Shock Video: Toledo Minister Beaten and Tasered After Alleged Joke to Security Guards

Rev. Al Poisson may be looking for some new material. The minister claims that he merely made a passing joke to a security guard when he was dragged out of a hospital, beaten, and tasered. Regardless of the catalyst, the video below has raised some serious questions on the level of force being used on this 66-year-old minister.

Rev. Al Poisson insists that, while visiting a man in the hospital, he made an innocent joke about the lack of a smile on a guard’s face. Security cameras then capture at least five officers whaling on the minister — though Poisson insists that some of the film has been cut out.

St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center insisted that “the response to the aggression was appropriate.” Yet, the original charges of assault against Poisson were thrown out of court.

He is now pursuing legal action in tort. This would include liability for the hospital through both direct and vicarious liability. Normally, violence by an employee is outside of the scope of employment. However, security officers are generally an exception, particularly when the hospital later endorses their actions.

For the pictures from CBS Early Show, click here.

For the full story, click here.

36 thoughts on “Shock Video: Toledo Minister Beaten and Tasered After Alleged Joke to Security Guards”

  1. Jill
    1, July 27, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    I’m not ignoring what you’re saying. I gave you my real answer. I think removing corrupt/sadistic people from positions of power is absolutely essential

    Of course thats essential, but your statement suggests an isolated approach. A case by case basis, to deal with a growing trend that is specific to a specific demograph in our society. Law enforcement.

    Of course your general statement of removing corrupt people from power is important, is not in question. But you don’t say how. And your statement assumes these are “isolated incidents”, which they’re not. Its a trend, driven on by a mindset created after 911.

    That mindset was vocalized right after 911, but now you seldom hear it outside of the police briefing room.

    That mindset’s name is “ZERO TOLERANCE”.

    This was the immediate order to all law enforcement agencies right after 911, from police, to security guards. Unprecedented cooperation between police and private security forces took place after 911, under the name of the Patriot Act, and under the guise to “keep us safe”.

    And this mindset, this standing unspoken in public order of “ZERO TOLERANCE” means they don’t care if its a pregnant mom breast feeding a one armed blind baby. If she LOOKS at them wrong, take her down.

    Thats the rule. Thats the mindset. And its name is ZERO TOLERANCE.

    You respond by calling for better training for cops, and apparently treating these as “isolated incidents”, which they’re not, and neither of those are answers or solutions.

    This is a growing trend that is wide spread across the country, and it deals with one group of people. Law enforcement.

    In public society, when a certain group becomes increasingly and repeatedly violent, law enforcement targets that group, and it often results in “special legislation”, either on the local or national level, such as in racketeering legislation, or legislation to curb gang violence.

    So why is it so foreign a notion to so many, that the idea of enacting a little legislation to deal with a new type of gang violence, one that comes with a badge and a department issues firearm might be the answer?

    You can suggest the safe offically sanctioned response to an assault on our people by an armed, national gang is training them to not beat, torture or kill the handicapped, but when you do, you’re just empowering them to do it more.

  2. bartlebee,

    I’m not ignoring what you’re saying. I gave you my real answer. I think removing corrupt/sadistic people from positions of power is absolutely essential to a good, or even functioning society. It is one of the reasons I believe cheney and bush should be impeached immediately.

    I certainly agree that Aristotle and the Greek philosophers have much to answer for. They were brutal, sexist and they owned slaves (just for starters). Despite this I still agree with Aristotle on this particular point.

    So, I just don’t know what else to say. I tried to explain why I believe training works and I don’t know how to explain that better.


  3. Adults who need to be trained that beating up and shooting helpless people, especially that need to be trained to not beat up and shoot elderly and handicapped people, do not belong policing our streets.

  4. Everytime some reasonable, intelligent citizen responds to this type of police brutality, with suggestions for “more training” and “better pay”, they are doing nothing more than empowering the police to continue in their abuse.

    Police see this reaction from the people, and they QUOTE it, when trying to excuse horrific behavior in their departments. They say “oh the good folks know we’re good”, and “good people have nothing to fear from us”.

    Its crap.

    Its all crap.

    You could pull statistics from here to kingdom come, but the fact is, anyone needing to be “TRAINED” that beating and electrocuting a 16 year old boy with a broken back, just might be a “bad thing”, doesn’t need or deserve any further training except that which he will no doubt receive in our prison system.

    If one of us, a citizen, were to beat and taser an elderly MINISTER, you would not be here suggesting we give our people some better training on how to not beat up old men.

    You’d be calling for this guy to go to jail, and anyone else like him thinking about brutally assaulting a helpless senior citizen.

    As well you should.

    Problem is, when the police do it, you have been trained, like so many of us, to respond with enabling statements like “better training will help them”, and “they’re jobs are so hard”, or this oldie, but goodie, “its just a few bad apples”,.

    Of course the truth is, its not just a “few bad apples”, but its a mindset. A social disease so to speak. Where everyone is subdued by the police, and repeats the “safe words” we’ve been taught when responding to crimes in plain sight.

    I know you won’t like me saying you’ve been trained to respond that way, but the truth is, most of us have been, particularly since 911. The police are no longer our friends, but our taskmasters.

    And if you think I’m wrong, just try taking a non violent, but defiant position on anything with a cop, any cop, anywhere, right now, and see what happens.

    Try arguing over a speeding ticket, like my parents or myself for that matter did back in the day. Try refusing a search. Try just looking the wrong way at one, at the airport, or in the metro in DC, or New York. Don’t do anything, just look at them smugly, and when they say whats you’re problem, tell them you don’t like cops. Give it a try, and see what happens.


    I’ll look for the thread in here on “Police Beat and Taser blogger Jill”, so I can comment to you. Assuming you can still type.

  5. Well, you make a strong argument. I liked the reference to Aristotle, only however, in that Aristotle was one reason for the supression of knowledge for centuries. His confused model of the universe was the cause for the adoption of the Ptolmeic model of the solar system, as indeed it inspired Ptolemy to ignore the lessons of Aristarchus, and adopt a geocentric model of the universe. In his model, he was forced to create haphazard staggered loops for the planetary orbits in order to make it work, however, since it did work, and due to an overzealous loyalty to Aristotle, his model became the standard in his “phases of the fixed stars” (and weather changes). Anyway thats a long story for short journey to say I don’t think Aristotle is the best example for truth finding.

    As for your statement, “Until we do decide to create a society that values these type of people they will be a minority” thats precisely what I’m suggesting, that is, empowering society to have the ability to decide for itself what standard of oppression they’re willing to tolerate, by giving power back into the hands of the community when it comes to discipline for corrupt and abusive law enforcement.

    Allowing law enforcement to discipline itself should not be a difficult concept for anyone to reject. It should be an obvious pitfall to be avoided, yet everyday people in blogs just like this one encourage it.

    I am not making a difficult or impossible suggestion here. I am merely suggesting that congress enact legislation authorizing coummities to assemble, vote and remove corrupt and abusive officers within their boundaries.

    It would immediatley reduce the level of police violence against the people, and do it in a way that is fair, equitable and balanced for all concerned.

    And as for your reiteration to training?

    I think training and leadership do make a real difference. Facts on the ground back me up on this

    I ask you again, what type of man or woman, needs to be “trained” that assaulting a pregnant mother by pumping 50,000 volts of electricity into her body, and the body of her unborn baby, is wrong?

    What type of training do you suggest we as a society should employ in response to a group of heavily armed men, beating and kicking and torturing with a taser a SIXTY SIX YEAR OLD MINISTER?

    What type of “training” is required for an adult to know that shooting a 45 year old mother in the chest several times because she waves a CROCHET NEEDLE at them, is a bad thing?

    I submit we have such training, and its called PRISON. And where we put all of our members of society who do not understand those things are wrong.


    All except for our law enforcement officials, that is.

  6. Bartlebee,

    These men are engaging in criminal acts and they should be treated as such (always remembering that people are innocent until proven guilty and have a right to representation). I believe strongly in the rule of law, and I include in this, people who have committed heinous crimes (ie: even cheney).

    I think training and leadership do make a real difference. Facts on the ground back me up on this. First let me say I do believe there are true sadists in this world, right now, they run our govt. A sadist cannot be trained out of it.

    There are other people who will either commit or allow sadistic action. These people are weak and/or terrified. With proper training and with leadership who neither tolerates or engages in sadism, they will not coimmit crimes.

    A very small group of people in our society will not follow a crowd or sadistic leadership no matter what it costs them; their carrer, friendships or their life. You would need a much better society than ours to nuture these types of people. Until we do decide to create a society that values these type of people they will be a minority.

    Aristotle believed that a good life could be achieved by doing good acts, even if those actions are not coming out of a well defined sense of “the good”. Simply by acting as a good person, one would come to recognize this as a good way to live, a good way to be. I believe Aristotle is correct. So that’s basically my thinking on this issue.


  7. Let me put it this way Jill.

    How exactly does one “train” someone to not brutally beat and torture a helpless prisoner?

    What lessons could be employed to teach a fully grown adult that its not ok to kick the head in of a helpless senior citizen, if he hasn’t already learned that lesson?

    And would you honestly be comfortable giving badges of authority and guns, to men who need to be “trained” that its not ok to beat and taser pregnent woman?


    Think about it Jill. You’re easily one of the most detail oriented and reflective bloggers in here.

    So think about the logic, of giving men guns and badges and putting them in charge of us, who need to be “TAUGHT” that electrocuting a blind woman, or beating up a 66 year old minister, is wrong.

    If these fully grown adults need to be “taught” or “trained” that those things are wrong, then I submit they don’t belong wearing badges and carrying guns.

    Or walking around unescorted in public for that matter.

  8. Communities policing themselves, like the founding fathers envisioned it, is the answer.

    When a bunch of criminals in uniform beat down and taser an old man, or a boy with a broken back, the community would immediately call a hearing, and hold a vote to remove or otherwise discipline the involved officers.

    When those cops, are handed their final paychecks, and shown to the door when they commit such acts, the other cops will realize that the time of oppressive dominance over the good citizens of this country, has come to an end, and either they will need to quickly discover whatever remains of their own humanity, or start updating their resumes.

  9. No problem Jill, and sorry for not including your first comment in my comments. I know you get it, and I agree we need to take action.

    Better pay and training however I think while a good idea for NEW officers, what those ideas usually translate into real world action is just more money and training classes for the guys already committing the crimes.

    The ideas of better training and pay is what the cops want our reactions to their brutality to be. But if we really want to stop it, the only way is to demand sweeping legislation empowering communties across the country to “police their own police”.

    Once communities can vote out bad cops and even security officers when they commit crimes like this one against their own citizens, then we’ll see change.

  10. Bartlebee,

    I do not excuse this behavior. In my first post I was very clear about that fact. My second post was about how do we deal with this issue so it doesn’t keep happening. This is wrong, and as I said earlier, appalling. I’m sorry if I was confusing.


  11. The truth here is these guys were not “risking danger”, nor are they in their daily jobs.

    They’re security guards IN A HOSPITAL.


    They’re not walking a beat south of Comptom.

    Hospitals are not known for their constant danger from violent criminals.

    They are places “sick” people go.

    And they are places where kind people go, to visit the sick.

    Like this man of the cloth, who said something these criminals with badges didn’t like. So they beat him mercilessly, and electrocuted him to torture him, as they had nothing else going on that day.

    When we stop kowtowing to the police and security in this country, and start speaking up and calling it what it is, i.e. “criminal assault and battery”, and quite often murder, then it might stop.

    But as long as our responses to this stuff is to talk about how “hard these poor police have it”, then nothing is going to change.

  12. Jill, while no one would argue that the pay for security officers is low, as is the level of training, its not an excuse.

    Each time we respond to this kind of absolutely intolerable brutality, with statements about how the poor security officers are facing dangerous work, or are underpaid and undertrained, we’re just asking for more of the same.

    Notice your answers when a citizen commits similar acts of brutality, beating up an old woman, or injuring some other form of helpless person.


    Thats what we say when one of US does something bad.

    But when the police, or security officers beat and taser a SIXTY SIX YEAR OLD MINSITER, we say things like lets give them more pay, or ‘poor guys, facing danger is hard, lets train them better’.

    Until we start treating them with the same standards we hold ourselves accountable to, then nothing will change.

    When we respond to ignorant brutality with talk of increasing the culprits pay, or giving them training, we’re just making excuses for violent, CRIMINAL behavior that we would not tolerate out of ourselves.

    We’re basically just saying to the cops, and security personnel, “go ahead, beat us, taser us, and we’ll just make excuses for your actions”.

    When good, intelligent people like you, start showing outrage at the outrageous, then we’ll make a dent in stopping the police war on the citizens of this country.

    But not until.

  13. I may be able to find out pay and benefits for these security officers. I’m willing to bet the answer is, low and no. Being a police or security officer is obviously a difficult job. It should require a great deal of pre-screening, training, continuing ed and excellent leadership. These people should be well paid with plenty of time off to get their shit together because this can be pretty ugly work. Until this happens I don’t think private security should have tasers or lethal weapons.

    It is obvious that tasers do need to be replaced with other methods in our police and security force.

  14. The problem is all the “enablers” more than it is the cops. It’s all the politically correct, socially passive sheep, who want to continue to give the police the “benefit” of the doubt.

    Even when there is no doubt.

    When people like this, who make up the bulk of our educated and professional population, continue to make excuses for this sort of behavior wake up and start speaking up, then maybe we can make a dent.

    But until that happens, we can all plan on meeting here in a day or so, to discuss yet ANOTHER disgusting story of our police force acting like they’re the gestapo, and we’re the Jews.

  15. roycommi
    1, July 27, 2008 at 11:43 am

    I sometimes think we oughta treat the majority of law enforcement like the cops in Britain, take away everything but their batons

    Amen. Course, first we’d have to take the guns away from everyone else, or it’d be kind of lopsided, lol.

  16. roycommi
    1, July 27, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Gee, another day another out of control authority person with a taser goes crazy.

    You can say that again. We no sooner get finished discussing how police taser a blind women, then we’re back the next day talking about how another group of cops have tasered a kid with a broken back lying on the ground 19 times, then here we are again, the next day looking at how a bunch of security guards beat and taser a 66 year old MINISTER, visiting someone in the hospital!

    I mean come on…..does anyone want to keep on arguing with me that this has NOT reached epidemic proportions?



    Anyone at all…..



  17. Jill,
    I agree that the response by the security personnel was extreme, to say the least. I think something has to be done asap about these tasers. They are more dangerous than advertised and are being used more often each day. Maybe roycommi’s suggestion about the night sticks might make more sense, but we give way too much power to these security guards when we give them dangerous weapons.

  18. Gee, another day another out of control out of control authority person with a taser goes crazy. I sometimes think we oughta treat the majority of law enforcement like the cops in Britain, take away everything but their batons. i mean srsly, just completely out of control.

  19. The hospital is claiming a very broad justification for use of the taser. I do not understand why Rev. Poisson was taken outside in the first place. Even if the security guard felt insulted, this is not a legal way to respond to a verbal insult. A professional would just let the man pass and tell himself and his friends about the ass-hole that came to the hospital today. If he really felt “disrespected” he could tell the hopt. administration to barr Rev. Poisson from the hospital if he keeps making “abusive” remarks. In other words, a whole lot of legal and sane options were not taken.

    I’ll say something else about Toledo. If you go to see the film: “Standard Operating Proceedure”, you get your picture taken in the theater, free with the price of admission. I find that scary. I find what happened to Rev. Poisson appalling.

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