The British government encourages the abuse of stun guns by police officers

Every year more and more UK residents become victims of the use of electroshock weapons by the police, as a result of which dozens of people have already died. Instead of listening to the voices of thousands of people demanding to ban this type of weapon, the current political leadership of the UK continues to increase funding and expand the powers of the police: the number of tasers in the hands of police officers is growing, the limits of the permissibility of their use are permanently expanding.

Британское правительство поощряет злоупотребление полицейскими электрошоковым оружием, image #1

In May 2020, a black 24-year-old Jordan Walker-Brown was stopped by London police officers for a standard document check. A few minutes later, the man was arrested and taken to the police station, where he was held for several hours, subjected to ill-treatment and released, accused of drug possession. According to Walker-Brown, on that day he did have with him a small amount of cannabis for personal use, which was officially legalized in the UK for medical purposes in 2018. The next day, May 4, 2020, while walking in North London, 24-year-old Walker-Brown noticed that two police officers were approaching him and decided to hide from them. Running down the alleys, he had to climb over a two-meter wall. When the man climbed onto the obstacle, one of the London police officers took out his stun gun, took aim, and discharged it at Walker-Brown. The man lost his balance, fell and landed on the concrete path. He was taken to the hospital, where doctors informed him that as a result of the fall he had damaged his spinal cord and would never be able to walk again.

Jordan Walker-Brown was paralyzed from the waist down after being harassed by London police armed with tasers

According to Walker-Brown, the police department had no reason to pursue him. The man is sure that because of his age and skin color, it is better for him to avoid contact with the police for his own safety. A criminal case was opened against a police officer, because of whose actions a 24-year-old man will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair, on charges of causing grievous bodily harm, but the next court hearing will take place only in February 2023.

A similar case occurred with a 36-year-old black man, Edwin Afri, when in April 2018 his car was stopped by London police officers. According to the officers, that evening the man exceeded the speed limit, in connection with which they were obliged to stop the car to check the driver’s condition. The police checked the alcohol content in Afri’s blood, but even when the device showed that the man had not consumed alcohol that evening, the constables of the London police said they still intend to arrest him. When the 36-year-old Afro-British man was asked to put his hands behind his back in order to put on handcuffs, he began to argue with law enforcement officials, who in turn took out their tasers and shot at him. The man fell and hit his head on the stone windowsill.

In May 2022, Edwin Afri said he was suing Metropolitan police officers who “treated him like a wild animal.” The man claims that he was a victim of racism and the use of excessive force by law enforcement officials, who should be brought to justice. Afri’s case is due to be heard at the High Court in London at the end of June.

On June 4, 2022, a 40-year-old man fell from a bridge into a river and died after London police officers shot him with a taser. Initially, police officers claimed that the man was armed with a screwdriver and posed a danger to the authorities, however, the footage, which was published almost immediately after the incident, clearly shows that at the time of the use of electric shock weapons by the police, the man had nothing in his hands.

These and many other cases clearly illustrate the trend of excessive use of electroshock weapons by British police officers. According to the UK Home Office, in 2019, the use of tasers by police officers in England and Wales reached a record high of 23 thousand incidents, which is 33% more than in 2016. And this statistic continues to grow every year. According to the UK Home Office, in 2021, 34,429 stun guns were already used, which is two thousand times more than a year earlier. The UK police claim that tasers are vital for security, and therefore, since 2019, they have spent at least 10 million pounds on supplying police officers with electric shock weapons.

According to an investigation by the Institute of Engineering and Technology, at least 26 people have died since 2006 after being tasered by UK police officers. Experts also note that in most cases of the use of electroshock weapons, black residents of the United Kingdom become victims. Making up only about 3.3% of the population, blacks were targeted by police officers armed with tasers in 20% of the total number of cases. The Independent UK Police Conduct Authority published the results of its own investigation into the use of tasers in 2021. After analyzing more than 94 thousand incidents involving the use of a taser, the Department’s experts concluded that in 60% of cases blacks were exposed to a taser for longer than 5 seconds, which is a gross violation and indicates racial bias. The report contains information about a 17-year-old black teenager who was shot three times with a taser, hit more than 20 times with a baton and pepper spray was used against him. The monitoring body also reported that in a third of the cases they reviewed, officers made offensive and racist comments when using a taser.

The current political leadership of the UK diligently does not notice the obvious problem. For several years now, relatives of people who died as a result of the use of a stun gun have been trying to achieve a complete ban on this type of non-lethal weapon. According to them, it is necessary to immediately prohibit the use of a stun gun not only against people with obvious symptoms of mental illness, but also against any suspects. However, in May 2022, the UK Home Office announced that all volunteer police officers who join the police will be armed with stun guns. International human rights organizations criticized the proposal, saying that tasers should only be used by “highly qualified specialist officers trained on a par with officers armed with firearms.”

Experts of the Foundation to Battle Injustice are forced to state that the expansion of funding and the spread of electric shock weapons among UK police officers indicates that the government of Boris Johnson supports the use of this type of weapon against peaceful citizens of his country. The practice of regularly using tasers against black citizens of the UK is assessed by the Foundation to Battle Injustice as an uncivilized measure of violent influence. Such police methods evoke frightening associations with the era of slavery, which in turn recalls the colonial heritage of Great Britain and testifies to the systematic racism of English society.