Signs of Sociopathic Policing: on Dalian Atkinson’s Death

News broke this week of former football star Dalian Atkinson’s death at the hands of police. After being Tasered three to four times, he went into cardiac arrest on the way to hospital and was pronounced dead shortly after arriving.

If the brother’s account of Dalian Atkinson’s behaviour is true, then it’s understandable why one of the police officers initially fired the Taser. But what we seem to have here is a case of law enforcers acting with insufficient regard for human life. Something we’re used to seeing more frequently in America.

When you have the actual and legal power to take a human life like police do, then they must act with regard for it. More so than anyone else.

If the two officers called out had acted with sufficient (or any) regard for his life, then they would have cuffed him after the first Tasering. That may have meant engaging in a physical struggle with him, sure, but they should have been prepared to do that. That’s what being a police officer is all about.

These officers, however, weren’t prepared to do that it seems. Instead, Dalian Atkinson was Tasered (and kicked) until he was literally incapable of resisting.

Essentially, these police officers put their preference for exerting the least effort and avoiding any risk at all to themselves above the life of a human being. This is sociopathic policing.

Law enforcers must be willing to face some risk. They cannot be totally intolerant of risk. Otherwise, they will frequently resort to using deadly or disproportionate force. Because that’s the only way to eliminate all risk of harm or to make sure everything happens exactly as you want it to.

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