Police

San Diego Sheriff's Deputy Caught on Tape Tasing Run Away Teenager; Mother Apologizes for Confrontation

Boy charged with felony assault

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KABC

The mother of a San Diego 13-year-old who had run away from home two days earlier reportedly called authorities for help; a sheriff's deputy eventually found the boy, hanging out in a parking lot with at least six other teenagers. The runaway didn't want to go home, and became combative according to the sheriff's department, so the deputy used his Taser.

Witnesses to the incident claim the cop also punched the teen in the jaw and choked him. A portion of the confrontation was caught by a bystander, who said he was recording it "low key" because he was afraid of the cops. Several of the teens in the video did not appear afraid enough not to yell at the cop about his actions as heard on the recording:

The mother, for her part, reportedly apologized to police. The boy has been charged with felony assault on a police officer; he allegedly bit the cop in the arm during the confrontation. In typical fashion, the sheriff's department insists the deputy's use of force was justified but will open an investigation anyway. Maybe the deputy's use of force was justified; perhaps it doesn't even merit an investigation. But when a claim of excessive use of force, whether spurious or serious, is pre-judged as without merit by authorities while they insist on an investigation anyway, that does damage to the reputation of internal investigations by the department, and it is an all too common practice not just when police brutality claims seem specious but as a matter of course for most claims of police brutality, even those that end in death. That's gone a long way to deteriorate any perception of transparency in policing that might exist among the general public.

It's hard to say what should have happened here. The mother called authorities. Had the cop left the boy there, might he have been found liable for endangering the teen's welfare? If his mandate in the parking lot, from police, from the law, from the boy's mother, was to bring him home and the boy was non-complaint, is the use of force inevitable? These questions hinge on people's expectations of police, as articulated by the policies people vote for, the laws they demand, and individuals' specific calls for help to police, factors which contribute to the character of police-community relations and how and when force is deployed.

If the sheriff's department believes this, or any other, use of force to be justified, before an investigation, they should be honest about that, and that should also preclude them from investigating themselves. Outside and independent agencies ought to be investigating claims, not the police departments being investigated, something that would benefit the communities being policed and the police themselves, by adding a measure of transparency and accountability and the ability to differentiate between claims instead of using a one-size-fits all approach of finding every claim unjustified that leaves people rightly thinking most claims of police brutality are justified.

h/t Jeff Thomas

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  1. Cops are innocent until proven guilty. Just like you and me. They have the same..heh..hehheh….

    HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Ohhhhhhh – I couldn’t make it. Whew – that’s funny.

    1. +1 Morgan Fairchild

  2. …the sheriff’s department insists the deputy’s use of force was justified but will open an investigation anyway.

    Investigations which you already know the outcome are the easiest ones to do.

    1. I wonder how many cops were fans of ST: Deep Space Nine and disliked the Cardassians because of their justice system. The verdict is always guilty, and it and the sentence are known ahead of time; the trial is just for show.

      1. I don’t think the Cardies went after the guls and legates, unless they embarrassed the government. The guilty verdict was only for the civilians.

  3. It’s hard to say what should have happened here.

    No, it really isn’t, Ed. What actions would have been legal had anyone else taken them?

    Otherwise we’re just weasel-wording our way around two separate systems of law. You can say it, Ed. We already know.

    1. So true,have some 13 year old kids hanging out on your lawn and smack one when they get mouthy.Se who ends up in jail.If a cop can handle a child with out a tazer and a beating he needs to find another line of work.After some jail time .

    2. All commands issued by the police are lawful, even when they are not. Because if you fail to obey, then they will use violence on you, and nothing else will happen.

    3. I dunno. It appears that there are some things you just can’t say–even as an anonymous forum poster.

      Sounds to me like the cop just has some kind of chip on his shoulder.

      1. Sounds to me like the cop just has some kind of chip on his shoulder.

        I’ve never met a cop that didn’t.

    4. What actions would have been legal had the parent(s) taken them.

      Not saying the cop was either authorized, justified, or right in doing what he did, but this is a minor and the parents had specifically requested assistance in getting him back under their control. What if they had been the ones doing those things, would that be a crime?

      1. No and shut up. Fuck pigs. FUCK PIGS. Fuck you dad this leather jacket looks awesome. You aren’t the boss of me. FUCK PIGS. Get high pigs can’t fly.

        1. Must you always be such a boring dipshit?

          I mean, I get it. You love the taste of cop dick. It tastes like pumpkin pie. Go suck it somewhere else, fuckneck.

        2. FUCK Barbecue PIGS.

          FIFY.

          *wipes sauce from chin*

          Disclaimer: By pigs I mean actual porcine creatures, not any sort of metaphorical representation of any class of human being.

      2. If a parent tazed their child, punched their child in the jaw, and choked their child, they’d almost certainly be charged with felony child abuse.

      3. What actions would have been legal had the parent(s) taken them.

        Not tasing, punching or choking. That’ll get you CPSed, no question.

        1. Exactly.

          Just because you delegate your parenting to a uniformed thug doesn’t mean anything goes. Unless a missing person report was filed, the police have no role in a parent/child dispute.

          Unless the kid was breaking a law, once he tells the Police he prefers to chill out, that should be the end of it.

  4. The kid failed to obey. He’s lucky to be alive.

    1. In Cleveland they’d have just returned the severed head to the parents.

  5. Had the cop left the boy there, might he have been found liable for endangering the teen’s welfare? If his mandate in the parking lot, from police, from the law, from the boy’s mother, was to bring him home

    I think this is the interesting point, i.e. did the cop have legal justification to take the kid into custody?

    1. Probably yes, at least under a fig leaf statute like loitering.

      1. I think it actually goes beyond that. Because we’re talking about a minor it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if there is some kind of duty to prevent endangerment.

    2. I think under the current state of the law the answer is “yes,” the cop is justified to take the kid into custody. That doesn’t mean that should be the case. It’s probably a better scenario that law enforcement only has an obligation to assist in finding someone and then notifying the family. Ed’s right though. If the cop had been completely reasonable and approached the kid, told him his family was worried about him, would he please come along and talk to his mother, etc. and the kid said no and the cop left, I 100% guarantee that, if something happened to the kid, that family would sue and, quite possibly, receive a settlement if not actually win in court.

    3. Did his mandate include violence and arresting the teen? Probably not. That crosses the line from helping the situation to hurting it. I think it reasonable for cops to strategically consider their options if violence isn’t imminent and back off. He could have called another person/agency with expertise in these domestic matters.

      1. For the record, I totally agree with you. I just think that this is another case of “if we’re going to have the state doing these sorts of things, we’re likely to see the agents of the state employ the tool of violence to do these sorts of things.”

  6. The runaway didn’t want to go home, and became combative according to the sheriff’s department, so the deputy used his Taser.

    Well here’s the question: does combative mean he mouthed off and disrespected the cop’s authori-tay, or was the kid really stupid and took a swing at the cop?

  7. We seriously need to eliminate Tasers from police departments. When the only tool you have is a cattle prod, every person looks like livestock.

    1. But then they’ll just start shooting kids with their service pistols!

      Oh. OH.

      1. They already do that.

  8. Hey, Ed? Why no mention that the perp was White? Trying to cover something up, Ed?

    1. I wouldn’t presume to know how anyone self identifies?

      1. Good answer, sir.

        1. Well done. Ed is now my favorite. Fuck Welch, Ed can hang.

        2. Exactly. Ed is just refusing to participate in the cis-racial classification of people according to attributes they are born with. The lack of medical treatments to actualize a person’s current race-fluid self-realization should not be held against them. All people should be treated as their current self-identified racial affinity group, appearances, genetics, family history, and cultural experience be damned.

    2. The capitalized White is what really makes this work. A-minus.

  9. The kid was biting him (the wounds are clearly visible on both arms). He has a gun on him, and a young man is wrestling with him and attacking him. That is a very dangerous situation. He possibly could have avoided getting physical, but once he was in it, what would you all suggest he do?

    1. Um, he shouldn’t have been in it to begin with — which is the point — so what he should or shouldn’t have done shouldn’t even be something we’re discussing.

  10. The mother apologized? Small wonder this kid has issues…

    1. Well, yeah. When I first saw that, I figured she apologized to the kid she set up for a beating. Nah, she apologized to the cop.

  11. The mother, for her part, reportedly apologized to police. The boy has been charged with felony assault on a police officer; he allegedly bit the cop in the arm during the confrontation. In typical fashion, the sheriff’s department insists the deputy’s use of force was justified but will open an investigation anyway.

    I dunno, with all the other cases we’ve got here on the docket, I’m not sure I’m going to get my blood up over this one. No one died, got shot or horribly injured.

  12. Tough love is what this boy needs, to turn his life around. A little electrotorture, some choking, and then a little forcible sodomy down at the lockup, and he’ll emerge a better and more compliant civilian.

  13. Runaway train never coming back. Wrong way on a one way track….

  14. Sounds like the teen was well within his rights to bite a hefty chunk of ham off that pig. In fact, had the attacker not been wearing a costume the kid would have been within his rights to kill.

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  16. It appears that those “non-lethal” tools we have purchased for our police are often being used exactly as critics claimed they would. Namely, as a way to inflict pain without repercussions.

    At the time I thought the critics were being ridiculous. But in all these videos we keep being presented with, you see the police using the taser or pepper spray as a punishment, exactly as they were never supposed to do.

    The whole point of a taser was supposed to be its stopping power. Just zap them and down they go, where you can get the cuffs on. Doesn’t happen that way at all. Instead, they still hit the guy, they just add a taser in the mix as an extra weapon.

    In this case he had the kid down and was on top of him – yet he kept using the taser in a “do as I say or you get another shot” manner. It certainly appeared to me that the officer was trying to “win” the confrontation, rather than getting someone into custody.

    All of this is understandable human psychology – particularly if the kid started acting out violently as soon as the officer tried to take him in to custody. Which means that we should have better training for our police so that they can be better equipped to handle these stressful and anger-inducing situations.

  17. Dem and GOP voters will see it as perfectly consistent to 1) deny any wrongdoing, even if their hired cop was filmed committing murder one in front of a hundred witnesses, and 2) to call for an investigation by others of the same persuasion and pigmentation to confirm that the violence was justified, Their DA is paid to mumble “justified” without looking up from his comic book. Little has changed since Lysander Spooner’s time, except that back then you had to effectively resist before charges were trumped up for a lynching of victims or witnesses.

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