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August 21, 2005

Pittsburg Police Taser War Protesters

-- by Gary Boatwright

Hat tip to goplies at MyDD, Spread The Word. War protesters and Cindy Sheehan activists need to start bringing cameras and lawyers to their demonstrations.

Today in Oakland in front of the Army Recruiting Center on Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh Police and University of Pittsburgh Police fought with protestors on the sidewalk. At least six people were arrested; police fired tasers and other weapons at the crowd, including restrained arrestees and bystanders.

During the rally at the station, a freelance Fox News cameraman who was aggressively filming demonstrators' faces was told to leave and started a minor confrontation with protestors. He returned with police officers, claiming that either he was punched or that his camera was broken (although he continued to use his camera the rest of the day). Witnesses confirm that neither of these things happened. On this pretense, police began chasing any masked protestors they could find, arresting several and firing weapons at the crowd. Several people have confirmed that they were hit with tasers and chemical weapons. Video cameras captured tasers being fired at people who had already been subdued and restrained by police officers.

Later, police dogs were used to chase away protestors on the sidewalk, and one woman was bitten from behind by a police dog. Some time later, after telling police she wanted to file a complaint, she was told the police would "take her information," but instead she was arrested and placed in the back of a police van.

Photos and a video of police using a taser on a woman lying on her stomach with her hands restrained behind her back.Counter-Recruitment demonstrators shot with Tasers, bitten by dogs

Posted by Gary Boatwright at August 21, 2005 2:55 PM

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Comments

I'd just like to point out when that video starts, the woman is on her back, with her arms in front of her. Because the video starts so abruptly, it's not clear if she is struggling or not. She is not handcuffed, if that's you mean about her hands being restrained. She wasn't tazed once she was on her stomach with her hands cuffed behind her back.

Posted by: Narc [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 21, 2005 3:42 PM

This is good. Every time the police go on a rampage like this, they radicalize everyone involved. Furthermore, the more chaos the anti-war movement precipitates (either by their own actions, or by the actions of law enforcement and other authorities), the more nervous the powers will be about the impact the war in Iraq is having on the stability of the nation (and the security of their interests).

The warmongers should precipitate riots wherever they go... Bush shouldn't be able to show his face in public without angry mobs spontaneously arising, and being pelted with eggs and rotten tomatos (like at his 2000 inaugural parade). Neither should any of the pro-war Democrats, like Hilary Clinton and Joe Biden.

Posted by: Thomas Leavitt [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 21, 2005 4:30 PM

Narc: The beginning of the video is a little abrubt, but one thing is certain. A police officer is standing over a woman who is lying on the ground and who clearly has her under his control. It appears to me that the officer had her arms restrained until he had to jump out of the way of the taser wielding maniac. The taser was a completely unnecessary and unjustified use of brute force.

Tasers are deadly

The death is the 18th case in which a coroner has cited Taser as a factor in someone's death and the fourth case where Taser has been named as a cause of death. But in all of those, Taser was secondary to other factors such as drugs, heart conditions or mental illness.

Posted by: Gary Boatwright [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 21, 2005 9:24 PM

Gary: The movie starts three seconds before she is tasered and continues for 60 seconds after she is tasered. The very fact that we are not shown the context of this event makes me not trust the conclusions we are told to draw from this movie.

The protestor is on the ground, but she is clearly not "restrained." She is definetly not "on her stomach with her hands restrained behind her back" like the blog entry says. One officer has his hand on her wrist, but I her other hand is free. Honestly, after looking carefully at those initial seconds of the movie, it looks to me as if she is struggling with the police.

I never suggested that tasers are not hazardous. But the risk to a healthy individual should be small. They may be the least-dangerous way of subduing an uncooperative person, rather than having five or six large police officers pile on top of a thrashing person.

If the taser was used vidictively, just to inflict pain and not to enforce compliance with the police officers, then its use was despicable and should be punished harshly. All I am saying is that this movie, as edited, does not convince me that the taser use was entirely unwarranted.

Posted by: Narc [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 23, 2005 5:01 PM

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