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PPB officer tasers 11-year old boy

Apparently an angry 11-year old boy was too much for 5 PPB officers to handle, so they tasered him. Who's next?
According to information reported in the Portland Tribune and Willamette Week, PPB officers tasered an 11-year old boy at Buckman Elementary School last week.

The Tribune article says that prior to being tasered, the boy had just been placed in his third foster home in three weeks and had acted out violently at the school before (hmmm, I wonder why?).

Police were called because - according to police reports - the boy grabbed a 5 1/2 inch long metal compass (remember those pointy things?) and started tearing up the classroom, which the other occupants then fled. When a PPB officer arrived, the boy - police say - threatened to stab him, so the officer called for back-up. 4 other cops arrived, one of them had a taser.

Now, can you picture this in your mind? Here are 5 cops (2 of them sergeants - supervisors), all grown men in uniform, all wearing body armor and trained in defensive tactics. And an angry 11-year old boy with a school compass. Apparently all 5 of them put together couldn't handle an 11-year old without resorting to blasting him with 2 steel taser darts to his chest, delivering a 50,000 volt shock of electricity...

The Portland Tribune article can be found here:

 http://www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=26609

A few months back, the PPB tasered a blind, 71 year-old woman. Last week it was an 11-year old child. Who's next??
lots of reasons 12.Oct.2004 09:48

half-wit

You take a compass to the eye and then tell me it is not dangerous. Vests are not designed to stop pointed weapons, such as knives, etc. How big was the kid? Tasing him probably saved him from being beaten senseless with sticks. Okay, maybe that would have been better than a taser! Make lots of people happy that the cops didn't tase him!

How can we allow this? 12.Oct.2004 10:57

Sick and angry

Well, let's see. They've tasered and pepper sprayed a little old lady, causing her glass eye to pop out and roll around on the ground. They pepper sprayed a 10 month old baby point-blank in the face, then blamed the child's parents for it. They gunned down an unarmed man in a mental hospital -- a MENTAL HOSPITAL! -- and then gave him MEDALS. They've even tasered a dead guy. (A guy who had been unarmed and alive 24 seconds earlier, by the way, but who was driving too good a car for a black man in N pdx, so they shot him and then tazed him for 3 full minutes after they murdered him.)

But somehow, it still shocks me that anyone could even THINK of tasering an 11-year old child. Or that we can allow them to do it and not demand accountability. Or that any simple minded freak could see fit to justify it? ("How big was the kid? Tasing him probably saved him from being beaten senseless with sticks.") Please. An 11 year old child. I don't care what he was doing. This is WAY over the top. Fucking portland pigs. What is WRONG with them. What is wrong with us, that we let them do this? Someone save us from the armed gang of thugs running rampant through our streets! Arissa! Where are you?

I too am sick 'n' angry with the 12.Oct.2004 12:59

Portland Police Bureau

and their out-of-control officers. I blame Vera Katz more than I do anyone for the
way things have become. She had the "power" and the "responsibility" to do some-
thing, but didn't. All she's done is justify the PoPo and let her hugh ego cover-up the multitude of sins committed under her sanctions as "commissioner" and all I
can say is PRAISE GOD THAT HER DAMNED OLD ASS IS SOON TO BE GONE, and I pray that a
more compassionate and decent human-being comes in and undo's her wrongs!

All we can do is keep the pressure on the newcomer and make sure that they know we
are out here...hector them till they actually do something!

Lots of reasons?! 12.Oct.2004 14:01

J

So, you say the kid could have put out an officer's eye with the compass? Maybe if the officer just stands totally still and doesn't do anything... and what about the other 4 officers that were there? I suppose you think they would just stand by and do nothing while the kid stabs the other one in the eye... yes, the vests officers wear are designed to stop bullets and not edged weapons. But a vest will slow penetration of an edged weapon down... with all the angry kids out there these days, I wonder why more parents don't get tasers and disicipline their kids the PPB way (Kroker would have done it!). After all, these kids could put someone's eye out with one of those cheap, elementary school compasses! No one is safe!

Where was a CIT officer, or a counselor, or anybody willing to try and just talk to the kid - while others could get into position to tackle him if talking didn't work? If PPB officers are so afraid of an 11 year-old that they have to use a taser, then they are in the wrong line of work. Your arguments are only excuses for bad decision making and heavy handed police work.

Letting the Taser do the Talking 12.Oct.2004 21:46

Hawkeye

What the apologists for this display of PPB™ gang's tactical skills in the community seem to be saying is that the current pack are mentally, emotionally and officially limited to using their lethal and "less" lethal toys to resolve and settle instances of social aberration--traffic stops for "suspicion", emotionally disturbed senior citizens, political demonstrators and protestors in family groups, mental patients who don't speak the white settlers' language?

Was the boy holding a lit match in one hand and a stick of dynamite in the other? What was the urgency to dramatically incapacitate him? Late for donut break?

Are the gang so bereft of negotiating skills, of the ability or willingness to talk to citizens, civilians (other than barking usually confusing orders in broken phrases), so inept at performing like adults in confronting an angry pre-adolescent?

Is there a (low) ceiling score for socialization and community interaction aptitude above which the candidate for membership, and later for promotion in the PPB™ gang is disqualified? Is extra credit given for using a weapon rather than brains and verbal skillls to defuse a situation? Has Bureau policy become one of replacing language and thinking tools with dangerous and deadly gadgets?

Were you there 13.Oct.2004 12:18

Alex

How many commenting were there?

Did you see pictures of the room? It was a pretty big, physical 11 year old that did that kind of damage. There were reports that he'd already hurt the teacher somehow. Good for the school for getting the rest of the kids out of the way w/o harm to them.

Maybe the Taser was the thing to use, maybe it wasn't. It probably would've raised less indymedia handwringing and name-calling had they just beat the hell out of him with nightsticks or dislocated half the joints in his body as he went completely berserk with them. Blunt force trauma to the head is a serious thing.. it's not like in the movies where you can "knock somebody out" by hitting them with a bat, pan, jug, whatever. then they just wake up 15 minutes later and wonder what happened... The taser may really have been the thing to use here.

The kid was in the wrong environment for his needs. Nobody got seriously hurt, thank G-d. If you're going
to scream at the cops, pick something real, (like the old lady or Kendra James, rest her soul) not this.

As for Mejia Poot, that was an absolute tragedy and exposes the sorry state of last-resort mental care. That the mental hospital hadn't been dealt with earlier was the problem. Don't automatically blame the cops who responded.. the
guy had torn the exit bar off a door, and had taken one shotgun beanbag. A taser may have saved Poot's life.

The cops are not the worst problem we've got right now.

I wonder 13.Oct.2004 13:39

concerned citizen

Do these officers use tasers on their own kids when they get out of hand?

Alex , you're wrong 13.Oct.2004 18:04

non apologist

The cops are part of the worst problem we have which is the militarization of any and every solution. Why was the kid in foster homes? Follow the thread back: lack of sex education and birth control for his folks or lack of parenting information, no safety net for families in trouble, etc. because the money is going to the military budget, prisons, military contractors, etc., etc. People I've known in the past who've gone to cop school say they've been given all sorts of non-weapon ways to dealing with these situations. Tazers are for the unschooled and untalented.

Maybe I Have No Right 13.Oct.2004 18:41

Den Mark, Vancouver

I was not in that classroom & maybe have no right to comment, but the police actions seem strange.

In the 80's, when i was new in teaching, i got a part-time contingency job at Woodland Park (Mental) Hospital, both to make a few more bucks & just out of curiosity. (Was that Señor Mejia Poot's "hospital"?) It was a horrible "hospital", a cash cow for the Humana Group. I hated the place & soon quit, after learning all i cared to about mental "hospitals".

Anyway, one day another worker & i were with a group of patients in the common room, & one man suddenly & totally lost it. He started growling & acting like a bear, overturning furniture & threatening people. Other patients were trying to leave the room, while the other worker & i grabbed the man & wrestled him to the ground. He was as big as either of us & strong with the strength that madness can cause. Yet, we held him till his nightmare passed, & nobody was hurt.

I was not in that classroom, but the police actions seem strange.

And of course, Sr. Mejia Poot's death was murder. And the mayor & council were complicit.

The cops ARE cowards, but 14.Oct.2004 04:30

Dance

... I also think their "keepers" (i.e., the chief, Vera, the Council, the businessfolks who run the city) do not hire or train them to deal with such situations. They (I'd say "we", but, despite occasional dog-and-pony-shows staged to demonstrate "inclusivity", the citizens are explicitly excluded from such decision-making) could have some trained psychologists on the police force, or have several on-call for the many emergencies of various sorts that arise each year.

I recall an occasion about 12-15 years ago in Portland when the PPB shot and killed a teenage boy about 13 years old who was brandishing a gun (not shooting it, as I recall) in front of his home (maybe on the front porch).

I think the police were called by one or more neighbors.

I can see anybody being scared, but wasn't there even one person on the city payroll with the guts, compassion, and skill to try to TALK with the kid???

So, considering that case and more recent ones, such as Mejia-Poot, I guess this incident may be a sign of improvement at the PPB. At least they didn't shoot him first, then taser him!

Btw, Jose Mejia was killed at Pacific Gateway Hospital (in Sellwood), which had had problems before that incident and was subsequently (probably 8-10 months later?) closed down.

Not Necessary 14.Oct.2004 14:01

Sick and Disgusted sea_air80@hotmail.com

I know the child in this situation professionally. I have been in many situations with him acting-out aggresively. If different percautions had been taken I am 100% sure the child would have deescalated. It shows a lack of knowledge and education on the part of the school and police force for not calling someone who professionally knows this child and how to talk him down.

Why was he tasered? 14.Oct.2004 17:41

Anon

Because if they spent time calming him down or talking to him that would take longer.

Using the Taser saves time and time is money, folks!

You could say the taser raised the productivity of the police that day. Raising productivity is good for the economy and what's good for the economy is good for the country. QED.

For what its worth - 15.Oct.2004 14:13

anon

My child goes to Buckman. The Portland Tribune article states that the superintendent said a letter was going home to parents. Well, I have not received a letter. I have heard NOTHING from the school about this and I plan on meeting with the principal shortly. If it weren't for Indy Media I would not have even known about this.

How about less ranting... 17.Oct.2004 17:13

Big Al

I am new to this area and this website so instead of all the ranting I would like to see some ideas from you guys on how to stop this crap from happening again? The one trend I seem to see concerning the PPB is that they continue to repeat past mistakes.

What Does It Look Like? 17.Oct.2004 23:29

Hawkeye

In the bureaucratic milieu, those "mistakes" aren't getting corrected, are they?

Can we then take it that to those in any kind of a position to correct--i.e. Management--those actions aren't regarded as mistakes! Rather, they fall within the job description from Management's perspective.

But, when Management isn't just elected officials but corporate manipulators, as well, changing elected stooges only changes the waiter bringing the same food out of the same kitchen.

Tasers 23.Nov.2004 18:21

Electronics Tech

Seems i read an article about a 9 year old girl out of arizona and a 6 year old boy out of miami dade florida that was recently tased by police.
(Very alarming!!!!)
Can't help but wonder how young they have to be not to be tased.
If it keeps up we may be reading of cops tasing infants because they refused to stop crying or something -or the cop will say the infant refused to follow a direct order to stop crying.I relise how extreme that must sound but jees,never would i have thought they might use those things on kids let alone a 6 year old.
Ive personally seen what Electricity can do to the human body--have been working with high voltages for around 22 years now.
Highest voltages i have worked with was a Tesla coil wound to produce 1 and a half million volts--nasty---theese taser produse anywhere from 25,000 to 200,000---I'm thinking of sewing 2 layers of window screen into a canvas pouch that velcros onto the inside of my jackets --(just in case) It is really geting bad and law enforcement is getting wicked.

Big Deal 09.Dec.2004 12:27

WHO CARES! If your bad, then receive a bad punishment.

I am 16 years old, and I have had plenty of friends that have been tased by the cops for one reason or another. Mostly because they did something wrong and then ran from them. In my opinion, a taser is the best way to subdue people without causing any REAL physical damage to them. It's not like it's a big deal. It's just a short shock to the muscles making them fail, so the cops have enough time to control you without using much brute force. I have talked to my friends about their experiences, and many of them say that it does hurt like hell, but it didn't cause any physical damage to them. I think they saved this kid a lot of pain by tasing them so they didn't have to tackle him, which could easily break a bone, or tear a muscle, etc. I know my opinion doesn't count for much, but I would much rather be tased to be brought down than tackled on a hard floor with a 200 pound pile of muscle stuck on top of me trying to cuff me when my arm might be broken. That would hurt like shit to have to be handcuffed with a broken arm or wrist. I am only 5 years older than that kid, and so I would have to say that the cops did a good thing by tasing him.