Nuggets of Wisdom

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Mentally-Ill Inmate Shackled, Tased To Death

I’ll be honest: all of these police brutality posts are beginning to take their toll on me, both emotionally and mentally. I’d love nothing more than to stop blogging about them. For one, they happen so often that, if I were to cover every single one, my blog would be nothing but posts about police brutality, and there’s only so much you can say on the subject other than, “isn’t this f***ed up beyond belief?”

But then I began to ponder the implication of that line of thinking. If I were to claim that there was no sense in writing about police brutality anymore, then I would be admitting that reports of police brutality have become as commonplace as reports on the weather forecast.

I don’t know about you, but I refuse to live in a society where something like that is the norm, where turning on the news to see yet another police story elicits nothing less than a shrug. I don’t want to feel complacent about police abuse. I don’t want to feel like that sort of thing is normal, because it’s not, or at least it shouldn't be.

So pardon me for sharing yet another story about police abusing their power, because we don’t very well solve a problem by pretending it doesn’t exist—and as much as I would prefer to pretend that this next account of police electrocuting a mentally-ill woman to death isn’t real, the sad reality is that it is:
A mentally ill woman who died after a stun gun was used on her at the Fairfax County jail in February was restrained with handcuffs behind her back, leg shackles and a mask when a sheriff’s deputy shocked her four times, incident reports obtained by The Washington Post show.

Natasha McKenna initially cooperated with deputies, placed her hands through her cell door food slot and agreed to be handcuffed, the reports show. But McKenna, whose deteriorating mental state had caused Fairfax to seek help for her, then began trying to fight her way out of the cuffs, repeatedly screaming, “You promised you wouldn’t hurt me!” the reports show.

Then, six members of the Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team, dressed in white full-body biohazard suits and gas masks, arrived and placed a wildly struggling 130-pound McKenna into full restraints, their reports state. But when McKenna wouldn’t bend her knees so she could be placed into a wheeled restraint chair, a lieutenant delivered four 50,000-volt shocks from the Taser, enabling the other deputies to strap her into the chair, the reports show.
That would all be bad enough in and of itself, but what’s especially disgusting is the flimsy excuse the police department made to hand-wave it away:
Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Kincaid declined to comment on the case but defended the use of a stun gun on a restrained prisoner, saying it was “a means that is often useful to ensure the safety of a person” rather than using physical force to gain compliance. She said stun guns were used “occasionally” on prisoners who are already restrained.
I’m sorry. I just can’t handle this. I can’t express how sickening this makes me feel. I don’t feel well. All of these police brutality stories this past month have been depressing me.

I need something to cheer me up. I know you all need some cheering up, too. So to help, here’s a picture of my fluffy little dog: