As a follow-up to our post on Utah tasering from last week, this news conference in which officials claim the officer acted appropriately (well, when he used the taser. Everything else he screwed up, which is precisely the point- cops are using tasers instead of being good cops):
“We found that Trooper Gardner’s actions were lawful and reasonable under the circumstances,” Davenport said at a news conference, joined by Scott Duncan, commissioner of the UHP’s parent agency, the Utah Department of Public Safety.
The investigation was conducted by officials in the Department of Public Safety, which oversees the highway patrol. The officials have asked the Utah attorney general’s office to also review the case to determine if laws were broken.***
When Massey’s wife emerged from the passenger side, the trooper ordered her to get back in — “or you’re going to jail, too.” Moments later, when another officer arrived, one of them said, “Oh, he took a ride with the Taser.”
Davenport said that comment was inappropriate.
Officials said Gardner could have issued the ticket without Massey’s signature. The investigation found use of the Taser was justified because Massey had turned his back and put a hand near his pocket, Davenport said.
“For a law-enforcement officer, that is a very, very scary situation,” he said.
Nonetheless, the trooper now realizes that other options were available, Davenport said.
Got it? The Trooper screwed up, pushed the situation when he didn’t even need a signature, refused to make any attempts to defuse the situation, then didn’t behave correctly (turned his back on Massey), but the tasering was ok because it was a “scary situation” for the cop.
Ain’t being a cop great! You can screw up every part of your job, have your superiors admit publicly that you screwed up, and you are still justified doing whatever you want if you can claim you got ‘scared.’ It is time to take the toys away from the police and teach them how to do their jobs without the quick “fix” of the taser.