Restrained Schizophrenic Prisoner Tazed to Death
Cruel. Tragic. Another police-custody death.
Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, describes how a schizophrenic prisoner in Virginia was shackled and tasered four times – which killed her.
The Washington Post explains:
[Experts say that] tasers are not recommended for use on the mentally ill, that even the Taser manufacturer warns against using them on people in a state of ‘excited delirium,’ and that using a stun gun more than three times is thought to be above the threshold for use on a single person.
Is it significant that this prisoner was black? That she was a woman? I don’t know. But it is clearly significant that the prisoner was in a state of excited delirium.
Better Training for Police Officers
Police officers must be trained to recognize aberrant mental states. They must learn how to effectively deal with people who are mentally ill. They also need to know techniques to keep themselves from becoming overly excited and reactionary.
A mentally ill prisoner was killed. That’s the worst of it. But there are also six police officers who are now tormented with regret and shame – because they were not well enough prepared to keep their wits about them while under pressure.