In Florida, a deputy needed just nine words to justify firing his Taser stun gun at a 15-year-old girl: “Subject was given several commands, but did not comply.” That was enough for six Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office supervisors to unanimously approve knocking a 115-pound girl to the ground with a paralyzing 50,000-volt electric shock, reports the Palm Beach Post in a package of stories about the use of Tasers since 2001.
The paper found that one of every four suspects shocked with Tasers was unarmed, nonviolent and not posing an apparent immediate threat. Officers have fired at 35 people 16 and younger, including a 13-year-old girl, and seven people 61 or older, including an 86-year-old man. Three women claiming to be pregnant were shocked. Tasers were fired at more than 425 suspects who were being arrested on misdemeanor charges. Officers used Tasers to stop people who ran, people who were verbally threatening, people who refused to put their hands behind their backs. They used Tasers on handcuffed people who refused to put their feet in police cars.