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.