Police

California Woman Permanently Blinded by Police Officer's High-Velocity OC Gas Weapon

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Via the blog over at LewRockwell.com comes the story of Monique Christina Hernandez, a Beaumont, California woman who was permanently blinded by Officer Enoch Clark during a DUI traffic stop in February. Officer Clark attempted to handcuff Hernandez, she allegedly resisted, and Clark:

allegedly fired the spray from 12 inches away using a JPX device, which shoots spray at speeds of 400 miles per hour and is supposed to be used at a minimum distance of five feet, Hernandez's lawyer Milton Grimes said in an interview.

"She did nothing to warrant him putting a gun—a pepper-spray Taser gun—to her forehead and pulling the trigger, causing her right eye to explode and causing severe nerve damage in her left eye to the extent that she's not been declared totally blind," Grimes said.

Hernandez say never being able to see her daughter again is the worst part.

"I'll probably imagine her to look like a 10-year old all her life."

Clark's attorney Kasey Castillo released a statement to KTLA saying her client quote: "is remorseful but innocent… and looking forward to his day in court."

Hernandez came to police attention because "someone" called to report she was causing a "disturbance." This is why police pulled her over, also for supposedly driving erratically. However, when she was released from the hospital, she was not charged with anything, not even the DUI.

On April 26, Officer Clark was indicted for four felony counts of "assault with a less-lethal weapon; use of force causing serious bodily injury; assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury and assault under the color of authority."

The JPX device is not technically a firearm (so says the ATF, the National Firearm Act, and the Gun Control Act), nor are its cartridges technically ammunition. However, as touted by the manufacturer:

we are using a blank cartridge to create the necessary pressure level to deliver the OC spray.  The advantages of this patented delivery system are numerous:

1.  No Loss of Pressure.  Most canned sprays will lose pressure over time that will effect the reliability in time of need.
2.  Higher velocity to the target:  Most canned sprays are limited by their internal pressure to how far they will spray and at what velocity.  
3.  Superior accuracy and no risk of deflection through a sidewind.

One again it has to be said that less-than-lethal weapons such as Tasers and tear gas are in theory a good thing, if only because they are not firearms. However, nothing about the JPX device sounds like a good thing. Particularly its incorrect use by an officer in what seems like a minor, barely-criminal manner. 

Maybe the weirdest thing about this case, especially if you're suffering outrage fatigue from other disturbing tales of police brutality, is this:

Beaumont police asked the Riverside County Sheriff's Department to investigate Clark's use of force, the city said in a statement Thursday. Sheriff's investigators then forwarded the case to the district attorney, who convened a criminal grand jury last week. 

Not even the comments on PoliceOne.com are fully in Clark's favor. And when the blue line's website of choice says the officer wasn't well-trained, perhaps real punishment against him is possible. But of course Hernandez will still be blind.

Reason on police and on Tasers

(Hat tip: Anthony Gregory)

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  1. One again it has to be said that less-than-lethal weapons such as Tasers and tear gas are in theory a good thing, if only because they are not firearms.

    Hey, hey. Remember this. There’s a reason that the term went from “less-than-lethal” to “less-lethal.” Years ago they were still calling Tasers “less than lethal” but switched, likely due to pressure from legal departments and concerns about truth in advertising. The transition between terms was subtle and smooth, with little said about it, but there’s a reason, and it has to do with CYA when authorities kill people with formerly “less than lethal” weapons.

    1. Feck this worthless pig. Let me guess…he’ll get a couple of weeks off with pay and then a promotion to the SWAT team…. Drink! Arse! Girls!

    2. They used to be called non-lethal before less-than-lethal.

      They need to call it almost lethal.

    3. Or sometimes lethal.

  2. I flat guarantee you they took a blood sample at the ER and tested it. No charges means she came up clean.

    1. No matter even if she would have been stinking drunk and disorderly, did not give the pig the right to blind her. Fucking pussy, couldn’t handle a woman without spraying her in the eyes? What a shining man in blue he is.

      The pigs punishment should be being spayed straight in the eyes with the same stuff. I would throw in being kicked repeatedly in the ballls at the same time, if they find he has any. Sounds barbaric, but I am getting really sick of these police state abuse stories.

      The Commiefornians have created themselves one hell of a progressive utopia there. Makes me want to go right out and start voting democrat now, they are such champions of civil liberties.

      1. She wasn’t “spayed straight in the eyes with the … stuff.

        The JPX uses a ‘blank’ gunpowder charge to propel the ‘pepper’ of pepper spray, using that ingredient as the wadding that is used in a normal ‘blank’.

        Any idiot should know that firing a ‘blank’ at point blank range can kill. In fact a number of people are killed or seriously injured that way every year.

        1. Oh, ok, well that excuses the luddite pig from blinding her, my bad.

          1. The comment relates to the danger of using blanks to fire anything. A blank cartridge will discharge burnt powder and hot gases at high velocity and the idea that they should be incorporated in a weapon purposefully fired at a persons face is insane.
            This points out the wilful intent of the office in order to cause maximum possible harm, as in his training he would have been instructed in the use of blank cartridges and the risks they pose.

    2. ER doctors, nurses, and the hospital management work to help the police thugs. The U.S.A. is infested with collaborators.

  3. There’s a common phrase that should be applied here, hmmmm, how does it go… oh yeah, an eye for an eye.

    A truly just punishment would be that the officer should be the star of Un chien andalou 2

    1. There’s a common phrase that should be applied here, hmmmm, how does it go… oh yeah, an eye for an eye.

      So make sure to wear goggles while driving in CA.

      Leviticus chapter 24, is where you can find that limitation. Interestingly, it states right after that, “You are to have the same law for the foreigner and the native-born.” Just reminded me of the comments many are making over the Gitmo trials.

    2. Gouge out the police thug’s eyes with a screwdriver for biblical justice.

  4. What a fucking coward cop. What the hell is this?

    1. It’s riverside county.

      The cops there have shot a sleeping woman in the past, because they feared for their lives.

  5. Thanks MADD!

  6. Law Enforcement Officers!

    Why Risk risk deflection through a sidewind with a pepper spraygun when Nantucket Nullification’s new Hands-0n Habanero Harpoon offers perfect perp penetration and back of the head eye contact.

    Buy a bundle from your nearest chandlery and save !

  7. However, nothing about the JPX device sounds like a good thing.

    Blaming the technology rather than the idiot using it is never a smart thing. It’s like blaming the gun when some moron goes on a shooting spree.

    When used correctly, OC spray generally has it’s place. The problem is that cops are being encouraged, either through training, the lack of it, or the lack of any meaningful punishment to use these as weapons to force compliance rather than defend themselves from actual threats.

    1. When used correctly, OC spray generally has it’s place.

      And what would that place be? Defending oneself from violent minions of the state, perhaps?

      -jcr

      1. It probably could have been used against the guy holding a hose in Long Beach CA, that was murdered by the cops last year.

      2. I wouldn’t use it against cops. It’d be like going after a rabid dog with a plastic fork; it really isn’t enough to get the job done.

        I can think of a few other instances where it could be useful. It’s also an ok-option if you’re in a state that won’t let you carry a gun.

  8. Which countries will steal the most so that people can procreate comfortably? Err, I mean love their moms the most.

    1. Do they call you General Butt Naked because you fight naked and eat the hearts of your fallen enemies? LOL

  9. Well, at least the rage that I’m feeling from this story will give me energy during my workout.

    1. I assume by “workout” you mean “masturbating to Designing Women.”

      1. You assume wrong. It’s masturbating to The Golden Girls. Way to completely whiff that, buddy.

        1. I did totally whiff it. My next guess was going to be Evening Shade.

        2. That’s totally twisted dude. No way is Betty White as hot as the chubby brunette on Designing Women… what was her name?, the name of some airline seems to jog my memory…

          1. Valujet Burke?

        3. I’ve masturbated to The Golden Girls (Porno).

  10. I’m not really all that impressed by the “thin blue line’s” lack of support.

    Somebody didn’t pay attention in his OC training…next time use a baton…

    Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  11. And when the blue line’s website of choice says the officer wasn’t well-trained, perhaps real punishment against him is possible.

    It’s the responsibility of the department that issues the weapon to make certain its officers are trained properly. Supervisors should shoulder some of the punishment if the training was lacking. But I don’t see in the Police One story where they claim he wasn’t well-instructed on the use of the device.

    1. It’s every officer’s responsibility to know how to use the tools they are given. If you don’t know how to do your job, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.

    2. That is not “lack of support” from the Blue Wall of Silence. “I wasn’t trained correctly” is one of the cops’ Top Five Excuses to avoid discipline, as it shifts blame to the boss. The other Top Five Excuses include:

      “There’s nothing in the policy that expressly says I couldn’t do it.”

      “Others have done the same thing and weren’t punished.”

      “You’re retaliating against me because I am a whistleblower/union official!”

      “It’s political!!!”

  12. So, Lucy has taken over the Friday (weekend ruining) nut punch duty?

    1. Getting punched down there by Balko *was* kind of gay.

  13. I see this incident as less clear cut than some other incidents. I’d like to know how the officer was trained is using that device – there might be a problem with the training (or lack of it) rather than criminal intent by the officer.

  14. Is this JPX even authorized for use?

  15. Obviously this is way over the line, and she didn’t deserve this, but I find I have less sympathy for people who get injured while fighting or resisting the police. Why not just be polite and cooperative and avoid risking this sort of thing? Things happen in struggles: people get their adrenaline up and mistakes happen.

    It’s a different thing when (e.g.) somebody is just sitting at home and the SWAT team busts down their door by mistake. I have total sympathy for them.

    I know, it’s “blaming the victim” to some extent, and police are (or should be) trained to deal with such cases without excessive force, and we all have rights and are against police brutality and blah blah blah, but still, it just seems like common sense to avoid provoking armed people who often have to deal with dangerous scumbags. You don’t want to make them think you might be one.

    1. Why bother? They’re gonna feck you over regardless, because they’re gutless powerfreak swine. Eff ’em. Drink! Arse! Girls!

    2. Feck off…I bet you’re this cop’s Momma.

    3. Unfortunately, we can’t trust police officers when they tell us that somebody resisted. Time and time again, people have managed to get their hands on video proving that the officers attacked without physical provocation. And time and time again, officers who have been proven to be liars and sadists get defended by their unions, their departments, their local prosecutors, and even the judges with whom they work while their victims get demonized.

      I think it is perfectly reasonable to wonder why people don’t obey officers who are prepared for violence. Reason writers have repeatedly advised compliance. But to lead by saying that it blunts your sympathy means that you have already made the assumption that the police officer is always telling the truth about the resistance. I am suggesting that you rethink that assumption.

      1. The circumstances as described make it sound unlikely that the cop just pulled over a random person and shot her in the face with the spray. I’m sure there are cases where officers attacked without good cause and lied about it, and this might be one, but most of the stories of this sort seem to involve people people getting into fights: Oscar Grant, Rodney King, etc.

    4. “Not cooperating with the police” means asserting your legal rights, goosestepper.

      1. Advising people to be calm and polite when confronted by armed law enforcement personnel hardly makes me a goosestepper.

      2. Not always, wimpypants.

    5. What, did that fuck Dunphy change his name because he’s a fucking candy ass little girl tired of all the hate on the po po? I say to you Papaya Please die in a fire with your progeny.

      1. Well, aren’t you a calm and polite fellow. I’m just trying to add some nuance to the conversation. You might try it sometime.

  16. “Martinez will still be blind.”

    Don’t you mean Monique Christina Hernandez?

  17. However, nothing about the JPX device sounds like a good thing.

    Bull. When used properly (ie, from a safe distance and in a situation that warrants its use) it’s a lifesaver.

    This cop was either not trained on the correct use of the sprayarm or was trained and didn’t care. Neither is an indictment on the sprayarm itself.

    I hope Reason hasn’t become the sort of Luddite organization that condemns technology because people may be tempted to abuse it…. but this case and the RLCs, for instance, are testing that hope.

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