For the past few years I’ve watched and read with disgust as my man Villager over at Electronic Village highlights story after story of taser deaths in America. As you could imagine, these are deaths at the hands of police officers; anbd yes, oftentimes the victims are people of color – more specifically, they’re mostly Black males. But then I came across the following story, and I have to wonder: how long must legalized torture that’s not seen as deadly force continue to be sanctioned?

CINCINNATI — An autopsy is expected to be performed Monday on a teen who died after being stunned with a Taser gun at the University of Cincinnati.

Everette Howard, 18, died early Saturday morning. Friends said Howard was trying to break up a fight in front of Turner Hall when campus police responded.

Police said Howard appeared angry and didn’t follow orders. Witnesses said Howard collapsed after a UC officer stunned him with a Taser.

“The whole university is distraught,” said UC Assistant Dean of Students Dawn Wilson, who attended a vigil held in Howard’s honor Sunday evening.

“I just wanted to be here to express my support to students and my condolences to his friends and family and the people who loved him.”

Howard was a North College Hill graduate and was at UC to prepare for his first year of college. His academic mentor said Howard stood out.

“He was probably the most talented student as far as writing skills, oral, leadership; anytime I had trouble with the rest of the group he would help me out,” said Ekundayo Igeleka.

“The world didn’t get to see who he really was, to fully develop into the man he could have been,” Igeleka said.

The officer who stunned Howard is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into the incident.

A gifted Black student with the world at his feet is now dead by no fault of his. Dead at the hands of a police officer for attempting to break up a fight. Surely the officer who deployed the taser didn’t indend to kill him. However, said officer much like all police officers are of the opinion that deployment of a taser doesn’t constitute deadly force. And as you can see given the many taser deaths chronicled and recorded each year. Tasers are every bit of a threat to ones life

Howard was previously stunned by a Taser during a Jan. 9, 2009, incident at North College Hill Junior High School.

Police officers said Howard had become ill while trying to lose weight for a wrestling match. Paramedics were called to the school to help, but officers said the teen was unresponsive until he suddenly jumped from his chair, growled and took an aggressive stance.

A coach attempted to wrap up Howard in a bear hug, and officers wrestled the teen to the ground but were unable to place him in handcuffs, so they said they shocked him with a Taser.

Howard was taken to Children’s Hospital, but no additional information was provided about his injuries. (source)

I wish I could say that this kid was in the wrong place at the wrong time last Friday night but I can’t. He was on a college campus preparing for his first year of college. What better place than that is there for an 18-year-old Black male? But I suppose that even on a college campus a Black man is still a threat to society, and therefore must be treated like the animal that he is. I could be very wrong, but that’s what I think; at least for now that is. That is unless the taser torture stops.

  • Edwardg5549

    That’s an absolute damn shame. Something should be done brotha. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I haven’t myself done any research into “Taser-related” deaths or anything but if this is occurring with regularity then it should be stopped, looked into and researched in a responsible way to circumvent unreasonable deaths. That’s not RESPONSIBLE enforcement of the law if people are dying because law enforcement doesn’t believe that tasers can and are in some instances fatal. NO. That’s anything BUT responsible law enforcement and it’s not right either.
    daMonstah

  • Francis L. Holland

    When cops see a Black man on the street and anywhere else, their reaction is anger: 

    ‘Why isn’t than Black man in prison or dead?  We’ve got a million Black men in prison in the USA and this bastard escaped the dragnet!’

    So they take action based on the nation-wide systemic color-aroused policy of kill or capture.

    It is true that a shock with a taser is not always lethal, but it is equally true that a gunshot wound is not always lethal.  When the police and Taser International said these electrocution devices were non-lethal, I knew that was not true, hundreds of deaths ago.  I also knew that issuing new regulations for police summary executions would not work any more than regulations on tree-lynching would work. 

    Electrocution gun strikes are extra-judicial pre-trial lynchings. An electrocution device is not within the spectrum of non-lethal weapons any more than a gun is.  

    Because a gunshot can quickly cause death, it is considered a lethal weapon, even though some people survive being shot by police.  Likewise, electrocution devices can quickly cause death, even though some people survive instead of being electrocuted (killed by electricity).  There really is no difference between execution by gun and execution by electrocution devices. 

  • Francis L. Holland

    When cops see a Black man on the street and anywhere else, their reaction is anger: 

    ‘Why isn’t than Black man in prison or dead?  We’ve got a million Black men in prison in the USA and this bastard escaped the dragnet!’

    So they take action based on the nation-wide systemic color-aroused policy of kill or capture.

    It is true that a shock with a taser is not always lethal, but it is equally true that a gunshot wound is not always lethal.  When the police and Taser International said these electrocution devices were non-lethal, I knew that was not true, hundreds of deaths ago.  I also knew that issuing new regulations for police summary executions would not work any more than regulations on tree-lynching would work. 

    Electrocution gun strikes are extra-judicial pre-trial lynchings. An electrocution device is not within the spectrum of non-lethal weapons any more than a gun is.  

    Because a gunshot can quickly cause death, it is considered a lethal weapon, even though some people survive being shot by police.  Likewise, electrocution devices can quickly cause death, even though some people survive instead of being electrocuted (killed by electricity).  There really is no difference between execution by gun and execution by electrocution devices. 

  • Francis L Holland

    That is, likewise, electrocution devices can quickly cause death, even though
    some people survive being repeatedly shocked by police with the electrocution device. 

  • Francis L Holland

    That is, likewise, electrocution devices can quickly cause death, even though
    some people survive being repeatedly shocked by police with the electrocution device.