Elements of the officer’s version of events are contradicted by video footage. The department denies that this and other force cases add up to a behavioural pattern of abuse.
A Los Angeles police officer shocked a handcuffed woman with a Taser stun gun while joking with other officers at the scene, according to interviews and law enforcement records, adding to a series of controversial use-of-force incidents at the LAPD.
Officer Jorge Santander then appeared to lie about the December 2010 incident repeatedly in written reports. The three other LAPD officers who witnessed Santander stun the woman all corroborated his version of events when first questioned and failed to tell supervisors that one officer had recorded a video of the encounter, the records show.
The video shows Santander firing the Taser without warning and later displaying a Superman logo he wore on his chest beneath his uniform, according to the records. Off camera, another officer is heard laughing and singing.
The details of the case were outlined in a memo written by a prosecutor in the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office that was obtained by The Times. Police officials confirmed that Police Chief Charlie Beck is seeking to have Santander and the three others fired. All four have been suspended since shortly after the incident. Read the full article here.
The key issues raised for me from this article include excessive force (brutality), police stress and the implications, as well as whether the wrong kinds of people are still slipping through the various personality and psychological tests required to become a police officer. According to Arrigo & Shipley (2005) police experience two basic stressors for police officers include organisational practices such as boring admin work and lack of control of the “system”, and the other being the nature of police work in general, mainly being threatened or in harms way. As a coping mechanism it is not uncommon for a police officer to turn to alcohol as a form of stress relief after work, which can lead to alcohol (and substance) abuse – which can affect the officer and their ability to do their job in many ways (Arrigo & Shipley, 2005).
Could stress be blamed for tasering a handcuffed woman? I don’t think so. I see it moving more towards the abuse of power, the thrill of being in control. I see a potentially undiagnosed mental illness, sociopathic traits – or worse – psychopathic ones. It’s a scary thought straight out of a Criminal Minds episode if there are several psychopathic police officers who have acted their way into their role who are now “protecting” us.
It’s not fair to assume that the officer abused his power. Maybe he didn’t write the report and the reason the officers got in trouble was because one of the officers involved never reported the video. Not the For the use of force.
Was Santander thinking that the handcuffed woman was uncooperative, aggressive and combative? Why didn’t the first 2 officers take her into custody? Why was Santander called to handle this situation? Did they request Santander, because they couldn’t get the situation under control? If another officer wrote the report and Santander didn’t read it, then Santander can not be accused of lying. This is just another LAPD scandal where they are throwing officers under the bus.
There are multiple officers at the scene, and they need a taser to control a single handcuffed person – I am guessing they suck at their job. Take away their tasers. What they need is either basic tactical training on how to physically control a person (something many 12 year olds can be trained to do effectively), or they need conseling. Once someone is in handcuffs, I struggle with the need to use a baton, taser, gun or any other weapon.
Mr Dundas, you are totally correct. By the time Santander was called to the scene the other officers let go their grip on the suspect. The (2) original officers couldn’t get the suspect under control so they called Santander to assist. Santander felt like he needed to use the Taser to get control of an aggressive and combative suspect. The reason the officers are in trouble isn’t because of the use of force, but because the original officers involved video tape the incident and failed to report it on the arrest report.
I can tell that you have NO inside information on this, and are simply regurgitating what the LA Times reported…and we know how accurate the Times can be! Hmm. Needless to say, what has not come forward is that this woman was a good size and completely drunk out of her mind in a parking lot in Hollywood, had gotten in a car of a couple who did not know her, and who called the police on her; this woman physically refused to get in the police car after much prompting & pleading. The taser was used for that reason bcz otherwise there was no other way to remove her from the scene. She had been offered the chance to be given a cab to head home, but she declined this by insisting that she be arrested, saying in part that she needed to get paid. Another person, who commented here was right about a few things in that the problem was the lack of full disclosure by 3 of the officers there, but unfortunately ALL the officers became involved because according to LAPD, even if 2 Officers were the ones who did the tassing, ALL officers who were there should have known what was happening (even when u can see another officer not looking in the direction of the tassing); the officers will be losing their careers because the LAPD Chief is under the political pressure of throwing his officers under the bus regardless of the potential innocence of any. Firing some men of honor & integrity (one who by the way also served in our armed forces) is a pretty chicken shit way to have handled this situation. But what does anyone care? The supervisor on the scene, and the Chief still have their jobs!