Tag Archives: taser

Denver Sheriff Case Study – Taser Use Against the Mentally Ill

Should the Denver Sheriff use a Taser on an individual who is inflicting harm to him/herself?

It increasingly appears the Denver Sheriff at least tolerates the practice if there is a physical violation jeopardizing the lawful order.1 See e.g. St. Germain v. Denver Department of Safety, Car. Serv. Bd. Appeal No. 24-14, available at: www.denvergov.org/portals/671/documents/hearings/st._germain_ned_24-14_decision.pdf (last accessed Dec. 4, 2014); or see the document in its entirety below.   The Denver Post is doing great research into this subject, and is finding more and more evidence that Sheriff Deputies are using Tasers more as weapon to attack, rather than defend.2 Noelle Phillips, Denver Sheriff Sargent Suspended for Stunning Mentally Ill Inmate, Denver Post, Dec. 10, 2014, available at: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_27108405/denver-sheriffs-sergeant-suspended-stunning-mentally-ill-inmate.

Judging from the Taser reports, made available through a public records request, the Denver Sheriff does not discern when an inmate is only a threat to himself, versus an inmate who is a threat to others.  Furthermore, there does not seem to be a Taser best practices policy by the agency.

Digging a little bit deeper, I am going to look at the Denver Sheriff’s policy of Taser use against individuals who are an unarmed, and are only a threat to the individual himself, when the Deputies engage with the inmate.  In other words, inmates who appear to be mentally ill from the facts presented.  This will be the first part in a series of articles written on the subject here.

North Dakota National Guard

— Photo taken by North Dakota National Guard, Flickr.

Continue reading Denver Sheriff Case Study – Taser Use Against the Mentally Ill

References   [ + ]

1. See e.g. St. Germain v. Denver Department of Safety, Car. Serv. Bd. Appeal No. 24-14, available at: www.denvergov.org/portals/671/documents/hearings/st._germain_ned_24-14_decision.pdf (last accessed Dec. 4, 2014); or see the document in its entirety below.
2. Noelle Phillips, Denver Sheriff Sargent Suspended for Stunning Mentally Ill Inmate, Denver Post, Dec. 10, 2014, available at: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_27108405/denver-sheriffs-sergeant-suspended-stunning-mentally-ill-inmate.