Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Hearing Impaired Man Tasered In His Own Bathroom

The focus of this blog is autism but I have for some time expressed my concerns about the use of Tasers. One reason for my concern is that some people die after being Tasered. Another is that, despite the fact the very real danger faced by policer officers every day they are on duty, many Taser victims are stunned simply because they were "non-compliant" with verbal commands. In the Vancouver tragedy the gentleman who was non-compliant, (if he was, the video doesn't even clearly show non-compliance), did not understand English. Some autistic persons, with limited communication skills and behavioral deficits have also been Tasered. A recent episode involving a hearing impaired man in Wichita, Kansas again illustrates the tendency of police forces to Taser citizens for non-compliance.

KWCH reports that Donnell Williams, a hearing impaired gentleman in Wichita, Kansas had just gotten out of his bathtub and was wearing only a towel around his waist when he saw police pointing Tasers at him. Williams, getting out of the tub, was not wearing his hearing aid without which he is essentially deaf. The police were responding to a false shooting call and were allegedly worried for their own safety when the towel wearing man refused to obey their commands to show his hands. Williams said ""I ain't never been so scared, I kept going to my ear yelling that I was scared. I can't hear! I can't hear!"

The officers who Tasered the hearing impaired gentleman in his own bathroom have apparently apologized.


Walks With Coffee said...

Tasering is an admission that communication is not working... not that the shooting was justified. Empathy and sensitivity are clearly not involved.

FYI I was an industrial scientist / high-IT manager. In that capacity I ran into people with asperger's (not the same as autism). A high frequency of programmers typically are high functioning asperger's people. They can easily be misunderstood and themselves can be prone to misunderstandings. Sensitivity and empathy are needed... quick judgements are really really harmful.

Anonymous said...

okay so next time someone isn;t listening we tase them? Hello. Each and every decision should use a dash of common sense and a pinch of graciousness. I think tasers are a great way to protect, serve and be socially responsible. The key is being responsible not power hungry. It is a great method of non lethal self defense. My favorite tasers are at