dollars evaluating the safety of Taser technology one year before approving it for field trials.

· Extensive studies conducted at the University of Missouri involving animal testing Taser electrical wave forms directly across the heart in the presence of various drugs that have shown Taser technology does not affect the heart beat or rhythm in any way.

· Independent tests conducted by Tisdale JE, Shimoyama H. Sabbah HN, Webster College of Pharmacy and allied Health Professions, Wayne State University, that found the heart’s sensitivity to electrically induced fibrillation did not increase in the presence of toxic cocaine levels.

· Medical review by University of Ottawa Institute that the electrical current used by Taser devices would not interfere in any significant way with pacemakers.

As more Taser deaths have occurred during the past two years, there has been increased coverage over the use of the now controversial device. Like many members of the public, the media seems to be torn between the use of the device as an effective tool for law enforcement balanced with the reality that despite claims of safety, the more Tasers are deployed, the more people die involving their use.

Following the Taser involved deaths of two Georgia men in 2004, an Atlanta Journal and Constitution editorial advised Georgia police departments to use Tasers infrequently until more research is done by independent investigators to determine whether there should be more restrictions on the use of Tasers. According to the editorial, most of the research on Taser gun safety has been conducted the product’s manufacturer.

Taser International spokesman Steve Tuttle, offered his rebuttal in a Atlanta AJC Equal Time editorial, stating:

“In more than 30 years since the first Taser was introduced, there have been exactly zero deaths clearly caused by the Taser. This statement is supported by independent medical examiners.

”However, there has been media support for the use of Tasers in a variety of situations. For instance, a March 1, 2004 editorial by the Denver Post headline read:

“Police Tasers can save lives.” The editorial indicated that the American Civil Liberties Union was off-base in asking Denver police to limit the use of Tasers to only life threatening situations. Furthermore, the column stated that while Tasers shouldn’t be used needlessly (they cause intense, even if momentary, pain), they should be permissible in a variety of situations. Cops have a limited number of effective ways to control suspects who resist or pose a danger…Firearms are designed to be fatal and should be used only in life threatening situations. But other tools, such as nightsticks and some chokeholds can put suspects in the hospital—or even the morgue. If cops have to wrestle a suspect on a concrete sidewalk, the chances of either the officers or suspect getting seriously hurt are high. So while the ACLU argues that Tasers can cause death, so can any of the other options officers have on the street….The ACLU was right earlier to criticize Denver officers for gunning down suspects unnecessarily. But it’s illogical to now chastise police for their increasing use of Tasers.”(DenverPost.com, March 01, 2004)


Although the Taser is touted by many law enforcement as a valuable tool, the increase in deaths associated with Tasers have not gone unnoticed by law enforcement. Whether out of concern for increased litigation or just caution to ensure innocent citizens are not killed, some agencies that use the Taser device have moved to adopt restrictions on its use following concerns being raised by the public. Examples of the restrictions include:

Forsyth County, Georgia. In June 2004, Forsyth County, Georgia deputies stopped using Tasers after two men died in Gwinnett and Fulton Counties within a 10-day period.

Portland, Oregon. In May 2004, Portland Police Chief Derrick Foxworth adopted a written policy that restricted the use of Taser guns against elderly people, pregnant women, and children. Foxworth also advocated restoring officers’ annual review training to 40 hours and revamp how police review and report use of force. The training will include the need for officers to warn those they are about to fire on before they shoot the Taser.

Kansas City, Missouri. The Kansas City Police Department temporarily restricted Taser use in June 2004, following the use of the device on a 66-year old grandmother. Louis Jones was Tasered while being given a ticket for honking her horn at a police car. (KansasCity.com)

Las Vegas, Nevada. The City of Las Vegas decided to ban officers from using Taser guns on handcuffed prisoners. The department also instituted a policy to discourage officers from applying multiple direct shocks. The restrictions followed a department review of two in-custody deaths involving Tasers.

Pueblo, Colorado. The Pueblo Colorado Human Rights Commission successfully convinced the city’s police department to change it’s policy to use Taser on only aggressive suspect behavior. Previously the police were allowed to use the devices in passive resistance situations.

Tyler, Texas. The police Department's revised it’s policy so that the use of Tasers will now follow pepper spray on a list of levels of force to apply to suspects.

Denver, Colorado. Police officers have a policy that they can shock people in the course of three scenarios: (1) if a suspect is aggressive and is able to carry out the assault; (2) if a person is trying to commit suicide and the officer can’t stop the suicide any other way; (3) and to defend another person They won’t use Tasers in less serious circumstances or when a suspect fights arrest without attempting to hurt the officer.

Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Colorado Springs Police Department’s General Orders — an administrative and field manual — says Tasers may be used “only when necessary and after reasonable efforts to control a non-compliant person have failed” and “may be used against a person only when it is necessary for the officer’s safety or other persons.”


The Taser debate is a complicated issue that demands immediate attention from the public and the Federal government. One cannot dismiss the fact that the device is making a number of people very rich as Wall Street numbers show that the sale of Tasers have exploded, especially since 911. In fact, the company raised $10,4 million in an initial public stock offering in 2001, and the stock soared when tow airlines indicated they were considering using the devices for security.

In fact just recently, the Department of Homeland Security's Transportation Security Administration approved the use of Tasers on Korean Airlines. The approval was the first for use on commercial flights, In response to the approval Taser International President Tom Smith said in a statement, "According to airline statistics there are approximately 17,700 passenger aircraft in the world that could use this non-lethal technology to provide an additional layer of security for passengers, airline employees, as well as the general public.

The device has also played a role in the demise of one of President Bush’s political appointments as Former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik who withdrew his consideration for Head of Homeland Security after it was revealed hat he accepted thousands of dollars on cash and gifts without making proper public disclosures. In addition, Kerik turned a profit of $5.5 million by selling stock options earned during his 18 months as a Board Member of Taser International.

The Taser is also becoming an increasingly popular tool to control unruly school children and fans at local sporting events. A major problem with using the device is that law enforcement use the device in non-lethal situations, but increasingly we are seeing lethal repercussions. When an officer draws a gun to fire at a suspect, he intends to kill that suspect. Yet when he used his Taser his only intent is to immobilize the perpetrator. However in 85 cases not only has the suspect been immobilized, but eventually ended up dead.

Although Taser International maintains that no deaths can be directly attributed to a Taser, a 2004 report by the Arizona Republic indicated that medical examiners in three cases involving Tasers cited the device as a contributing factor in the death. In addition, in two other cases the Taser could not be ruled out as a cause of death. Furthermore, the report indicated that Taser Internationals’ claims were previously based on autopsy reports the company never possessed and didn’t even start collecting until April 2004. When faced with these facts, it‘s not surprising that Taser International officials simply responded that the coroners were wrong in their findings or lacked the expertise to adequately analyze deaths involving the use of the device.

The simple fact is that there are just too many unanswered question surrounding the possibility of the device causing death. While Taser International maintains that more 4000 lives have been saved due to the use of the device, that serves as no consolation to the 86 families who have lost their loved ones. Furthermore, with 46 Taser involved deaths in 2004, not only doe sit appear that Taser stocks are going through the roof, but so are unnecessary deaths that might be prevented if we take a few years to exhaust every opportunity to fully research the dangers of this weapon.

Therefore, SCLC joins with Amnesty International and other human rights organizations around the world in calling for an immediate moratorium on the use of Taser devices and issues the following recommendations:

Recommendation I.

The Department of Justice should recommend that law enforcement agencies implement a moratorium on the use of Taser guns until there is adequate independent research done on the possible dangers of using the device.

Recommendation II

A Federal Task Force on Taser Guns made up of law enforcement, prosecutors, law professors, attorneys, and members the public and human rights organizations should be established to create a national policy/standard that provides clear guidance on what situations a Taser gun should be deployed by law enforcement officials.

Recommendation III

Law enforcement should restrict the use of Tasers against elderly people, pregnant women, and children.

Recommendation IV

Law enforcement should restrict the use of Tasers near flammables, dangerous heights, or at someone’s head or face.

Recommendation V

Law enforcement agencies should require all police officers to undergo at least 8 hours of mandatory training in the use of Taser guns each year.

1. David Flores, 37, Fairfield, California, September 28, 1999
A private investigator, Flores died after being shocked three times during a scuffle with police. Flores suffered a heart attack. Toxicology results indicate Flores died from agitated delirium due to acute cocaine and methamphetamine intoxication.

2. Enrique Juarez Ochoa, 34, Bakersfield, California, May 14, 2000
Police responded to a call from Ochoa's mother, who said her son was acting strangely. Police shocked and handcuffed Ochoa and placed him face down on the ground for 15-20 minutes. Officers transported him to a medical center for evaluation. About 15 minutes later, officers noticed that he had stopped moving. Autopsy report lists cause of death as disseminated intravascular coagulation due to blunt impact trauma while in a hyper-excitable state and cocaine toxicity.

3. Mark Burkett, 18, Gainesville, Florida, June 17, 2001

Burkett, who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, collapsed after struggling with officers at a county jail. Burkett was shocked with a Taser and became unresponsive. He died four days after being placed on life support. Autopsy report lists cause of death as acute exhaustive mania, meaning he worked himself into a frenzy that caused him to suffer a cardiac arrest Toxicology exam revealed no traces of cocaine, methamphetamine or steroids. Coroner notes that mania in psychiatric patients can lead to death. Coroner reports family history of paranoid schizophrenia.

4. Hannah Rogers-Grippi, 6-month-old fetus, Chula Vista, California, December 15, 2001

Police shocked a 36-year-old pregnant woman in the back for refusing to follow orders. At the hospital, fetal heart sounds were heard during the examination. Two days later, an exam revealed that the fetus had died. Autopsy report lists cause of death as intrauterine fetal demise. Maternal methamphetamine use was a contributing factor. The coroner said It was difficult to make a causative link between the Taser event and the intrauterine fetal death.

5. Marvin Hendrix, 27, Hamilton, Ohio, December 17, 2001

Hendrix was fighting with paramedics at his house. A police officer shocked him twice. Two minutes after being shocked, he lost consciousness. An autopsy revealed Hendrix swallowed a bag of crack cocaine about seven hours before he died. The cause of death was cocaine toxicity. The medical examiner reported "the exact role of Taser in this individual's demise is unknown."

6. Steven Vasquez, 40, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, December 21, 2001

Vasquez was shocked during an altercation with police who were attempting to escort him out of a bar. A medical examiner said he died four days later as a result of drug toxicity, due to a mixture of pain medication. Coroner says Taser shocks were not a contributing factor in the death.

7. Vincent Delostia, 31, Hollywood, Florida, January 27, 2002

Delostia was running around in traffic then ran into the lobby of a hotel where he refused to leave. When police arrived, he lay down and kicked at officers. He was shocked, rolled onto his stomach and handcuffs were placed around his arms and legs. After 30 seconds of restraint, he stopped breathing. The coroner said the cause of death was cocaine toxicity and notes a history of bipolar disorder. Says Delostia exhibited multiple signs of excited delirium.

8. Anthony Spencer, 35, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, February 12, 2002
Police, responding to a domestic disturbance, used pepper spray and Tasers to subdue Spencer, who was brandishing a knife. He died in an ambulance en route to the hospital. City officials said tests reportedly found that the death was due to cocaine intoxication and that shocks from a Taser were not a contributing factor.

9. Henry Canady, 46, Hilliard, Florida, March 27, 2002

Canady was shocked after he fled deputies who were attempting to arrest him on drug charges. The coroner said the cause of death was cocaine toxicity and artery disease. The stress of his struggle with police might have contributed to his death.

10. Richard Baralla, 36, Pueblo, Colorado, May 17, 2002

Police arrested Baralla after he was seen walking down a street exhibiting strange behavior. Officers sprayed him with chemical spray, shocked him with Taser and handcuffed his legs and arms behind his back. During the struggle he stopped breathing. Autopsy report says death was caused by cardiac arrest during a state of excited delirium that necessitated restraint.

11. Eddie Alvarado, 32, Los Angeles, California, June 10, 2002

Alvarado died after being shot five times with a Taser by Los Angeles police officers in 2002. He was fighting with officers after having a seizure. The coroner said he died from a mixture of methamphetamine and cocaine while being restrained. The coroner said the stun gun could not be ruled out as a cause of death and indicated a relationship between the Taser and Alvarado's heart attack.

12. Clever Craig, 46, Mobile, Alabama, June 28, 2002

Relatives called 911 because Craig was acting strangely. Police found the 6-foot, 200-pound Craig holding a barbell. When he refused to drop it, officers shocked him twice in about 40 seconds. According to police, Craig struggled for five minutes. The autopsy report says Craig died of a heart attack during an episode of delirium "following electrical shock from Taser while resisting arrest."

13. Jason Nichols, 21, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, June 15, 2002

Nichols was involved in a family fight. He struggled with police officers who shocked him with a Taser. He was taken to a hospital with various wounds from the fight and died 13 minutes later. The Cause of death was listed as head injuries. The coroner said it was extremely unlikely that the Taser played a part in the death. Drug tests were negative for all but a slight trace of marijuana.

14. Fermin Rincon, 24, Fontana, California, June 27, 2002

Died after a struggle with police at a business complex. Officers reportedly shocked Rincon three times and placed him in a chokehold in order to subdue him. A coroner reported that Rincon died because of prolonged methamphetamine abuse. He suffered a cardiac arrest.

15. Unknown male, 39, Phoenix, Arizona, June 2002

An unidentified man found bleeding in the driveway of a home near 80th Avenue and Osborn Road became combative with police officers responding to a domestic violence call. Police shocked the man and put him in handcuffs. He went into cardiac arrest and died at Maryvale hospital. According to Taser International, the man had a cardiac arrest due to a drug overdose.

16. Johnny Lozoya, Gardena, California, July 19, 2002

Lozoya was found unconscious and taken to a hospital, where he awoke and became combative. An officer shocked him. Several minutes later he died. According to Taser International, Lozoya died due to hypoxic encephalopathy, cardiac arrest and cocaine intoxication..

17. Gordon Jones, 37, Windermere, Florida, July 19, 2002

Jones was drunk in a hotel lobby. When Orange County Sheriff's deputies ordered him to leave, he dumped his clothes from a duffle bag. He struggled with deputies who shocked him repeatedly until they were able to place him in handcuffs. He walked with deputies to an ambulance and died on the way to the hospital. A coroner reported that Jones died from positional asphyxia, suffocating while being restrained. The coroner said Taser strikes likely made it hard for Jones to breathe. Nine months later, county officials requested a second opinion, which concluded that Jones died primarily from cocaine-induced excited delirium, not from being shot 11 times.

18. Frederick Webber, 44, Orange City, Florida, September 1, 2002

A husband and father of four, Webber was involved in a fight at a campground. Police arrived and Webber refused to comply with their orders. Police say he resisted arrest and they shocked him multiple times. He was handcuffed with his hands behind his back when police realized he had stopped breathing. The autopsy report says he died of cardiac arrhythmia due to cocaine-induced agitated delirium while being restrained.

19. Stephen Edwards, 59, Shelton, Washington, November 7, 2002

Edwards fought with a store security officer and police officers attempting to arrest him on a shoplifting charge. A police officer shocked the 300-pound man four times when he reached for a gun in the waistband of his pants. After putting him in handcuffs, officers saw that Edwards had stopped breathing. A coroner said he died of a heart attack due to diabetes and obesity. The coroner said Taser was not a factor.

20. Unknown male, 31, Albuquerque, New Mexico, March 16, 2003

Officers were called about a man jumping on parked cars and breaking windows. He resisted arrest and fought with police, who used chemical spray, a baton and a Taser to subdue him. The suspect died after being arrested. According to Taser International, the man died of drugs and ethanol intoxication. Taser reports that toxicology tests showed amphetamines, cocaine and marijuana.

21. Terrance Hanna, 51, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, April 19, 2003

Hanna barged into a hotel holding a knife and hammer. A Burnaby Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer shot him with a Taser. His heart stopped. An autopsy report has not been released. The British Columbia Coroners Service has scheduled an inquiry into Hanna's death for December. Taser International says preliminary reports indicate Hanna died of a cocaine overdose.

22. Joshua Hollander, 22, Normal Heights, California, May 10, 2003

He stabbed his ex-girlfriend to death and then slashed his wrists. Police found him in the bathroom. Despite his wounds, he struggled with police who used a carotid restraint and shocked him with a Taser. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. Autopsy report lists cause of death as suicide. Coroner says he died as a result of a cardiac arrest due to slashed wrists. The coroner says the carotid restraint and Taser did not contribute to death and notes Hollander continued to talk 30 minutes after being shocked.

23. Timothy Sleet, 44, Springfield, Missouri, June 9, 2003

Police responded to a 911 call from a child saying her father was killing her mother. Sleet had stabbed his wife to death after she stabbed him with a kitchen knife. Police said he refused to obey commands. They used Taser, beanbag gun, baton, chemical spray and then piled on top of him in an attempt to subdue him. He lost consciousness and died. A coroner said Sleet died from a cardiac arrest from stress while officers tried to restrain him. The coroner said Sleet was in a state of psychosis due to PCP intoxication.

24. Clay Willey, 33, Prince George, British Columbia, July 22, 2003

Willey died after an altercation at a mall. Police, who said Wiley was exhibiting strange behavior, shot him with a Taser while trying to get him into an ambulance. He died 16 hour later. No autopsy is available.

25. Troy Nowell, 51, Amarillo, Texas, August 4, 2003

Police said Nowell assaulted two elderly women and a man outside of a union hall. When police arrived, Nowell resisted arrest and was shocked multiple times. City officials said an autopsy report cleared the Taser as a cause of death. They said Nowell had a heart attack during a violent struggle. They said it was due to arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease. A grand jury cleared officers.

26. John Thompson, 45, Carrollton Township, Michigan, August 8, 2003

Became violent during a card game with friends. Police were called. They shocked him multiple times with a Taser. He was taken to jail where he struggled with officers. Later, while in an isolation cell, Johnson seemed unresponsive. He was taken to a hospital and later died. A coroner said Thompson's death was not a result of physical force but said the cause of death was unknown.

27. Gordon Rauch, 39, Citrus Heights, California, August 17, 2003

Rauch's father called to report that his son was threatening to kill him. Police officers said Rauch charged at them. Two officers shot him with Tasers. He fell to the ground and went limp as officers put him in cuffs. He died about an hour later. The autopsy report is unavailable. Police said Rauch's prescribed psychotropic drugs might have contributed to his death.

28. Glenn Leyba, 37, Glendale, Colorado, September 29, 2003

Police were called to Leyba's apartment by firefighters who said he was out of control. When Leyba refused medical treatment, a police officer shot him with a Taser. Police said he was on the ground and kicking and thrashing at officers, who shocked Leyba repeatedly. He stopped breathing. Autopsy report lists cause of death as a cardiac arrest during cocaine-induced agitated delirium. Coroner said the Taser is not a contributing factor.

29. Ray Austin, 25, Gwinnett, Georgia, September 24, 2003

Austin was incarcerated and awaiting trial on a parole violation when he got into a scuffle with a deputy at the Gwinnet County Jail. He bit off a portion of the deputy's ear and was shocked three times with a Taser. He was restrained in a chair and given psychotropic drugs. He lost consciousness and died. Austin had a history of mental illness. A preliminary autopsy could not determine the cause of death. A coroner reported that physical restraint might have impaired breathing.

30. Clark Whitehouse, 34, Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, September 2003

Royal Canadian Mounted police reported that Whitehorse fled on foot while attempting to swallow drugs. Police officers used a Taser to subdue him A short time later, he appeared to be having trouble breathing. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. Yukon Coroner's Service is not making the autopsy public. An inquest is pending.

31. Roman Pierson, 40, Brea, California, October 7, 2003

Pierson was shocked twice after running through traffic and breaking into an ice machine at a supermarket. He had been complaining that he was hot and thirsty. Four police officers ordered Pierson to lie down and shocked him when he refused. Police said he took a fighting stance. The autopsy report lists cause of death as cardiac arrest due to acute methamphetamine intoxication. Notes coronary artery disease.

32. Dennis Hammond, 31, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, October 11, 2003

Hammond was walking down the street screaming at the sky. When police arrived, he was perched on a brick mailbox. When officers approached, he would scream at them. Officer shot Hammond three times with a beanbag shotgun and five times with a Taser. After being handcuffed, he turned blue and stopped breathing. The autopsy report lists cause of death as acute methamphetamine intoxication. The coroner said the beanbags and Taser shocks were significant but did not have an immediate role in Hammond's death.

33. Louis Morris, 50, Orlando, Florida, October 21, 2003

Morris drove erratically through the parking lot of a supermarket. When approached by store security officers, he said a passenger in the van needed medical attention but nobody else was in the van. He went into the store and started yelling. When officers arrived, he fled to a nearby convenience store where police shot him with a Taser. After he was handcuffed, the man started banging his head on the ground. Officers turned him over and saw he was in distress. The autopsy report lists cause of death as cocaine excited delirium, a sudden collapse from cardiac arrhythmia brought on by restraint. A pre-existing heart disease contributed.

34. James Borden, 47, Monroe County, Indiana, November 6, 2003

On the eve of his father's funeral, Borden was arrested on a minor violation. Although officers were supposed to transport him to a hospital, he was taken to jail instead. Upon arrival at the jail, Borden did not follow commands of jailers. He was first shot with a Taser for initially refusing to pull up his pants. A jailer shocked him repeatedly until he collapsed and died. The autopsy report lists cause of death as a heart attack due to an enlarged heart, pharmacologic intoxication and electrical shocks from Taser. The jailer who shocked Borden has been charged with two counts of felony battery, including battery while armed with a deadly weapon. (Source: Arizona Republic)

35. Michael Johnson, 32, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, November 10, 2003

Officers responding to a burglary call found Johnson sitting in a chair. When he did not respond, they shocked him with a Taser. Officers said Johnson began struggling after being shocked. He was shocked multiple times and two minutes later he stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest. He was placed on a ventilator and died 22 hours later. Autopsy lists cause of death as acute congestive heart failure due to cocaine-induced sudden cardiac arrest. The coroner said it appears to be a case of agitated delirium. He said the drugs caused the heart attack, not the restraint.

36. Kerry O'Brien, 31, Pembroke Pines, Florida, November 11, 2003

O'Brien was banging on cars in an intersection. Police shocked him with a Taser. He was hogtied before dying. A coroner determined that O'Brien died as a result of being hogtied, saying he was a victim of positional asphyxia, meaning he suffocated while being restrained. The coroner ruled the death as accidental. The coroner also concluded that Taser did not contribute to O'Brien's death. The case is being investigated by the Broward State Attorney's office.

37. Curtis Lawson, 40, Unadilla, Georgia, December 9, 2003

Lawson confronted a woman at a gas station then fled to a hotel room. When police asked him to come out he refused. Police entered the hotel room and Lawson struggled with officers, who shocked him twice with a Taser and sprayed him with pepper spray. He died about 15 minutes after being arrested. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation concluded that Lawson died from acute cocaine toxicity. An enlarged heart contributed to his death.

38. Lewis King, 39, St. Augustine, Florida, December 9, 2003

King fled deputies who stopped his car over a broken taillight and began questioning him about a pill bottle. In attempting to get away, police say he dragged a deputy with his car. Officers shocked him twice with a Taser. He was subdued after a struggle and secured face down. He went into full cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead at the hospital. The autopsy report lists cause of death as cardiac arrest following prone restraint by police. King had a history of heart disease and an enlarged heart.

39. David Glowczenski, 35, Southampton Village, New York, February 4, 2004

Glowczenski, who had a history of mental illness and had been twice institutionalized, was shouting and wandering two blocks from his home. When officers approached, he began struggling. Officer sprayed Glowczenski with chemical spray and shocked him multiple times with a Taser. Glowczenski kicked and screamed even after he was placed on his stomach with his hands cuffed behind his back. He suddenly stopped and died. A preliminary autopsy was unable to determine the cause of death.

40. Raymond Siegler, 40, Minneapolis, Minnesota, February 12, 2004

Siegler was living in a group home for the mentally ill. While celebrating his engagement, Siegler consumed some alcohol and created a disturbance. Police were called because Siegler reportedly threatened other residents. Siegler, who suffered from paranoia, panicked when he saw police. Officers shocked him multiple times with a Taser. He suffered a cardiac arrest. Siegler's family says he went into cardiac arrest immediately after being shocked and remained in a coma until they removed life support about a week after the incident. The autopsy report has not been released.

41. Curt Rostengale, 44, Silverdale, Washington, February 21, 2004

Rostengale was shocked twice with a Taser during a struggle with police at his apartment. Police say Rostengale was breaking glass and banging on door of the complex. An officer ordered Rostengale to stop and shocked him with a Taser when he refused. He continued struggling with officers and was shocked again. A coroner reported that Rostengale died as a result of cocaine abuse and said Taser was not a factor.

42. William Lomax, 26, Las Vegas, Nevada, February 21, 2004

Lomax died after being shocked multiple times during a struggle with police and private security at a public housing complex. A jury at a coroner's inquest ruled that the Taser contributed his death. The Clark County Coroner says the death raises questions about the way Tasers are used. Lomax was high on PCP, a stimulant known for its ability to spark aggression. The coroner said multiple Taser bursts prevented Lomax from being able to breathe and ultimately contributed to a cardiac arrest. Doctors could not say if Lomax would have died if the Taser had not been used.

43. Perry Ronald, 28, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, March 23, 2004

Ronald suffered a head injury during a fight at a friend's house. Afterward, police were called about a man jumping on cars and blocking traffic. It took several officers, who shocked Ronald with a Taser, to place him in custody. He was transported to a hospital to have his head injury examined and suffered a heart attack. He died a week later. A preliminary autopsy could not determine the cause of death. The autopsy report is unavailable.

44. Terry Williams, 45, Madison, Illinois, March 28, 2004

Police, responding to a domestic violence call, shocked Williams when he refused to follow commands and resisted arrest. He was placed in a police car and transported to the police station where he was found to be unresponsive. A preliminary autopsy did not reveal the cause of death.

45. Melvin Samuel, 28, Savannah, Georgia. April 16, 2004

Samuel called police to report a burglary. He was subsequently arrested on a warrant for failing to pay a traffic ticket and taken to a Houston County jail. Jail officials said he was uncooperative and were forced to shock Samuel twice with Taser while moving him out of a holding cell. About 10 minutes later, Samuel became unresponsive. A preliminary autopsy did not reveal a cause of death.

46. Eric Wolle, 45, Washington Grove, Maryland, April 27, 2004

Diagnosed as a bipolar schizophrenic, Wolle panicked when he saw a car stop outside his house. Believing that nameless agents were coming to get him, he fled his house and his mother called police. Officers stopped Wolle, who was carrying a machete in the waistband of his pants and ordered him to the ground. Wolle refused and officers shocked him twice with a Taser. He continued to struggle then lost consciousness. A preliminary autopsy found Wolle died of cardiac arrhythmia during a state of psychosis. Police said Taser shocks did not contribute to his death.

47. Roman Andreichik, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, May 1, 2004

Shocked during a struggle with police at an apartment. He died shortly after being shocked. His death is under investigation. The autopsy report has not been released.

48. Peter Lamonday, 38, London, Ontario, Canada, May 13, 2004

Police received complaints that Lamonday, a landscape worker, was breaking windows and doors of businesses. When police confronted him, Lamonday reportedly swung at officers, who sprayed him with chemical spray and punched him. Seven officers forced Lamonday to the ground and he was shocked several times with a Taser. He stopped breathing about 20 minutes after being placed in handcuffs. A probe by a police watchdog group concluded that Lamonday died of cocaine-induced delirium and said the Taser was not to blame.

49. Frederick Williams, 31, Lawrenceville, Georgia, May 27, 2004

Williams died after being shocked with a Taser at the Gwinnett County Jail. The computer technician, who had epilepsy, was acting strangely when police officers responded to a domestic violence call at his house. He was shocked during a struggle with jail officers and died a shot time later. A coroner said he died of brain damage from a heart attack, but the cause of the heart attack could not be determined. The coroner said there is no evidence that five shocks from a Taser caused or contributed to Williams' death.

50. Darryl Smith, 46, Atlanta, Georgia, May 30, 2004

Smith was found unresponsive in the street and became violent with paramedics who responded to help him. A sheriff's deputy used a Taser to subdue him, shocking Smith multiple times. Smith died about six hours later. A coroner says his death was caused by agitated delirium associated with acute cocaine poisoning.

51. Jerry Pickens, 55, Bridge City, Louisiana, June 4, 2004

Police shocked Pickens while responding to a domestic violence call at his house. Pickens refused to comply with orders not to go back into his house. After being shocked, Pickens fell backwards and hit his head on his driveway. He went into a coma and died about a week later. A coroner said he died as a result of a brain hemorrhage because of the fall.

52. James Cobb, 42, St. Paul, Minnesota, June 9, 2004

Two days after being released from prison on a robbery conviction, Cobb was walking in the middle of a rain-swept street shouting at motorists. Police ordered him out of the street and Cobb became combative. Officers sprayed him with chemical spray, shocked him multiple times with a Taser and hit him with a baton. He collapsed on the street and died. A preliminary autopsy report said he did not die as a result of blunt force trauma.

53. Jacob Lair, 26, Sparks, Nevada, June 9, 2004

Officers were attempting to question Lair at his home when the convicted robber and burglar became combative. Police sprayed Lair with chemical spray and shocked him with a Taser. He collapsed and died. The autopsy report shows he died of acute methamphetamine intoxication. A coroner says he suffered cardiac arrhythmia during a struggle with police involving Taser, pepper spray and restraints.

54. Robert Bagnell, 44, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, June 23, 2004

Police responding to a disturbance at a rooming house found Bagnell frenzied and destroying a washroom. Police shot him with a Taser and he stopped breathing and died at the scene. Police did not disclose the details surrounding Bagnell's death for more than a month while waiting for toxicology reports. A preliminary autopsy could not determine the cause of death. A coroner said Bagnell might have had a lethal level of cocaine in his system.

55. Kris Lieberman, 32, Bushkill Twp., Pennsylvania, June 24, 2004

Lieberman was found naked in a cornfield, crawling around and talking to himself. Officers said Lieberman lunged at them when they attempted to talk to him. They shocked him with a stun gun three times until he lost consciousness. Officers tried to revive him but he was pronounced dead a short time later. The autopsy report is unavailable.

56. Bernard Christmas, 36, Dayton, Ohio, June 2004

Police responded to reports that Christmas was running in circles in the middle of the street. When police arrived, the man reportedly jumped in the front seat of a patrol car. When police tried to remove the man from the car, he struggled and an officer shot him in the chest with a Taser. He stopped breathing and was transported to a hospital where he died. A coroner said the cause of death was a cardiac arrest due to cocaine-induced excited delirium.

57. Willie Smith, 48, Auburn, Washington, July 11, 2004

Smith's wife called 911 and said her husband had assaulted her. Police arrived at Smith's apartment and ordered him to the floor. They said Smith refused and came at them. Two officers shocked him with Tasers. They arrested him and put him in a patrol car where he went into cardiac arrest. Smith's reportedly told police that her husband was on a cocaine binge. The autopsy report is unavailable.

58. Demetrius Tillman Nelson,44, Pensacola, Florida, July 3, 2004.

Prosecutors cleared Okaloosa County sheriff's deputies in the death of a man they subdued with a Taser stun gun, citing an autopsy report that blamed "cocaine-associated excited delirium." Nelson died July 3 after a struggle with deputies in Destin. Nelson was traveling with his girlfriend and her three children late at night July 2 when they had car trouble and pulled into the parking lot of a shopping mall. Deputies said they tried to restrain him when he became incoherent and grabbed one of the children. Nelson died the next day at a hospital.

59. Jerry Knight, 29, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, July 17, 2004

Knight, a former semi-professional boxer, reportedly tore up a hotel room in a fit of rage. Police arrived and shocked Knight with a Taser when he refused to comply with their orders. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital. According to police, Knight died of asphyxia while being restrained by police. Police reported that Knight was on cocaine and suffering from excited delirium. Police also reported that a forensic pathologist concluded that the Taser was not a factor in the death. An inquest has been scheduled to look into his death.

60. Milton Salazar, 29, Mesa, Arizona, July 23, 2004

Hours after Salazar was released from the state prison on July 21, police said he reportedly threw rocks at motorists on Dobson Road then entered a convenience store and threw candy bars at the clerk. When an officer tried to arrest him, Salazar lay on the floor with his hands underneath his body and refused to obey commands. Officers shocked Salazar multiple times and when they rolled him over, he immediately turned white. Salazar was taken to Banner Desert Medical Center, where he died two days later. Police say chemical tests showed he had cocaine in his system. The autopsy report is unavailable.

61. Keith Tucker, 47, Las Vegas, August 2, 2004

Tucker's roommate called police saying Tucker was punching walls and talking to people not in the room. Police arrived and found Tucker sitting on his bed. They reported that Tucker punched and kicked officers as they approached. Officers shocked him with Tasers and placed him in handcuffs. Police reported that Tucker started having trouble breathing. He died at the hospital. The Clark County coroner’s office ruled the death a homicide. A investigation is ongoing to determine whether or no the officers’ actions were justified.

62. Samuel Truscott, 43, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, August 8, 2004

Truscott reportedly overdosed on drugs and barricaded himself in a bedroom where he was armed with a knife and a bat. Police attempted to use chemical spray and when it didn't have any affect, they shocked Truscott with a Taser. Police said Truscott walked unaided to a police car and was taken to hospital where he suffered a suffered a seizure and died. Ontario's coroner said death was due to a drug overdose. He said the Taser was not to blame in any way. The autopsy report is unavailable.

63. Ernest Blackwell, 29, St. Louis, Missouri, August 11, 2004

Blackwell, a former University of Missouri football star, went on a rampage, shooting his stepdaughter with a shotgun and beating a teenage neighbor girl and her mother. Officers said the 230-pound, six-foot-three Blackwell attempted to grab an officer's gun during a struggle in which he was shocked twice with a Taser. Paramedics sedated him and Blackwell died on the way to the hospital. The autopsy report is unavailable.

64. David Riley, 41, Joplin, Missouri, August 11, 2004

Riley threatened to commit suicide and barricaded himself in a house. He had pulled a gas line from the back of the stove and turned on the valve, filling the house with gas. Riley was outside, but when two police officers arrived he started to run back inside. One of the officers deployed a Taser. The house subsequently exploded, killing Riley and wounding the two officers. Police are investigating what sparked the explosion. A Taser was recovered from the wreckage of the house.

65. Anthony Lee McDonald, 46, Harrisburg, North Carolina, August 13, 2004

McDonald's mother called 911 to report her son was damaging his home. When police arrived, McDonald was breaking out the windows. Two officers entered and McDonald became aggressive. The officers shot him twice with a beanbag round and then wrestled with him. They shocked him with a Taser and he immediately had difficulty breathing. He died shortly after arriving at the hospital. The autopsy report is unavailable.

66. Richard Karlo, 44, Denver, Colorado, August 19, 2004

Karlo was frothing at the mouth and breaking into cars when police stopped him. He reportedly attacked two officers who shocked him four times with a Taser. Karlo started having trouble breathing and then died. Karlo's family reported that he had a heart condition and was taking cocaine when he encountered police. A coroner said Karlo died of a cocaine and antidepressant overdose. The coroner said Karlo was in a state of agitated delirium when he died. The coroner said Taser was not a factor in his death.

67. Michael Sanders, 40, Fresno, California, August 20, 2004

Police said Sanders was struggling with his wife when they shocked him several times with a Taser. They said the musician was delusional and stabbed an officer several times with an unknown object. He was handcuffed, put on a gurney and transported to the hospital. He died in the ambulance. The coroner's office said an autopsy revealed that Sanders died of complications related to cocaine intoxication.

68. Lawrence Davis, 27, Phoenix, Arizona, August 24, 2004

Police say Davis jumped on the windshield of a patrol car and began yelling incoherently. Officers followed the man as he walked away from the car and rounded a corner. When he spotted police, the man again ran toward the vehicle and jumped on the bumper before officers attempted to detain him. Davis pushed the officers and an officer shocked him with a stun gun. Officers brought Davis to the ground and shocked him twice more. Police said the stun-gun shots had no effect, so a sergeant used a chokehold to temporarily knock the man unconscious. Paramedics were called. Davis died at the hospital. The autopsy has not been released.

69. Jason Yeagley, 32, Winter Haven, Florida, August 27, 2004

Yeagley was wandering in the road and acting strangely. Police say when an officer tried to escort him out of the road, Yeagley attacked. The officer shocked Yeagley with a Taser. He continued struggling and was shocked again. Police said he was still fighting with the officer. After putting him in handcuffs, officers noticed Yeagley was in distress. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. A preliminary autopsy could not determine the cause of death.

70. Michael Rosa, 38, Del Rey Oaks, California, August 29, 2004

Rosa was wandering through yards and screaming. When police approached, he picked up a 2x4 piece of wood and swung it at officers. Police shocked him with a Taser. After being handcuffed. Rosa started having difficulty breathing. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. Rosa had a 2003 arrest for cocaine possession.

71. Samuel Wakefield, 22, Rio Vista, Texas, September 12, 2004

Wakefield was reportedly a passenger in a car stopped by police for suspicion of drunken driving. He tried to run and fell. An officer shocked him twice with a Taser. Wakefield appeared to have a cardiac arrest. Paramedics were called and he was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Witnesses told police Wakefield had ingested a large amount of cocaine about an hour before the traffic stop.

72. Andrew Washington, 21, Vallejo, California, September 15, 2004

Police say Washington stole a car and was involved in a hit-and-run accident. An officer shot him with a Taser as he tried to climb a fence to run away. After being arrested, police say Washington showed signs of physical distress and was having difficulty breathing. Emergency crews were called to the scene. He was taken to a hospital where he died. A 21-year-old man died of cardiac arrest in September after being shot with a police Taser, the Solano County coroner said Monday. Vallejo resident Andrew Washington died Sept. 15 after he was shocked by a police Taser, a weapon that fires 50,000 volts of electricity through two retractable wires. Washington died from "cardiac arrest associated with excitement during a police chase and cocaine and alcohol intoxication occurring after tasering," according to the coroner's report.

73. Jon Merkle, 40, Miami, Florida, September 20, 2004.

Jon Merkle, 40, of Hallandale Beach, died on Sept. 20, 2004 after Officer Alfredo Matias used a Taser to subdue him. Miami police spokesman Delrish Moss said the medical examiner told investigators Merkle had significant levels of cocaine in his system. Police say they are sure the Taser was not to blame. Merkle, an attorney, had a history of cocaine use and had been arrested four times since 1999 on charges of drug possession. He was suspended from practicing law shortly after his 1999 arrest on cocaine possession charges, Florida Bar officials said. Earlier this year, police in Hollywood arrested him after he led them on a short car chase that forced children crossing a street to run for safety.Merkle pleaded no contest to possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia and fleeing police in that case and served several months in the Broward County Jail before being released at the end of July. On Sept. 20, officers Matias and Michelle Johnakin were called to the area of Northwest 13th Avenue and 68th Street because of reports a man was running through backyards and acting erratically. They found Merkle in an abandoned house.

74. Dwayne Dunn, 33, Lafayette, Louisiana, October 4, 2004

Dunn was arrested outside of a Piggly Wiggly store for public intoxication. An officer tried to talk Dunn into leaving the property and when he refused, the officer shocked him with a Taser. Dunn was taken to jail and booked on charges of resisting arrest, disturbing the peace and for misrepresentation. Jail officials later put Dunn on a medical watch. An ambulance was called when his condition deteriorated. He died at the hospital.

75. December 18, 2004.

Man dies after Taser is used A Utah County man died after a scuffle with Heber City police, who used both a Taser and pepper spray in attempting to subdue him. The man, 37, was pronounced dead at Wasatch County Hospital in Heber. Heber police officers responded to a 911 call about an eastbound pickup truck that was weaving across the center line of U-189 in Provo Canyon. Police intercepted the truck, but the driver fled, leading police on a three mile chase and running at least four red lights. The man then pulled off the road and into a field covered with snow. When officers tried to extricate him from his truck, he resisted and began to strike police. The officers stepped back and tased him.. Initially the Taser strike stopped the individual, but then he started resisting again.In the continued tussle, officers accidentally stripped the Taser of its barbs when trying to remove the man's seat belt. As the man continued to fight, officers employed pepper spray and were able to handcuff him, even though he continued to struggle, Rhoades said. But after rolling the man onto his back, officers saw that he was suffering medical distress and stopped breathing, Rhoades said. Police immediately began CPR and called for an ambulance.

76. Christopher Hernandez, Naples, Florida, Dec. 30, 2004

A teenager died after he was shot with a Taser stun gun and doused with a substance similar to pepper spray during a fight with Collier County sheriff's deputies. Hernandez died Tuesday, several hours after officials say he attacked deputies, kicking and ripping their uniforms. Hernandez, who had no local criminal record, was taken for treatment at Naples Community Hospital for a cut above his eye, but Collier County sheriff's spokesman Dennis Huff said there had been no indication that Hernandez' wounds were life-threatening. Hernandez's relatives claim he was badly beaten. They said that when they saw him at the emergency room his head was swollen, his eyes were "blood red" and his arms and face had road rash. Blood from somewhere on his head stained the hospital pillow.The incident began about 1 a.m. in a parking lot near a nightclub, when the driver of a car in which Hernandez was a passenger was cruising recklessly, police said. When deputies ordered the driver to stop, he continued instead, and police halted the car in the parking lot of a nearby convenience store. Hernandez got out of the back seat, and attacked deputies. They used CapStun, similar to pepper spray, and a Taser stun gun, which inflicts a shock,

77. Robert Guerrero, Forth Worth, Texas, November 2, 2004.

A Fort Worth police officer shot 21-year old Robert Guerrero on Election Day with 50,000 volts from a Taser gun, he was hiding in a closet. The police were called to a Fort Worth, Texas apartment complex in response to a complaint from residents that someone was illegally stealing electricity. The police shot requested twice that Guerrero exit the closet, and but he refused. The police officers had dealt with Guerrero before, and suspected that he might have a weapon. Therefore they used a department issued stun gun to subdue and handcuff him. Mr. Guerrero stopped breathing shortly thereafter and the police then called for medical assistance. Guerrero was pronounced dead at John Peter Smith Hospital.A medical examiner subsequently ruled Guerrero’s death was an accident caused from acute cocaine intoxication, the medical examiner's office ruled recently. Guerrero died about an hour after officers found him hiding in a closet of an apartment. Officers had gone to the apartment complex after receiving a call from the property manager who claimed that Guerrero was illegally running electricity to an apartment. The officers repeatedly ordered Guerrero out of the closet, but he did not reply, even after they threatened to use a Taser, police have said. When Guerrero continued to ignore the police, officer P.R. Genualdo, a six-year veteran of the department, shot Guerrero in the chest with a Taser, police have said. Genualdo pulled the Taser's trigger at least once more and then police took Guerrero into custody and handcuffed him. After carrying Guerrero out of the apartment, the officers noticed that he had stopped breathing. Paramedics were called, and the officers performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation until Guerrero was taken to the hospital.

78. Greshmond Gray, Lagrange, Georgia, November 2, 2004

Police attempted to subdue 25-year old Greshmond Gray, after female residents of an apartment complex called police because he refused to leave. The police allege that the Taser was used on Gray after he bent down to pick up a small cooking grill containing hot coals. The 5-feet-9, 170 pound man was stunned two more time as he attempted to run away from the police.

79. Timothy Bolander, Delray Beach, Florida, November 2, 2004

A man who was found banging his head against a fence post outside his estranged wife's house died Thursday after officers shot him with a Taser stun gun, police said. Timothy Bolander, 31, collapsed as the officers walked him to a patrol car and was pronounced dead at Delray Medical Center. His wife, Lidia Bolander, had obtained a temporary restringing order against him Tuesday, making it illegal for him to be in the yard. She called 911 when he arrived at about 3:30 a.m. When officers arrived, he struggled with them until he was he was shot twice with 50,000 volts. Delray Beach, police said Bolander had a history of mental problems and drug abuse. They said they were confident Bolander's death was drug related and not a result of the charge from the Taser.

80. Patrick Fleming, Kenner, Louisiana, December 2, 2004

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that a 35-year old man died less than 48 hours after Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputies twice used a Taser stun gun to subdue him following a traffic stop. Patrick Fleming of Kenner, La., was pronounced dead about 3:15 p.m. at Ochsner Hospital, where he had been taken early Friday in critical condition, according to the newspaper. Newspaper reports indicate that the sheriff's department would not comment and no cause of death has yet been determined. Kenner’s death was the second fatality associated with Taser use by Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputies in the past six months.

81. Kevin Downing, Hollywood, FL, December 15, 2004.

A 36-year-old man died Wednesday night after a Hollywood police officer shot him with a Taser gun, police said. The man, who was not identified, was pronounced dead at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood. Police got a call about a man in a white van driving erratically through west Hollywood. At about the same time, a Hollywood Fire-Rescue engine leaving Memorial Regional Hospital encountered a van blocking several lanes of traffic in the 7400 block of Sheridan Street. Paramedics stopped to help the driver, who became unruly. The driver confronted the paramedics, and they called police for help. When police arrived, the man turned violent. One of the officers pulled her Taser and shot the man, Rode said. The 6-foot-3, 280-pound man was subdued by the shock from the Taser, and police took him into custody. They brought him to Memorial Regional Hospital for treatment, which is standard procedure. He died a short time later

82. Ronnie Pino, 31, Sacramento, California, December 22, 2004

Ronnie Pino, who had Vega Nerve Stimulator implanted near his heart to control gran mal seizures was found dead in a Sacramento County Jail. Pino was found dead on the medical floor of the jail, 17 hours after he had a struggle with police. A confrontation occurred after Pino had broken through the glass pane of hospital door where was being treated for hallucinations. When police arrived they found the 5-foot-10, 290-pound man with cuts on his arms and legs. He resisted arrest and was shot twice with a Taser gun. A doctor in the jail called Pino mother an indicated that they were having problems with him and asked what medications he was taking. The mother described her son as being mildly retarded and that he had been having hallucinations since he was 9 years old when he was diagnosed with a slow-growing tumor.

83. Jeanne Hamilton, 46, Palmdale, California, December 29, 2004

A Palmdale woman led California Highway Patrol officers on a high-speed chase died in an Inyo County Jail cell less than two hours after she was pepper-sprayed and shocked with an electronic device. Hamilton stopped breathing in the jail cell where she was taken following the pursuit and a struggle with California Highway Patrol officers and Inyo County sheriff's deputies. A small amount of methamphetamine, as well as drug paraphernalia, was found on Hamilton during booking, officials said. The incident began about 2:30 a.m. Dec. 29 when CHP officers driving on Highway 395 spotted a vehicle coming up behind them at a speed they clocked at 91 mph. The vehicle slowed briefly to about 70 mph, then accelerated again, this time with speeds nearing 100 mph as the officers pursued it. Eventually, the vehicle pulled over near Lone Pine, but the driver refused to get out, Eropkin said. The officers sprayed the driver with pepper spray then, with the help of an Inyo County sheriff's deputy, pulled her out of the vehicle. Hamilton, who was described as being 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing in excess of 200 pounds, struggled with the officers. The officers forced her to the ground, but she refused to put her hands behind her back, "like she was concealing something" Eropkin said. Eventually the Inyo County deputy used an electronic device called a Taser to shock her, and then she was handcuffed. At the Inyo County Jail, she struggled throughout the booking process, Eropkin said. Deputies placed her in a cell but soon noticed she had stopped breathing. Officers performed CPR on her, and she was taken to Southern Inyo Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

84. Greg Saulsbury, Pacifica, California, January 2, 2005

A 30-year-old man, died at Seton Medical Center after getting shocked at least once by Pacifica police with a Taser gun . Pacifica police claim Saulsbury was acting combative and resisting arrest in his grandmother's home on the 400 block of Inverness Drive in Pacifica, California when officers responded to a 911 medical call and entered the house to secure the area for medical personnel. According to news reports Saulsbury's grandmother indicated that an ambulance never arrived at the house, and that against her will, at least seven officers pushed past her into the house just before midnight.Patterson grandmother said her grandson was just sick and simply lying down in a back room when officers arrived. Patterson said police shocked Saulsbury several times with the Taser while trying to arrest him, and that his father, Gregory Saulsbury Sr., was also tased when he attempted to intervene on his son's behalf. (Source: San Francisco Examiner, January 5, 2005)

85. David Cooper, Indianapolis, Indiana, January 2005.

The Marion County coroner is trying to determine if stun guns might have contributed to the death of a man accused of killing a Whiteland minister. Police and jailers twice used Tasers to shock 40-year-old David Cooper, who died last week. His attorney says Cooper suffered from heart problems. Chief Deputy Coroner John Linehan says there's not enough data on the effects of stun guns to draw firm conclusions, but the two instances in which officers used a stun gun on Cooper were "absolutely" a consideration. Cooper died three days after the Indiana Department of Correction transferred him to a hospital psychiatric unit. He was charged with attacking the Reverend William McElroy of the Missionary Baptist Church in Whiteland. (Source: The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

86. Unknown male. Akron, OH, January 5, 2005

Man dies after struggle with police. A man who broke into a Triplett Boulevard home died this morning after a struggle with Akron police officers as they tried to arrest him. Police Lt. Sylvia Trundle said the man's identity won't be released pending notification of his family. It is not clear what caused his death. The police department and Summit County Medical Examiner's Office are investigating appears the man smashed his way into the house in the 900 block of Triplett and suffered a deep laceration on his wrist as a result, police said. Officers went to the house just before 6 a.m. after the 50-year-old woman who lived there called 911. The woman said the man yelled at her and claimed he was ``the devil.' The woman was not harmed. Before struggling with the man, police used two Tasers but were unable to get the man under control, Trundle said. The man claimed to have a gun, but officers found no weapon.

Bibliography/Source Page

1. Information on Taser International taken from: www.Taser.com, corporate history statement and various press releases.

2. ACLU Charges Unnecessary Force and Torture, March 16, 2004 ACLU of Colorado Letter

3. Stun Gun Fatalities Rise, CBSNEWS.COM, April 5, 2004.

4. Jailer to Face 2 Charges in Taser Death, idsnews.com, Cory Schouten, May 13, 2004.

5. Searching:The Stun Gun Theory, CBSNEWS.com, October 4, 2002.

6. Taser Safety Claim Questioned, Arizona Republic, June 18, 2004.

7. Autopsy Inconclusive Inmate Shocked with Stun Gun, Ledger-Enquirer.com, May 29, 2004.

8. Suspect Hit With Taser Dies After Being Subdued, St. Petersburg Online, May 25, 2004.

9. ACLU Urges Denver Cops to Limit Use of Tasers, Rocky Mountain News, Sara Huntley, February 27, 2004.

10. Police Tasers Can Save Lives, DenverPost.Com, March 1, 2004.

11. Forsyth Drops Tasers, AJC.COM, Rosalind Bentley/Lateef Mungin, June 6, 2004.

12. Chief Plans Tighter Limits of Taser Use, Added Police Training, The Oregonian, Maxine Bernsatein, May 12, 2004.

13. No Criminal Charges in Use of Taser, FOX11AZ.com, L. Anne Newell, Arizona Daily Star, June 24, 2004.

14. Family Sues Police over Man’s Death, Star-Telegram. COM, Max B. Baker, June 23, 2004.

15. SJ Cops Use Stun Gun Every Other Day, KRON4.com, June 21, 2004.

16. Kansas City Restricting Taser Use after Public Outcry Over Grandmother Incident, KansasCity.com, June 23, 2004.

17. Doctors Defend Taser Gun Safety, Billingsgazette.com, Robyn Shelton, Orlando Sentinel, June 14, 2004.

18. Autopsy Inconclusive on Inmate Shocked With Stun Gun, Ledger-Enquirer.com, May 29, 2004.

19. Suspect Hit With Taser Dies After Being Subdued, St. PeterburgTimesOnline.com, Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler, May 25, 2004.

20. Inmate Dies After Scuffle, AJC.COM, Lateef Mungin, May 28, 2004.

21. Police Kill Man With Taser in FL, www.miamiherald.com, Wanda DeMarzo, November 15, 2003.

22. Drugs Not Taser Killed Philly Man, wpvi.com, March 8, 2003.

23. Police Involved Shooting Autopsy Completed, local10.com, January 29, 2002.

24. Savannah Man Dies After Taser Shock, Savannah Morning News, April 18, 2004.

25. Investigation of Police Taser Gun Fatality, First Coast News, March 28, 2002.

26. Taser Maler Days Its Unlikely Device id to Blame for Shelton Man’s Death, The Olympian, November 11, 2002.

27. Cops Deny Taser Caused Fetus’ Death, United Press International, December 19, 2001.

28. Autopsy: Man’s Death Result of Heart Failure, Not Taser, Amarillo. COM, October 22, 2003.

29. Taser Guns Aren’t Lethal; There’s Proof, Atlanta Journal Constitution.

30. Much Too Shocking, Atlanta Journal Constitution.

31. Police Detail Bizarre Shooting, The Daily Journal, Dan Yates, January 7, 2005.

32. News Finds Kerik in Cash Conflict, New York Daily News, December 12, 2004.

33. Questions in Jail Inmates Death, Sacramento Bee, December 25, 2004.

34. Deputy Kills Man on Metarie Lawn, The Times-Picayune, December 15, 2004.

35. Excessive and Lethal Force? Death and Ill-Treatment Involving Police Use of Tasers, Amnesty International 2004.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Just in Case You Didn't Know

[chart from United for a Fair Economy]

The Rational Radical.com
In our country:
10% of Americans
grab 46% of the income
control 71% of the wealth

Distribution of Our Wealth Is Terribly Askew
September 4, 2001

Most people have no idea that the vast bulk of the wealth of the United States is in the hands of a relative handful of people.
The wealth distribution chart below shows that the top 1% own 38.1% of the wealth in the country, the next 4% own 21.3%, and the next 5% own 11.5%. That is to say, the top 10% of the country owns 70.9% of the wealth of this nation!

Ninety percent of the country owns a mere 29.1%.

Another way to put it: Assume there are 100 people who have $100 to split up. No one expects it to be divided perfectly evenly at $1 apiece, but everyone involved expects that some basic fairness will be used in the process that will split up the money.

Now let's say the $100 winds up being divided as follows:

1 person gets $38.10
4 people get $5.32 each
5 people get $2.30 each
10 people get $1.25 each
20 people get .60 each
20 people get .23 each
40 people get 1/2 cent each

The 40 people getting 1/2 cent each might be a bit annoyed at the person getting $38.10. The 20 people getting 23 cents each would probably not be happy with the 4 people receiving $5.32 each. And so on...

This is how our economic system has distributed the wealth of our country. It's so far from any type of fairness as to be laughable, were it not a direct cause of certain segments of our society lacking adequate resources for food, clothing, shelter, medical care and other necessities, let alone any amenities of a beyond-subsistence life.

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Ten Things We Didn't Learn From 9/11

The Rational Radical.com
Ten Things We Didn't Learn From 9/11
January 1, 2002

1. To demand that government officials be held accountable for their incompetence. Is there any doubt, given the revelations concerning what the government knew about the 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui, in August, that the heads of the FBI, CIA and Justice Department should have resigned in disgrace for their failure to properly investigate Moussaoui and thus prevent the 9/11 tragedy? Instead, most Americans seem happy to give these same officials even more power.

2. To not blindly trust the government, but demand information about exactly what its plans and policies are. We trusted the government to protect us against terrorist acts, and it abysmally failed. So why do people then trust it with vague, dangerous plans for military tribunals, without knowing the details? While there was no broad public outcry about the tribunals, at least there was a pundit outcry, and the detailed regulations implementing the tribunals seem far better than the procedures the initial presidential order would have allowed.

3. To spend what's necessary to protect ourselves. As the continually-being-scaled-back plans for new airport security show, the almighty dollar still seems more important than preventing planes from being blown out of the sky.

4. To be more generous towards our fellow Americans with the vast richness of this nation. While contributions to 9/11 charities topped $1.5 billion, it was a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul: contributions to non-9/11 charities were drastically down immediately, and have stayed so, creating the inability to help many in need.

5. To go beyond clichés in answering the oft-asked question of why many people in the world hate us. We can't even entertain the possibility that some of the grievances of those who express hatred of us have some validity. Instead, most Americans seem content to attribute that hatred to irrationality and/or jealousy. I imagine that many in this country actually agree with Ann Coulter's statement that we should "invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."

6. To stop supporting dictatorships when it suits our geopolitical purposes. Our newest alliances are with brutal dictators in the "stans" which abut northern Afghanistan. Are the people in those nations going to be the next ones to develop an intense hatred of us?

7. To realize we're only as safe as the worst neighborhood on earth, and we need to share the earth's resources more equitably with the 95% of humans who aren't American. It's often said that we are 5% of the world's population, but use 25% of the world's resources. I don't now if that's accurate or not, but clearly we use far more than our proportionate share. If everyone on earth had an American lifestyle, many of the earth's non-renewable resources would vanish in decades. We can never be safe denying a large segment of humanity the use of the planet's riches.

8. To demand that the mass media provide us with all information, the bad as well as the good, about the conduct of our wars. There has been no public insistence to be told about civilian casualties, so the media have happily acquiesced to the government's wishes and barely reports at all on the thousands of civilians who have been killed by U.S. bombing in Afghanistan. Not knowing what is being done in our name will, if not in this instance, in others, most certainly come back to haunt us.

9. To truly understand the horror of modern warfare when it's directed AGAINST us, not BY us, and therefore be loathe to inflict it upon innocent citizens of other nations. Many Americans, based on comments to this site, talk show audience interviews and internet bulletin boards, seem to have had the opposite response: our civilians died, so let's kill their civilians -- which is precisely the terrorist mentality, that it's okay to kill civilians for military/political ends.

10. To finally understand what so much of the foregoing boils down to, the necessity of following the Golden Rule: Do Unto Others As We Would Have Them Do Unto Us.

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Indy News: The "N" Word Still OK in INDIANA

February 21, 2006

Leaders see double standard

School officials cut wording some parents disliked but have kept racial slur in musical
By Robert King
February 21, 2006

Black leaders charged Monday that a Far-Southside high school has a double standard when it comes to preserving the integrity of the script of a school musical.
Perry Township school officials have stood firm when it comes to keeping a racial slur in the script of "Ragtime," but have allowed references to masturbation and swearing in God's name to be removed.

Black leaders say the complaints about the sexual and religious references were from white parents, but their objections to a racial slur used seven times are being ignored."Are we not equal? Are we not just as good as they are? Are our concerns not just as valid?" said Margie Oakley, secretary of the Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis, a group made up mostly of black ministers in the Indianapolis area.
The group said it likely would protest at performances of "Ragtime," which opens Thursday.

Speaking in front of the school district's headquarters, Oakley was joined by nearly a dozen black clergy who demanded the play be canceled or at least scrubbed clean of what Oakley called the "notorious N-word" when it is performed at Perry Meridian High School. The clergy were joined by black state representatives Greg Porter and Bill Crawford, both of Indianapolis, who said the district's stance on the racial slur was "hurtful" and "culturally insensitive."

While Perry school officials have stood by the script through criticism, they found themselves Monday defending their willingness to let it be altered in some places and not others. School district spokesperson Karen Cantou said she could not confirm that white parents had been the source of the objections to swearing in God's name and to masturbation. But she said Perry Superintendent H. Douglas Williams sees the racial slur as being more central to the integrity of the play than the references to God and sexuality that were removed. Williams, who was out of town Monday, is white. Likewise, white School Board member Gayle Houchin said the matters "fall into two different categories."

Cantou said district officials may revisit the issue of the script today in light of the clergy's concern about a double standard. It is possible that swearing in God's name and the masturbation references could be restored as a result, she said. The play opens Thursday night, with performances again on Saturday and Sunday.
Initially, Cantou said the district would not allow protesters on school grounds during the performances so as not to distract the students. That prompted some of the black clergy and legislators to say they were willing to be arrested if needed to voice their objections. Later in the day, Cantou said protests would not be hindered as long as walkways into the school building are kept clear.

Lee Robbins, a white parent who graduated from Perry schools two years before courts ordered black children from the Northeastside to be bused in for the sake of integration, remembers that many white families back then were fearful of what that change might mean. But two decades later, Robbins, now with his own kids in Perry schools and himself a School Board candidate, said the district has made much progress. He considers it progress that Perry Meridian is tackling the thorny issue of race in the student production "Ragtime."

Progress, though, is not what black religious and political leaders see in the production. They were particularly critical that parents from the Northeastside neighborhood that supplies the vast majority of Perry's black students were not consulted about the production of a play with heavy racial elements. Cantou said the plays directors are white teachers, but a school district diversity officer who is black was consulted.

"They keep telling us to get over it," said Crawford, whose House district includes many of the bused students' families. "I would suggest to you that the N-word is not getting over it. It is a hateful, hateful, painful, sorrowful, violent word that has no place in public education."
A generation gap

While the cultural gap was being highlighted Monday, the controversy also spotlights something of a generation gap. Most of the clergy members present Monday were over 50. But black cast members at Perry Meridian High have said the harsh language, while unpleasant, is necessary to convey the truth from a past era.
Sophomore Steven Sizemore, 16, plays Tateh, a poor Jewish immigrant from Latvia. During a break in rehearsals Monday afternoon, he said the strong language in "Ragtime" is vital in the musical's effort to accurately portray the ugliness of that period of American history.

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Rush Limbaugh at it Again

February 20, 2006
Richard Prince Journal-isms originates from Washington and is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Missing the Satire, Host Activates Racist Listeners

"Barry Saunders and Rush Limbaugh? Those are two names you wouldn't normally pair together, but the N&O metro section columnist found himself being quoted -- unfavorably -- on Limbaugh's talk radio program last week. The show stirred heated discussion among readers and non-readers of The News & Observer," public editor Ted Vaden wrote Sunday in the Raleigh News & Observer.

"Saunders said he received some 500 messages commenting on his column, most of them critical, some racist (Limbaugh posted Saunders' picture on his Web site.)" Saunders is African American. "Limbaugh hyperventilated over a Saunders column Tuesday that poked fun at the shotgun mishap of Vice President Dick Cheney. 'Accident, my eye,' is how the column began, and you might guess how it goes on from there:
"Just as surely as a fish wrapped in a bulletproof vest means 'Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes,' that shotgun blast to Whittington's face was meant to convey that I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby had better bite his tongue and forget about testifying against Cheney, his former boss, in the Valerie Plame spy case.

"Do you believe that Saunders literally was accusing the vice president of the United States of intentionally shooting hunting buddy Harry Whittington as a warning to Libby? Apparently hundreds of folks did. . . . "Limbaugh read about half the column over the air. But he left out the half that made clear that the N&O columnist was satirizing the Cheney affair. . . . "I suppose if there's a lesson to be learned, it's that satire is a tricky weapon to wield in column-writing. That's because humor so often is not what the writer intends, but what the reader perceives. As Saunders told me, 'If you are a Republican or a conservative, you didn't see the humor. If you're a liberal or an independent, you did see the humor.'"

Its the old stir the pot with lies and propaganda trick ....but he got caught!! Many blacks died in the past when things like this were done. GET YOUR FACTS STRAITE AND REPORT THE TRUTH RIGHT WINGERS or people could be hurt even killed.

Limbaugh Tells Listeners White Candidate Is Black

"Brown is black in the eyes of Rush Limbaugh," the Associated Press reported Friday.
"When Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett was forced out of the Democratic primary in the U.S. Senate race in Ohio, the conservative commentator criticized The New York Times for not saying that the Democrats' preferred candidate is black.
"Limbaugh later found out from e-mails to his nationally syndicated radio show that the candidate, Rep. Sherrod Brown, is, in fact, white.

"Uh, Sherrod Brown's a white guy? Then I'm confusing him with somebody. OK, I'm sorry," Limbaugh said this week. Brown is a seven-term congressman and former Ohio secretary of state who is running against GOP Sen. Mike DeWine.
". . . Later in his show, Limbaugh said he kept getting e-mails. 'We have corrected this, and I, you know, I'm not gonna apologize because I don't think it's an insult to be black,' he said.


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Monday, February 20, 2006

Just having Fun : The Best Bush Picture on the Net

Bush pimpin' the United States Government, Iraq, New Orleans victims, the U.S. troops, Condoleezza Rice, and the Media. More to come....

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Friday, February 17, 2006

Historical : "Negroes with Guns" -- Robert F. Williams and black power

By Jerry Mazza
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Feb 15, 2006, 16:23

For me, one of the revelations of Black History Month has been the life of Robert Franklin Williams. As colleague and writer Timothy B. Tyson tells us, Williams “was the grandson of slaves, who as an 11-year old in 1936 saw a white policeman, Jesse Helms, Sr., no less, beat an African-American woman to the ground. Williams watched in terror as former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms’ father hit the woman and ‘dragged her off to the nearby jailhouse, her dress up over her head, the same way that a cave man would club and drag his sexual prey.’”

Robert F. Williams was born in 1925 in the small town of Monroe, North Carolina, also the home of the Southeastern Regional Klu Klux Klan. He was reared on his grandma Ellen’s eye-witness accounts of racial troubles and the tales of his grandfather, Sikes, who stumped the state for the Republican Party (Lincoln’s not Bush’s Republicans). This was during Reconstruction, rapidly deteriorating into Deconstruction, as soon as the Union pulled out its troops.

During World War II, Robert Williams headed north for work. He found his first job as a machinist in the auto industry and his first battle in the Detroit Riot of 1943, when white mobs killed dozens of black citizens. Drafted in 1944, Williams served for 18 months, a freedom fighter in a segregated Army, in which he learned how to handle and use arms.

He came home to Monroe in 1947, and married Mabel Robinson, who shared his gut feelings for justice and African-American Freedom. Ironically, it wasn’t until July 26, 1948 that President Truman desegregated the Armed Forces with Executive Order 9981.

Post-war Violence in The South

In the late 1950’s, Monroe was president of the Monroe NAACP, which practiced a brand of non-violent passive resistance. He watched and waited for justice as many black people in his community were denied basic rights, terrorized by the KKK (literally shot at on streets at random). Unfortunately, justice was bald-facedly denied in the courts. Unlike Martin Luther King, Jr., who would come to head up the Southern Leadership Council, he saw no recourse but to call for “armed self-reliance” in the face of unbridled southern white “terrorism.” But this was not a decision made quickly or lightly, but after exhausting all other avenues.

The Swimming Pool Incident

For instance, black children were not allowed in the public swimming pool in town. It was reserved for whites. What’s more, several black children had drowned in swimming holes that obviously had no lifeguards. In 1957, Williams made a modest proposal to the town fathers: open the pool one day a week to black kids. Officials said it would be too expensive, because “they would have to drain and refill the pool each time” black children swam in it. Today, we think that’s a sick answer. Back then, Williams did too. Until he tried again, and took a group of black children to the pool, attempting to reason his way in. What came back were nightly death threats.

Williams then proceeded to organize a picket line and protest in 1961 for swimming pool rights. There were a number of attempts on his life. One day as Williams drove his car, another car drove his into a ditch. A crowd gathered around, shouting, “Kill the niggers.” A white man got out, saying,”Nigger, what did you hit me for?” He had a baseball bat with him, ready to use it on Williams, his car and students. Williams raised a .45 to the window and aimed it directly at the attacker, never saying a word. He started to back the car away. The mob threw stones. He stopped the car, opened the door, and stood behind it holding an Italian carbine.

When a policeman attempted to grab Williams, ordering him to give up his gun for the mob-kill to come, Williams struck him in the face with it, then put the barrel in his face, and told him he would not surrender to a mob. Another policeman who had run around the side of the car, started to draw a revolver. One of Williams’ students, a 17 year-old aimed a .45 directly in the policeman’s face, and warned him to put his gun back in the holster or he’d be killed. The policemen did that, and in the process stepped back and fell in the ditch. And so, despite the mob of three to four thousand, the police decided that discretion was the better part of valor. They dispersed the mob eventually and escorted Williams and friends out of the area. Wise choice.

Kissing Kids Thrown in Jail

When some of Monroe’s black and white children were playing together and got into a “kissing game,” one of the black boys was said to have kissed a white girl, or was it the other way around? The white parents went ballistic, the father armed himself with a shotgun and called the cops who arrested the boys, charged them with rape, and locked them in the jailhouse basement. A few days later a kangaroo court sentenced them, without counsel, to reform school until they were 21. One boy was seven and the other nine.

Williams called in a well-known black civil rights lawyer, Conrad Lynn, from New York to take the case. Meanwhile the boys’ mothers could not see their children for weeks. A white journalist who had traveled from England to cover the story did get permission to see them. She brought the mothers along and took a picture of the emotional reunion.

The story of the case and photo were printed throughout Europe and Asia and an international committee formed to defend young James Hanover and Fuzzy Simpson. There were huge demonstrations in Paris, Rome, Vienna and Rotterdam, climaxing with the U.S. Embassy being stoned. It was an international faux pas for the US government. Consequently, local officials first asked the boys’ mothers to sign a waiver, which included an admission of guilt but guaranteed freedom, to which the mothers said no. Two days later, James and Fuzzy were let go, no conditions, no questions asked.

Woman-Beating and Attempted Rape No Crime

In an even less fortunate incident which touched Williams deeply, Mary Ruth Reed, a young black woman eight months pregnant, was the victim of a fierce beating in conjunction with an attempted rape by a white man, Louis Medlin, an event which was witnessed by many neighbors. After Medlin was arrested, Robert Williams, adhering to NAACP guidelines, counseled the angry black neighbors to let the law handle it. Strangely, Medlin had brought his “attractive” white wife to the trial and asked the jury to compare her to this lowly black victim. Therefore how could he seriously have committed the crime? No problem, the jury decided. Medlin was free. The black women in the courtroom turned to Williams in anger and rage.

His response to media later was that, “I had told them [the black women] that in a civilized society the law is a deterrent against the strong who would take advantage of the weak, but the South is not a civilized society. . . . I said that in the future we would defend our women and children, our homes and ourselves with our arms. That we would meet violence with violence.”

NAACP Balks at Williams

The next day Roy Wilkins, then head of the NAACP called Williams to confirm if he had said that. Williams said, “Yes, and I intend to repeat it over and over on several radio and television programs in the next few days.” And he did. The next day, Wilkins suspended Williams from the NAACP for six months. Fortunately, his wife, Mabel stepped into the position and carried the ball.

KKK Gatherings In Town

What’s more, thousands of KKK members met in Monroe met from time to time. After burning copious crosses, they hopped in their cars, honking horns, shooting off guns, and threatening to kill people. The object again: racial terror.

During that time Williams had personally started organizing armed squads of black people for self-defense. I might add with the blessings of the National Rifle Association. A church group up north raised money for better rifles. Williams traveled later to New York to speak at Malcolm X’s Mosque No. 7 to raise money for arms. And when push came to shove back in Monroe, when the Klan came raging into the black section of Newton one night, they were met by a cordon of armed black men. The Klansmen panicked and fled every which way. And this was the last time they rampaged through Newton.

Yet Williams’ painstaking but effective decision for protective violence, based on what he had seen and lived through made him the “bad example” at the 1959 NAACAP convention. Some 40 speakers disavowed him. He rebutted that he asked for self-defense, not acts of war: “We as men should stand up as men and protect our women and children. I am a man [and] will walk upright as a man should. I will not crawl.”

Support from King, Help from Williams

Williams’ commitment made an impression on no less than Martin Luther King, Jr. King acknowledged that, “When the Negro uses force in self-defense he does not forfeit support -- he may even win it, by the courage and self-respect it reflects.” Deep in his heart, even the sainted King had a clue there was another way to go. Nor do I believe it diminished him. I think the two worked hand in glove.

In fact, as the debate over violence or nonviolence went on in 1961, King called for “Freedom Riders” to organize a nonviolent campaign in Robert Williams’ hometown. But angry white mobs caused that peaceful crusade to degenerate into violence. Williams was called into action to help protect the organizers. He put his black militia into the fray. In fact, a white couple that had been driving through the mayhem was attacked in turn by angry blacks. Not wanting senseless brutality, Williams stepped in and called the mob off, allowing the couple to go to his home for protection. This same couple later called the police and accused Williams of kidnapping them. Disinformation blared across the south. Hundreds of Hoover’s FBI agents were looking for Williams and his family. Like a 20th Century John Brown, the black community hid Williams and his family as they traveled away from North Carolina.

Exile in Cuba

Miraculously, Williams escaped with his family to Cuba, their asylum granted by Fidel Castro. It was in Cuba that Williams wrote his classic book, Negroes With Guns, which inspired Huey Newton to organize the Black Panthers. It inspired as well H. Rapp Brown, Stokely Carmichael, Eldridge Cleaver, Malcolm X and others who felt black people needed to arm for protection. While in Cuba, and with Castro’s assistance, Williams and his wife also wrote and produced Radio Free Dixie for the international airwaves. The radio show provided hope for blacks in the south, until it was finally jammed by the US government. What’s more, Williams never presented himself as a communist, but as an American leader in exile for the liberation of black people. In fact, in his meetings with Che Guevera he expressed his disappointment at how the Communist Party had marginalized the black struggle in America.

Time with Mao in China

In 1963, feeling tension from communists who opposed his methods, Robert Williams wrote to Mao Zedong, leader of China’s revolution, to speak out on the plight of black people in the US. In response, Mao not only issued a declaration of support for the cause of African-American liberation, he invited Williams to China. Thus in 1966, Williams moved with his family to China. Amazingly, he met with Mao and toured China at his side, visiting communes and factories, witnessing the construction of this huge totalitarian state.

Yet once again, Williams, ever his own man, held onto his stance as a militant nationalist and not a communist. He supported struggles around the world, including in Africa and Asia, and Vietnam during the war. He traveled to North Vietnam and met with Ho Chi Minh and broadcasted anti-war messages to black soldiers in South Vietnam. It’s no wonder he is barely mentioned in the panoply of major civil rights leaders. Yet his impact was enormous.

Returning Home

In 1969, given the spirit of détente that Nixon was pursuing, Williams agreed to aid the US with technical advice about China and how it worked, this in return for safe passage home. Additionally, a Ford Foundation grant was provided for Williams to work at the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan. Though it is a little known fact, Williams played a significant role in the historic opening of diplomatic relations between China and the United States. He often wore the Mao suit, the hat, the pen in pocket, a strip of African colors on his jacket.

Returning home with his family, having realized his deepest dreams and aspirations, Williams continued to work for the cause of civil rights. This time part of his strength was consumed in the struggle against Hodgkin’s disease. He fought it until his death in 1995, managing to complete his landmark memoir, While God Lay Sleeping: The Autobiography of Robert F. Williams. Hundreds of people attended memorial programs for him in Detroit and New York. At his funeral, no less than Rosa Parks summarized the high esteem he was held in by those who marched peacefully with King in Alabama. Williams’ tough, intelligent wife, Mabel, survived him.

Williams’ Relevance for Today

What strikes me first: here is a man whom I as a reasonably aware educated white liberal had never heard of until I saw a documentary of his life a few nights ago on PBS’ Frontline. The next day I went to the net and was amazed at the number of pieces on him. Yet here was a man who was truly the solid fist in the glove of the civil rights movement, which is not to diminish the role of those who pursued passive resistance and non-violence. The tragic sadness of Martin Luther King’s untimely death has already been laid in the bloodied hands of government assassins, as was the case with Malcolm X. In both cases, losing one’s life is a huge price to pay for the freedom of others, which brings a truly costly martyrdom.

Also, what really triggered government fear and hostility towards King was the Poor People’s March that King had planned for Washington in 1968. In 1963, he had shown his power to bring 250,000 poor black people and many others to Washington, DC, and spread their tents on the National Mall lawn. That posed to the powers-that-were an enormous threat. Yet, these poor people came unarmed, peacefully, dutifully. But their sheer numbers, and the potential, for twice or three times as many at the next rally, caused the government trigger to be squeezed and King went down.

Similarly, when Malcolm X returned from Mecca with his vision of international peace for people of all colors and faiths . . . the enormous power for unity and justice generated the enormous fear of government power being jeopardized. And Malcolm was gunned down. Would that either of those men had been able to seek and find asylum in safer parts of the globe. But then they might not have been as effective in America. Again, untimely death and families of widows and orphans were dear prices to pay for their leadership.

What’s more, to watch Coretta Scott King’s funeral just a few days ago, and to see of all people, President Bush, eulogizing her, even as a black, drowned New Orleans bobs in the news six months after Katrina hurts to the bone. As does the painful death of Malcolm’s wife from a fire set by a misguided grandchild. If I were a religious, I’d say, god works in strange ways, truly.

The Survivor and the Victims

Yet miraculously the man who brought the gun to the civil rights battle was not a victim, but a survivor, and led his life in peace until his natural end. There is a double irony here. Williams was not a child of the middle class, an educated professional. He was a child of the poor, grandchild of freed slaves. His civics lessons came mostly as direct witness of racial violence. And like Mao, he learned the hard way, through personal experience, that political power could come from the barrel of a gun.

Apply this lesson to the criminal behavior of government today. Where is the fighting force to protect us from the miscreants? How do they persistently escape judgment, imprisonment, or impeachment? While all the arguments are legitimately, eloquently presented against them, whose job is it to actually put them out of office? Who represents the entire colonized citizenry of America, as Robert Williams represented black America once, with a gun in his hand to ward off the ongoing violence?

Who will enforce the laws of the constitution and prosecute the illegal entry into the Iraq war, the 9-11 “inside job” of the administration and its subsequent declaration of a “War on Terror,” which is a war on all of us? Add to that the attack on Afghanistan to look for the yet-to-be-found Osama bin Laden, a former CIA asset.

Again, who is there to protect us from the illegal voting procedures of three elections? Who will enforce justice for New Orleans and its citizens? Where is the Big Gun who will answer force with force, since all the laws, due process, habeas corpus, the Geneva Conventions et al, have been thrown out the courthouse windows, along with many legitimate judges? Who will jail the bribe-takers, the embezzlers, the swindlers?

Who will physically confront this unending corruption and mockery of justice? Robert Franklin Williams, do you hear me? Is the pen really mightier than the sword? Is it right only to turn the other cheek? Or is it, as you once said, time to claim our right to take up arms to protect ourselves against a criminal force, as once America’s forefathers did against King George and the British? A thoughtful Black History Month to you all.

Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer residing in Manhattan. Reach him at gvmaz@verizon.net.

Copyright © 1998-2006 Online Journal

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The myriad of facts, conjecture, perspectives, viewpoints, opinions, analyses, and information in the articles, stories and commentaries posted on this site range from cutting edge hard news and comment to extreme perspectives. I choose not to sweep uncomfortable material under the rug - where it can grow and fester. I choose not to censor uncomfortable logic. These things reflect the world as it now is - for better and worse. I present multiple facts, perspectives, viewpoints, opinions, analyses, and information.

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