Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More Taser(tm) madness downunder

Oh come on Australia!

Police say they used the Taser on Ronald Mitchell, 36, when he ran at them carrying a container of petrol and a cigarette lighter.

They said that Mr Mitchell, who lives in a remote Aboriginal community, had been sniffing petrol. They suggested the cigarette lighter started the fire.

Mr Mitchell is in a critical condition in hospital with third degree burns.

Mr Mitchell's sister told The Australian newspaper that her brother had been sniffing petrol.

"He must have put petrol on his face, then the policeman shot him with the Taser, that's when the flames happened," she said.

Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan said Mr Mitchell was a known violent offender, and defended the police officers' deployment of the Taser.

He told reporters: "The only other choice they would have had is to use a police-issue firearm, and the consequences would almost certainly have been far more grave."

He said the police internal affairs department would investigate the incident, saying there was "a very strong possibility that the fire was caused by the lighter in the hand of the offender".

Taking a page from our four horsemen, I'm sure. Word of advice to the Western Aussie cops: Try not to blame the victim from the start, it'll only make it worse later.

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