Baptism Under Fire: Virginia Police Taser Grandfather and Mother At Baptism Party

taser gun bart officer-218-85150px-Child_baptism_with_waterPrince William County police are accused of abuse in the tasering of a grandfather and a mother at a baptismal party in Manassas. The party was being held at the home of Edgar A. Rodriguez, 55, when police responded to a call about loud music. The police say that Rodriguez was drunk and failed to turn down the music after repeated demands by the police. The police ended up tasering Rodriguez and then, when his daughter Leticia Elias, 25, ran to him, police tasered her as well. She is the pregnant mother of the baptized baby.

Police do not allege that Hernandez threatened them. They insist that they tasered him and Elias so that they could “successfully arrest” them.

The authorities are now holding Elias for possible deportation as a suspected illegal immigrant. Elias was charged with assault and battery of a police officer, obstruction of justice and resisting arrest. They charged Rodriguez( Bible study teacher) with resisting arrest and public drunkenness (in his own yard). There is a concern about these charges in light of past cases where police have thrown the book at individuals who might bring abuse charges (here). The facts do not show how Elias was resisting arrest since she was tasered running to her father and Rodriguez was reportedly tasered for failing to comply with orders. Moreover, public drunkenness on your own front yard is a highly questionable charge. We have also seen assault and battery charges brought against individuals for the slightest touching or even flatulence in their presence (here).

Elias is reportedly pregnant and the taserings occurred in front of a party filled with children.

Notably, both the police and family say that the grandfather was tasered three times in rapid succession.

Once again, there is a fear that police are now trained to use tasers too freely — almost as the weapon of first resort. There is a common and growing impression that citizens are being punished for not doing exactly what officers demand by being hit with 50,000 volts. (For a recent video of such a case, click here). There is little interest in Congress or state legislatures to investigate the use of these weapons and their real necessity. At one time, they were viewed as only appropriate for use against violent individuals. Now, they seem to be routine response to a failure to obey a command.

While the facts of the most recent controversy must be fully established, there is reason for concern given the uncontested facts in the police report. Moreover, given the presence of children and the purpose of the event, one would have hoped that police could have resolved the issue without the use of such force — particularly when they were called about a minor concern over loud music.

A tasering at a baptism, however, is not unique. We have seen the use of tasers at events like funerals, here.

For the story, click here and here.

15 thoughts on “Baptism Under Fire: Virginia Police Taser Grandfather and Mother At Baptism Party”

  1. All I see here are complaints. It could have been worse. What if the taser had been deployed while everyone was engaged in a “total immersion” baptism at the local river?

  2. Gary T
    “Just look at it in reverse, what if one of the baptismal guests thought that the police were being to rowdy, and tasered one of them for it. What would happen then?”

    A bullet in the head?

  3. They tazed them so that they could “successfully arrest” them… what? Apparently, the tazer has become a human cattle prod for the police.

    It’s now ok for a cop to taze you or beat you simply because he doesn’t like your personality. Public drunkeness in your own front yard? What’s next, public indecency because you got naked in your own house? And tazing a pregnant woman? Wow. I guess she must have been one HUGE woman, since the cops apparently needed to taze her.

  4. GoCart:

    It seems to me that this is assault, since tasering for even the alleged acts (or nonacts) the police proffer is not reason enough to do so. Getting tasered is comparable to being assaulted with a billyclub.

    So yes, I think the victims could stand to make some money here.

    Just look at it in reverse, what if one of the baptismal guests thought that the police were being to rowdy, and tasered one of them for it. What would happen then?

  5. No laws broken here. The people were minorities and therefore not entitled to the same respect as white americans.

  6. Of course, the police did not act “stupidly”. They acted maliciously. The victims should sue for assault. Does anyone have any thoughts about the likelihood of success of such a suit?

  7. And the conservatives who claim to be for “less government” remain strangely silent.

  8. These stories of taser stupidity are becoming endless. Can’t wait to see the apologists posts on why it was justified and why the charges were needed other than to protect people’s asses.

  9. Are we allowed to say that the police “acted stupidly” or would that be too divisive?

  10. Public drunkenness, riiight… sounds like the police displayed some public retardedness with a touch of abuse of power and a pinch of fraudulent charges…

    They need a lesson in tolerance, not tasering… soon someone ‘s gonna have enough of it..

  11. Taser the Officers Testicles. Say that three times real fast and make your wish. Just don’t say it at the Rainbow Lounge in Ft Worth. Oops, its ok to say it there. Just not in the presence of the officers that are arresting you for Public Intoxication in a bar, yeah get that.

    Well I wonder if National Gay Pride Day had anything to do with the TABC and Ft Worth PD beating gay people at a gay bar? Just a coincidence, I am sure.

    Don’t know if anyone was arrested for ICE or INS purposes.

  12. Yeah.

    I’m wondering if this would have happened if the victims, er, um, excuse me, defendants had been white. Dr. Beeper and Judge Smales wouldn’t have gotten tased. I guarantee it. I’m not one to play the race card first as a general rule, but this doesn’t pass the smell test.

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