The police have killed another citizen using a Taser, this time on Interstate 85 at Mile Marker 55, about an hour from Atlanta. The two deputy sheriffs were white, and so was the victim, Chase Sherman (32). Mr. was traveling in a rental car with his parents and fiance en route to Destin, Florida. Sherman had been exhibiting bizarre behavior since he had ingested synthetic marijuana a few days earlier and bit his girlfriend and attempted to jump out of the vehicle. His family became concerned for his and their safety and called 911. The incident was captured on video and shows the deputies Tasering Sherman approximately 15 times after he was handcuffed inside the car. You can hear his mother begging the police to stop and later sobbing after Sherman was killed during the process.
The New York Times reported, “Mr. Sherman’s mother and his fiancé, Patti Galloway, watching from the front of the car, the deputy shot him several times with the Taser, and the second deputy punched him in the head.” “Mr. Sherman can be heard saying “O.K. I’m dead, I’m dead,” as he was shoved to the floor and wedged between the front and back seats. “I quit, I quit,” he yelled, the Times says. Shortly after that, he was dead.
COMMENT: The video clearly depicts the police using excessive force, and they should be prosecuted, or at a minimum, fired and banned from police work. Too many times we have learned that police use Tasers with unadulterated force and purpose having little if any training. Mr. Sherman was suffering from a severe panic attack and hallucinations likely induced by synthetic marijuana. The deputies used brute force from the moment of their arrival, and their aggressive posture and actions needlessly exasperated the situation: They apparently lacked the capacity and knowledge to deal competently with this medical emergency.
Although we think Tasers may have some value as a tool to address violent subjects, training is essential. The policies regarding the use of Tasers must be very strict, and there must be continuing education provided by a full-time staff consisting of experts trained in the utilization of the deadly weapon. We saw none of that in the video in this case.
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