Thursday, December 04, 2008

Los Altos finally Tases a dude

The back of Sgt. Scott McCrossin's trading card hopefully already credits him for hosting the most boring ridealong in the history of journalism, as well for convincing a judge that it was perfectly reasonable of him to pull a guy over for hanging an air freshener from his rearview mirror.

His stats just got even gaudier. On October 30, he became the first Los Altos police officer to use a Taser on a suspect.

By comparison, Mountain View police have had Tasers about twice as long (four-plus years compared to two in Los Altos) and used them 34 times. (I covered the the first nine of those times in one of my favorite stories ever.)

The circumstances of Los Altos getting onto the scoreboard are a little ironic:

Los Altos Police responded to a single-vehicle crash at El Monte Avenue and El Camino Real at approximately 1 p.m. Oct. 30 and observed the driver grow “combative with a Mountain View police officer ...”

You might think that having Tased people 34 times, Mountain View police are pretty set as far as their Tasing needs go. Keep in mind, though, that Mountain View has more than 34 officers, so not all of them have had the pleasure of pumping electricity into a suspect's body. Still, I wonder what happened afterward. Did the MV officer get angry about McCrossin stealing his Tasee? Or did he shed a tear about how much Los Altos police officers are growing up? Maybe share a tip with McCrossin on the best grip to use when electrocuting a suspect?

I of course haven't bothered to try to find out the facts of the case, making it hard to judge from the story what "combative" means, and in turn exactly whether the use of the Taser was appropriate. Detective John Korges told the Town Crier that it was “definitely within policy, and definitely a prudent use of the Taser.” It seems this was good enough for the Town Crier, but a routine departmental investigation is reportedly underway anyway.

More on this, perhaps, after finals.

UPDATE: The Center for Investigative Reporting has been kicking Taser's ass this week, mainly by letting company officials talk. National litigation counsel Michael Brave is quoted in California Lawyer maintaining that "Exercise is far more harmful to you." In this week's Columbia Journalism Review, Taser defends the claims it made to analysts and the SEC that it somehow has a right to review news stories about it before they are published.

2 comments:

Koland said...

When you're being Tazed it is important to be as hilarious as possible. This video may provide some guidance:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOAzXPgHk1E&feature=related

jocelyn said...

sigh.