CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Seattle Law Enforcement Defends Taser Use on a Deaf Man

From To Seattle police, it was a near-perfect use of a Taser -- subduing a man whose behavior might have forced a more violent confrontation, even a shooting, without the less lethal option. To Bob Ross' friends, his being electrically stunned last month was an excessive use of force brought on, they believe, because he is deaf and did not hear the officer's commands.

The department will examine whether training needs to be enhanced, but the officer's Taser use in this case was entirely appropriate, said assistant Seattle police Chief Clark Kimerer. He oversees the department's "less lethal" program, which includes Tasers, beanbag shotguns and training officers in defusing volatile situations.

"It strikes me that most officers, when confronted with that situation, would probably take similar action," Kimerer said. "The officer was in uniform, the facts about the subject's hearing disability were not known to her. She was reacting to behavior which was very troubling and threatening and needed to be dealt with." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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