We’re all in for a shock
Daniel Sylvester can’t forget the night the police fired 50,000 volts of electricity into his skull. The 46-year-old grandfather owns his own security business, and he was recently walking down the street when a police van screeched up to him.
He didn’t know what they wanted, but obeyed when they told him to approach slowly. “I then had this incredible jolt of pain on the back of my head,” he explains. The electricity made him spasm; as he fell to the ground, he felt his teeth scatter on the tarmac and his bowels open. “Then they shot me again in the head. I can’t describe the pain.” (Another victim says it is “like someone reached into my body to rip my muscles apart with a fork.”) The police then saw he was not the person they were looking for, said he was free to go, and drove off.
This did not happen in Egypt or Saudi Arabia or any other country notorious for using electro-shock weapons. It happened in north London and, if the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, has her way, it will be coming soon to a street near you.
Of course there is an ongoing inquiry by the IPCC and Met Professional Standards Directorate…
This is really important:
Far from lowering violence, Tasers seem to lower the threshold that by which the police resort to violence …
Or, in Sylvester’s case, no violence at all (allegedly).
Anyone remember Nicholas Gaubert? Quite what the threat was that he posed that could be obviated by a Taser, I really don’t know…
And, as Henry Porter asks, when was the debate?