‘Did they really have to shoot him? Why didn’t they use a taser?” These are some of the first questions asked by the public after a fatal police shooting.
Many people assume that a taser is the “magic bullet” solution to a violent threat. In reality, tasers are not as effective as they seem on film and TV. Tasers are intended to be tools for controlling dangerous behavior and overcoming resistance, but they don’t always work.
The video below shows what happens when a taser fails to subdue a suspect.
An officer must rely on his or her training to observe, decide, and react accordingly as a threat presents itself. Officers often have a fraction of a second to decide which tool to use. They are not always right or justified, and that’s why internal investigations are standard procedure following a police shooting.
The video below does not excuse police misconduct, but it does reveal why many LEOs trust firearms over tasers when a life is on the line.
Officers were called to Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers in Phoenix, Arizona after employees noticed 38-year-old Edward Michael Caruth acting strangely and mumbling to himself. Caruth was seen mumbling before barricading himself in the bathroom. After turning on all the faucets and flooding the floor, Caruth picked up a wet floor sign and began using it as a weapon to destroy the counter. Caruth tried to continue his rampage behind the counter in the kitchen area when an employee grabbed a knife and told him to back up.
Two officers arrived on the scene moments later and ordered Caruth onto his knees. The suspect complied, but refused to follow any further commands. One of the officers deployed a taser after Caruth refused to be handcuffed, but the stun weapon only made things worse. Caruth screamed and broke free from the second officer. He was tazed three times, but continued to fight back and began throwing punches at the officers.
After losing all control of the suspect, the officers were forced outside where the fight continued. After more than six minutes, two more officers arrived on the scene and eventually brought the suspect under control. By this point Caruth was “showing signs of medical distress.” He was taken to the hospital and died from his injuries. The pair of first responders also suffered multiple injuries while attempting to restrain Caruth. The sergeant required stitches for a laceration on his ear and sprained his shoulder and back. The other officer suffered lacerations on his hand and right arm.
Caruth’s motives for the attack were never determined according to CBS News.
What would you have done?
VIDEO IS ON THE NEXT PAGE!