The official rationale for issuing Tasers to police officers is that the electro-shock
devices represent a “non-lethal” alternative to the use of a firearm in dealing with situations that threaten the life or safety of an officer or innocent bystanders.
In practical terms, however, the Taser — which is proving to be a reliably lethal weapon — has become an instrument of pain compliance. In unadorned terms, this is summary punishment through torture for those who pose no threat to anyone,
but who refuse to cooperate instantly with orders issued to them by police officers.
The recent arrest of 72-year-old Austin grandmother Kathryn Winkfein, who was assaulted with a Taser during a traffic stop, illustrates this perfectly.
After a police officer stopped Mrs. Winkfein for allegedly driving 60 in a 45 MPH zone, the grandmother refused to sign the ticket stub. Under Texas law, motorists are required to sign traffic tickets under threat of arrest.
According to the police officer, Mrs. Winkfein not only refused to comply, but she swore and became violent with him. Palsied with terror over the threat posed by a frail septuagenarian woman, the officer hit her with a blast from
his Taser. Mrs. Winkfein disputes every element of the official account, and intends to file a lawsuit.
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