Via Boing Boing here’s a video of police officers dealing with a naked man at the Coachella music festival. (Link only because the video contains nudity.) The man seems under the influence of something. There is also a large crowd surrounding them defending the naked man. The situation could descend into chaos. These are important caveats suggesting a quick, definitive resolution will be best. They begin with the most reasonable, least problematic solution by giving the man clothing. Only when it’s clear he will not cooperate, they escalate. They’re doing their job.
Once it becomes clear that some level of exertion will be necessary, however, the video shows that the cops opt instead for the Taser. The video demonstrates they chose the lazy route, and they use it – and other harsh techniques – before fully attempting to subdue the individual. At approximately the 2:30 mark, the police wrestle the man to the ground. He continues resisting. Some level of force is necessary and what they’re doing isn’t enough. Their actions become unacceptable at this point. Two officers struggle with him while another officer stands around holding the garment the man refused to wear. There is no obvious reason this officer should stand idly by. It’s clear the man will not voluntarily cover himself, and he’s involved in an active struggle. One of the two officers struggling with the man gets up and prepares his Taser. The previously idle officer now joins the struggle by pouncing on the man, driving his knee into him. Then, the previous officer tasers the man multiple times. They subdue and cover him.
I’m willing to assume they avoided wrestling with him as long as they did because the man was naked and not because they had an urge to ultimately rough him up. Neither is flattering to the police because dealing with this is their job, even if he’s naked. But it’s understandable. Yet, to avoid the physical effort required by their job once they’d committed to arresting the man, they used unnecessary force (repeatedly). And, although they did not trigger crowd involvement beyond words, they pushed the situation closer to what they tried to avoid in the beginning than they should have. This is an example where police used the Taser as an alternative to effort rather than as an alternative to deadly force. They wouldn’t shoot the man for not cooperating. They shouldn’t have tasered him.