Can You Hear Me Now? Police Officer Tasers High School Student In Dispute Over Use of Cellphone

180px-m26_taserA police officer assigned to a Penn Hills, Pennsylvania high school tasered a student who allegeldy refused to end his conversation on a cell phone and then pushed away the officer’s arm.

Students are allowed to use cell phones but only for emergencies during school hours. It is not clear if the officer then allowed the student to his cell phone for an emergency call after being tasered.

Chief Howard Burton sees the use of a taser as perfectly appropriate in such a situation: “The kid refused to listen. The officer took him by the arm and said, ‘You have to go to the office.’ The student resisted, pushed the officer. The officer, defending himself, took out his stun gun and did a drive stun.” Burton’s reaction to the tasering reflects the increasingly reflective use of the weapon in a wide variety of circumstances where force might have been avoided. It seems to fall into the old military adage that, when you only have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Where an officer might have grabbed hold of the student or issued another warning in prior years, the availability of the taser allows for this type of escalation of force. While we should know more facts about the level of resistance (and whether it was simply a case of the student pulling or swatting back the officer’s hand) the use of the device in the school over such a minor matter is troubling. It is also curious to see an officer policing the halls for such school violations as use of a cellphone as opposed to focusing on security issues.

We have seen a regular array of such taser cases in questionable circumstances recently, here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.

In fairness to the officers, another officer found a loaded gun in the bag of another student that day (though the authorities indicated that the eleven-year-old girl might not have known that it was in the bag).

Burton says that the student continued to resist on the floor and had to be handcuffed. The student complained of dizziness following the tasering and was sent to a hospital.

For the full story, click here and here.

43 thoughts on “Can You Hear Me Now? Police Officer Tasers High School Student In Dispute Over Use of Cellphone”

  1. Mespo you shared a few tidbits from Jonah Goldberg’s book… but his real claim to fame is via his mother, Lucianne Goldberg, who advised Linda Tripp to tape conversations with Monica Lewinsky and advised them both to save the dress.

    Now there is something to be really proud of.

  2. J Gloss wites: That is just one example of many showing how the Nazi party was a blend of both ideologies much like your Democrat party and I could show you a hundred more and it wouldn’t make a difference. You will reject any facts I give you because it threatens your sacred religion of Liberalism of which you are a blind follower.

    me: my sacred religion of liberalism? what is that supposed to mean and why does it sound like you are insulting me because I pointed out that the Nazi party was fascist and not socialist. The Nazis rounded up socialists and communists along with educators and scientists, musicians, intellectuals and artists and sent them to Dachau long before they thought of building death camps. this was because of the fascist ideology which may have made the trains run on time but also brought much misery. So far what misery have liberals caused you?

    You: As long as you think you got it all figured out I guess that’s all that matters….. I’ll let you in on a little secret though-
    Your not as smart as you think.

    Me: I have a few things figured out, for instance, I know that this internet machine gives me access to the divine connection with people who are like minded as well as with those whose ideas are anathema to me. I celebrate this because I am essentially a curious person and when I read reasoned opinion from those capable of learning it brings a bit of joy to the dark corners of my world.
    I don’t know how smart I am, maybe smarter than some, certainly not as smart as others but that’s not how I want to be judged at the end of the day. I value intelligence as well as kindness, ability as well as creativity, strength of character, affection for others and myriad other human capabilities. I’ve stomped the terra long enough to know that life as meant to be enjoyed, people were meant to love and learn and the rest we can just make up as we go.

  3. J Gloss:

    “Your not as smart as you think.”

    ***********

    Taking the liberty of speaking for GWLawSchoolMom just this one time as well as for me, you are as smart as we think you are.

  4. J Gloss:

    “You will reject any facts I give you because it threatens your sacred religion of Liberalism of which you are a blind follower.”
    ********

    As I continually point out to your equally obtuse friends on the fascist side of the aisle, you have not stated facts, you have stated opinion. The “facts” are those tiny tortured things found in the book you cite (but of course do not summarize for us) that are manipulated. Here’s a little passage I found from your favorite political prognosticator that tells me all I need to know about him and his fan club types like you:

    “Let’s make a bet. I predict that Iraq won’t have a civil war, that it will have a viable constitution, and that a majority of Iraqis and Americans will, in two years time, agree that the war was worth it. I’ll bet $1,000 (which I can hardly spare right now).” (Jonah Goldberg Feb. 2005)

    Oh and here’s another beauty from that deep thinker:

    “In the weeks prior to the war to liberate Afghanistan, a good friend of mine would ask me almost every day, “Why aren’t we killing people yet?” And I never had a good answer for him. Because one of the most important and vital things the United States could do after 9/11 was to kill people. Call it a “forceful response,” “decisive action” — whatever. Those are all nice euphemisms for killing people. And the world is a better place because America saw the necessity of putting steel beneath the velvet of those euphemisms.”

    Wonder how he writes with his knuckles hitting the ground every time he walks? I do now see why you didn’t quote that trash you mentioned.

  5. GWLawSchoolMoM,

    That is just one example of many showing how the Nazi party was a blend of both ideologies much like your Democrat party and I could show you a hundred more and it wouldn’t make a difference. You will reject any facts I give you because it threatens your sacred religion of Liberalism of which you are a blind follower.

    As long as you think you got it all figured out I guess that’s all that matters….. I’ll let you in on a little secret though-
    Your not as smart as you think.

  6. J Gloss wrote: Read Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg and maybe you just might get educated.

    that’s all you’ve got? seriously?

  7. Read Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg and maybe you just might get educated.

  8. JGloss
    you wrote: You need to go back to school

    we can play this game of I’m right and you are wrong and at the end of the day I will still be right. socialism and fascism are not the same thing.
    don’t you have a dictionary or access to some online encyclopedia? it’ll take you less time to look it up yourself than to argue with me but like I said, if you want to insult me and others here who clearly have outmatched you then knock yourself out.

    talking to people like you is like talking to furniture.

  9. J Gloss writes: By the way the Nazi Party was socialist and fascist just like your messiah Obama and the majority of your Democrat party.
    I’M RIGHT AND YOU’RE WRONG!

    me: may I refer you back to 8th grade social studies? socialists and fascists exist at opposite ends of the political spectrum. one cannot be socialist and fascist at the same time.
    if it makes you feel better to shout “I’m right and you’re wrong” then go ahead. knock yourself out. the rest of us are getting a good laugh.

  10. Mr Spindell,

    You crack me up! You pride yourself as an intellectual and some kind of expert of history and the constitution taking hand picked bits and pieces from both which bring you to your ill conceived illogical conclusions that in your mind support your socialist ideology.

    A true intellectual comes to his conclusions from a compilation of tried and true facts and scientific truths that cannot be rebuked.

    If you are the intellectual you think you are how do you defend your socialist ideology that has failed every time it has been implemented as a government? You can’t! How do you reconcile your distrust for authority that you so profoundly proclaim with an ideology that takes away all your rights and freedoms that you now enjoy? (not mentioning the fact that every bit of it goes against the constitution) You can’t! Not if you are truly intellectually honest. And here in lies the real truth –

    You are not intellectually honest which means you are nothing more than a pseudo intellectual. Just another pompous left wing imbecile so blinded by your religion Liberalism that you will never see the truth even if it jumped up and bit you in your socialist dumb ass.

    I will not waste anymore time trying to debate back and forth with you. You can never win an argument with crazy and you my friend are insane, not to mention retarded.

    By the way the Nazi Party was socialist and fascist just like your messiah Obama and the majority of your Democrat party.
    I’M RIGHT AND YOU’RE WRONG!

  11. Mike,
    At what point does the person who was talking on the phone hold responsibility for breaking the rules? The officer told kid to go to the office, the kid refused and pushed the officer. The officer didn’t make the rules, but was asked to enforce them.

  12. “Attempting to false label someone by calling them a Nazi is a cheap and dishonest way for a liberal to try to win an argument but none the less your type has to resort to this tactic every time because you base everything on emotion and false premise and have no real substance or logic to your argument.”

    J.Gloss,
    No substance as in?:

    “I think this is one rare instance where a student actually learned something in a public school and a good life lesson at that. Do what a police officer tells you to do.”

    This is what you call full of substance? What happened really was you posted a stupid statement of little substance in two sentences and I did not try to respond to you in depth because you showed none. Your statement to “Do what a police officer tells you to do” can easily lead one to assume that you are a Nazi at heart because historically this is what people of a fascist bent believe. what this shows is that you have no understanding of the history of law enforcement in this country and why we have to control it via constitutional means. Want examples?:

    1. Wyatt Earp owned 80% of the whorehouses in Tombstone and was known to dispatch business rivals with bullets.

    2. The Johnson County Wars where Sheriffs and other gunmen were hired by Cattle Barons to murder people who had legal title to their land and wanted to farm.

    3. The Colorado Coal Miners Strike where J.D.Rockefeller hired Pinkertons, who were deputized and killed more than 130
    miners who were striking to form a union.

    4. The entire Chicago Police force which was paid off by Al Capone and required the intervention of Federal Agents to finally get him.

    5. The Los Angeles Police Department from the 20’s onward which hired southerners and racists as officers specifically to keep down the Mexicans and the Blacks.

    6. J.Edgar Hoover who used illegal wiretapping and other investigative methods to blackmail politicians and stay in power.

    I could literally go on all day with this history lesson, but it would be wasted on you because you’ve already shown you’re ignorant of history as shown below:

    “First of all the Nazi Party was socialist which puts them on your side of the political spectrum, the left wing.”

    The Nazi’s were not socialists, but used the term to confuse people. They were right wingers, supported by the major German Business interests and in America by Prescott Bush (GW’s grandpa) and the Dulles Brothers. they were fascists, which is a right wing philosophy as any history book would tell you, but then I guess when you have King Rush to guide you, who needs history.

    “Here lies the real problem. The lack of respect for authority, rules and the law(which make a civil society) being taught to our children by liberal educators within our public school system is churning out young adults that are narcissistic, self absorbed, selfish little brats that think the rules and laws are for everybody else and not for them.”

    There are speeches where Hitler made the same type of statement as did the other Nazi leaders. Actually your description would describe people like GW Bush,
    Dick Cheney and their entire administration who repeatedly showed lack of respect for law and pretty much committed treason. These are the people though that you admire and no doubt are ready to kiss the behinds of.

    You are a pretty sad case because in your ignorance of history and your ignorance of our Constitution, you believe that you are one of the good guys. The truth is you have shown in your words that you don’t have the faintest idea about what this country is about and slavishly follow some media types who make millions confusing you about the truth and are laughing at you behind your back. Try doing some honest research.

  13. J Gloss You wrote:

    Attempting to false label someone by calling them a Nazi is a cheap and dishonest way for a liberal to try to win an argument but none the less your type has to resort to this tactic every time because you base everything on emotion and false premise and have no real substance or logic to your argument.

    First of all the Nazi Party was socialist which puts them on your side of the political spectrum, the left wing. That being said lets try getting back to the original subject of the tasering –

    Me: while Mike can certainly speak for himself I won’t speak for him but since you put this in a public place you get what you get. My question to you is this: is there a special way liberals are supposed to argue a point as opposed to conservatives as you suggest?
    and the “your type” comment… does that not reek of bias on your part?
    perhaps you are unable to stretch past the emotion and false premise that you accuse Mike of displaying.

    as for what the Nazi party was and was not… do not allow yourself to be misled by the word “socialist” as in “national socialist” the nazi party was fascist not socialist. there is a difference and it is an important one. fascism exists on the far far right, the whole other side of the political/social/economic spectrum from socialism, which is more closely linked to communism which is on the far far left. see. left from right. it isnt that hard.

    that being said. you may resume your chatter about tasers. thank you.

  14. J Gloss,

    If you are an ill-trained and incompetent LEO, then I fully understand your ill-conceived “beliefs.”

    However, if you are not an LEO, then you are simply an uninformed, undereducated, and biased individual who does not understand the Bill of Rights.

  15. As posted by Mike Spindell –

    “Well a Zieg Heil to you. Police Officers work for the public, not the other way around although some like you don’t understand that.”

    Mr Spindell,

    Attempting to false label someone by calling them a Nazi is a cheap and dishonest way for a liberal to try to win an argument but none the less your type has to resort to this tactic every time because you base everything on emotion and false premise and have no real substance or logic to your argument.

    First of all the Nazi Party was socialist which puts them on your side of the political spectrum, the left wing. That being said lets try getting back to the original subject of the tasering –

    The situation would not have escalated to the point of tasering ( I’m sure there is more to the story than is being told) if the student would have respected the authority of the officer and not resisted and followed the rules in the first place and had not been talking on the phone.

    Here lies the real problem. The lack of respect for authority, rules and the law(which make a civil society) being taught to our children by liberal educators within our public school system is churning out young adults that are narcissistic, self absorbed, selfish little brats that think the rules and laws are for everybody else and not for them.That their instant gratification comes first over everyone else’s rights.

    These children are a disaster waiting to happen. For example they will resent taking orders from superiors in the workplace stifling their advancement or causing them to be terminated. They also make prime candidates for entering the criminal justice system.

    The officer who tased that student might just have saved that student’s life in the future out in the real world in the street where if he might find himself in a traffic stop where now he will think twice before pulling some stupid stunt that could result in a criminal record or even worse a bullet to the head.

  16. No, not right.

    People should not be tazered for non-crimes, nor should they be tazered for refusing to cooperate with acts that could be used to incriminate them.

    Students are forced by law to attend schools, by virtue of that compulsion they should not be forced to submit to rules that lessen the civil rights they would have had if they were able to choose not to be there.

    If a police officer told me to do something I believe to be unlawful, and I resist, there should be no viable criminal charge based upon my non-compliance.

  17. Another day, another taser story:

    “Is it OK to use a Taser to shock a criminal suspect into giving a DNA sample?

    Yes, says Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza, as long as the police don’t overdo it.

    In a 16-page ruling released Wednesday, Sperrazza said the Niagara Falls police did nothing wrong Sept, 29 in using the 50,000-volt electronic stun gun on Ryan S. Smith, 21, who didn’t want to open his mouth for a buccal swab, a glorified Q-Tip, to be used to rub some cells off the inside of his cheek for a DNA sample.”

    http://blogs.buffalonews.com/niagara_views/2009/06/taser-ruling-shocks-defense-lawyer.html

    and …

    “It is legally permissible for police to zap a suspect with a Taser to obtain a DNA sample, as long as it’s not done ‘maliciously, or to an excessive extent, or with resulting injury,’ a county judge has ruled in the first case of its kind in New York State, and possibly the nation. … “

  18. Adam C:

    “. No matter what, if you are being detained/arrested, and you decide to resist and/or assult the officer, you are now a criminal. Resisting is still resisting even if you are innocent of the original crime. Don’t do it. You can’t win on the street, you have to win in court!”

    ****************

    “It has long been held in Virginia that where an officer attempts an unlawful arrest, the officer is an aggressor which gives the arrestee the right to use self-defense to resist so long as the force used is reasonable. See id. at 69, 396 S.E.2d at 856; see also Annotation, Modern Status of Rules as to Right to Forcefully Resist Illegal Arrest, 44 A.L.R. 3d 1078 (1972). “[T]he amount of force used [always] must be reasonable in relation to the harm threatened.” Diffendal v. Commonwealth, 8 Va. App. 417, 421, 382 S.E.2d 24, 26 (1989).”

    Hopefully you are not planning on practicing law in Virginia or the dozen or so other states that still adhere to that quaint democratic notion that a person retains dignity even in the face of state power and need not obsequiously submit to the unlawful actions of an ostensible officer of the law. Call it Southern pride. You would have made a fine member of the Vichy government.

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