Friday, April 24, 2009

Hobson’s Choice: a fatal handgun or a fatal taser?

On Friday 24th April 2009 "The Afrospear" and "Electronic villiage" are setting aside a day for bloggers all over the world to stand up against the use of tasers, otherwise referred to by the NYPD as “Conducted Energy Devices (CED’s). To participate in this Day of Blogging for Justice: Standing Up Against the Police Pre-Trial Electrocution simply:

1. Post a blog about outlining your concerns and views on the tasering of black people.
2. Send an e-mail to to allow a record of participation to be created.

(Go to for more information) is strongly against the use of tasers following the shocking information revealed by the New York Civil Liberties Union . The NYCLU highlight the fact that NYPD appear to be increasing the use of tasers without conducting any kind of research of public opinion. The Rand Report , which was supposed to be aimed at evaluating the racial disparities in NYPD practices, following the fatal shooting of Sean Bell, a 23-year old black man who was killed on his wedding day by undercover and plain clothes officers, has instead focused on supporting the increased use of tasers as a replacement for handguns. The use of these weapons has been linked to hundreds of serious injuries and fatalities. Thus the question remains, does it make sense to replace one deadly weapon with another?

Last year in New York police fatally shot a Mr. Morales, who was a 35 year old man suffering from mental illness. The police were in fact responding to a call by Mr. Morales’ mother, who had resorted to calling the NYPD after her son had stopped taking his medication. This had resulted in him standing on a mental box that was on top of a store’s security gate, naked, screaming incoherently with an 8 foot luminescent light bulb in his grasp.

Lt. Michael Pigott had issued the order to shoot Mr. Morales, despite this being a clear violation of guidelines stating that 'when possible, the CED (Taser) should not be used... in situations where the subject may fall from an elevated surface." Subsequently Mr. Morales fatally fell head first onto the pavement below. This was captured on camera by an onlooker. Sadly the officer committed suicide soon after the incident occurred.Just months before this tragedy Alexander Lombard 3rd, the son of an NYPD veteran and a young black teen, was tasered 4 times, hit 15 times with a nightstick and put in a choke hold by an NYPD officer.

Lombard suffered serious injuries as a result of this excessive use of conduct by an officer, who arrived at a “community sponsored” barbeque in Harlem.No charges were filed against Mr. Lombard indicating that he was neither resisting arrest nor carrying a weapon. The use of the taser against this young black man can only be described as excessive and unnesscessary.

Last year the NYPD had approximately 500 tasers in use which were assigned to supervisory staff and trained Emergency Service Unit officers. However The Rand report and the NYPD are recommending that the use of these weapons is increased. The problems associated with this increase are numerous and extremely serious. Firstly, it appears the police are failing to recognize how dangerous these weapons are, as there is a risk that officers will see them as a less dangerous weapon than a handgun, when in reality both are capable of taking a life. Secondly, the racial bias in policing has yet to be properly acknowledged let alone confronted and eliminated, until the issue is resolved the chances of tasers being used disproportionately on black people is steadily increasing.

The question remains does it make sense to replace one fatal weapon with another? As we all know London just loves to copy the latest NY trends...... so i suggest you guys take this seriously too.............. you could be the next one to fall prey to this, sometimes fatal, new trend!


  1. Thank you for supporting this Day of Blogging for Justice effort. Do you know who Hobson was ... and what his/her choice was in the first place?

    I didn't know about some of the NY-based cases you shared in your post. Have you signed the online petition asking for congressional hearings?

    I invite your blog readers to see what I had to say about taser torture in America.

    peace, Villager

  2. Hi,
    Your welcome, i'm always happy to support a good cause.

    The phrase Hobson's Choice is supposed to have came form a man called Thomas Hobson (1544–1630), a livery stable owner in Cambridge, England. "To rotate the use of his horses he offered customers the choice of either taking the horse in the stall nearest the door or taking none at all." Wikipedia is fab!

    I would like to sign the petition please forward the link if possible.

    Take Care
    Cherie Amour

  3. Insightful Post! Wonderful and powerful!

    I hope your readers understand we are not against police, but rather against police brutality and abuse of tasers. Your post is on point.

    Great post!



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