Sardonic Sistah Says

Observations… Ruminations… Ponderances… & Rants from Another Perspective

NAM Debunks the BART Mistaken Gun for Taser Defense

with 4 comments

It seems as if BART officials are floating the idea to the public that the police officer might have mistaken his gun for a taser.  A New American Media/San Franciso Bay View article gives a list that tears apart that excuse.

Why is the Taser excuse absurd?
1. The manual states that the Taser X26 weighs 7 ounces. Depending on model and bullets loaded, a Glock pistol can weigh from 25-38 ounces. You don’t have to be a weapons expert to feel the difference between holding about two pounds and holding less than half a pound – try it.

2. Police pistols are all black, sometimes with a very dark brown grip. The X26 has bright yellow markings on it. It also has a 2-digit LED display.

3. The X26 has a safety on the grip that must be released. The Glock safety is on the trigger.

So let’s review the minimum steps of a Taser deployment:

1. You pull out the lightweight, brightly colored weapon. You load the cartridge onto the tip of the barrel. The cartridge is fat and rectangular, looking nothing like a pistol barrel.

2. You reach on the grip and flip the safety up. The LED display lights up like half of your digital alarm clock, then shows the percentage charge.

3. Police are taught NEVER to use Tasers in life-threatening situations (ensuring that the “Tasers save lives” mantra remains a fairy tale). So, since that eliminates the “split-second judgment” defense, every Taser policy I’ve seen requires a warning before firing, to give the victim the opportunity to comply. Police like to report that merely pointing the Taser and issuing the warning is often sufficient.

To accept that the killer went through these steps without realizing he actually had in his hands a heavy, dark pistol – with no LED display and no cartridge loaded or to be loaded – requires the kind of suspension of belief we’ve not been asked to make since “Plan 9 from Outer Space” hit the screens.

For more on this article please click here.


Written by rentec

8 January, 2009 at 5:26 pm

Posted in news

Tagged with ,

4 Responses

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  1. Why is this listed as S.F. when it is Oakland and has nothing to do with S.F. ?


    8 January, 2009 at 6:07 pm

  2. Hi Zen. The mistake was mine. I erroneously attributed the OTR statement to someone in SF when really it was someone who worked for BART (which is their own separate entity). Thanks for pointing it out for me; there’s any misinformation on the web and I don’t want to contribute to it.

    It was the San Francisco Chronicle that is “amplifying” the idea of gun mistaken for taser:

    “Don Cameron, a former BART police sergeant and weapons expert who now teaches police officers about proper use of force, said Monday that he had watched footage of Grant’s death and was convinced that the officer had meant to fire a Taser … Cameron said he made his conclusion based in part on the officer’s stance, and the fact that a second officer moved away from Grant just before he was shot, perhaps trying to avoid a second-hand shock.”

    Hence the SF connection.

    Because of past problems my city (the Natti) also has strained police/black community issues. Many here are watching this play out in hopes that more focus is put on the overpolicing of African American communities.


    8 January, 2009 at 7:44 pm

  3. I wouldn’t say that debunks it. It’s happened before..

    Deputy who shot gun, not Taser, gets mixed ruling from 4th U.S.


    9 January, 2009 at 1:26 am

  4. It has happened multiple times. In a 30 second google search I found three different examples of this in years past.

    I know some police departments require the TASER be worn on the opposite side of the gun for this reason alone. This seems like a training and policy issue that should be addressed by all departments.


    18 January, 2009 at 3:24 am

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