Only two Ohio lawmakers are calling for an investigation into a stunning report on jail guards using Tasers to torture inmates, Reuters reported. Guards have shown themselves unable to comply with official guidelines.
“Any time a stun gun is used inappropriately – particularly in the video, where it looks as though it is just used over and over and it’s more like a prod that people would use on animals – that is criminal in my opinion,” said Ohio state Sen. Charleta Tavares, a Columbus Democrat whose district houses one of the jails in the report.
After reviewing the Reuters report, United Nations human rights experts led the call for the prosecution of jail officials in four states for the “infliction of severe pain and suffering” from the use of Tasers on inmates. The news agency identified 104 cases of inmates who died after being shocked with Tasers while in custody at jails in Ohio, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Arkansas. In Ohio, Sergeant Mychal Turner, working at a Franklin County jail, was promoted to major despite video evidence of torture. He fired five times on a handcuffed inmate who wouldn’t sit down in one instance. Turner did the same thing to another inmate who was mentally ill. Officials send the message that they approve of torture by failing to discipline Tuner and his deputies, who clearly violated official guidelines for Taser use.
After viewing the videos, Tavares plans to urge the county’s prosecutor to investigate. Ohio state Rep. Kristin Boggs, another Democrat, is also calling for a criminal investigation. Why are only two voices demanding accountability?
Meanwhile, Santa Clara County, California has been debating whether to rearm jail guards with Tasers, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported. The county’s sheriff, Laurie Smith, wants to reintroduce the weapon, arguing that there’s a need for a “less lethal” option to subdue inmates. Officials did the responsible thing when they took away stun guns after a mentally ill inmate died from repeated Taser shocks while restrained.