One of the major concerns about the introduction of tasers has been the fear that they will lower the barrier for the police use of force from defending against violent offenders to "inducing compliance" to police commands. And now it seems to be happening; this morning's Herald has a story about a youth who was tasered by police after intervening in a fight. Their reason?
Senior Sergeant Garth Stockley, asked earlier by the Herald, said no officer had been assaulted.
He said the 17-year-old was Tasered because police couldn't bring him under control after the arrest.
"We were in the middle of the road and it was only a matter of time before somebody was going to get run over."
But looking at a cellphone video of the incident on the Three News site shows no traffic and no risk of anyone being run over. Instead, they seem to have done it simply for convenience - they wanted to shut up the person they were arresting, and get the job over and done with. And that is not simply a good enough reason for the police to use force.