Guy runs a stop sign, is tasered to death

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

The San Bernandino County Sheriff’s department said that the 43 year old, 350 pound Allen Kephart became \”combative and uncooperative\”, so they used a taser on him, he passed out, and now he’s dead.

The LA Times points out that his father, a 20-year member of the San Bernardino County sheriff’s Rangers volunteer unit, doesn’t think they treated his son like someone who just ran a stop sign, but committed murder.

He said witnesses told him that the deputy slammed his son to the ground. His son was Tasered about eight times by two deputies, said Jack Kephart, who dismissed assertions that his son was combative with the deputies.

“He’s never raised a hand in 43 years. He goes to church three times a week. He does the audio for the church in Crestline,” Jack Kephart said. “He works three jobs. He’s never had a drink. Never done drugs. Never smoked. Never done nothing.”

Not that taser happy cops shouldn’t be criticized for simply being taser happy….but the father also brings up a good point about his son’s medical condition…..a 350 pound man, is more likely than not going to have high blood pressure, or any heart condition, and probably more likely to die from being zapped with electricity than someone in good health.

The irresponsibility with which law enforcement officials  shoot off their taser guns does make them murderers.

Not to mention cowards when they go after 10 year old girls and 72 year old grandmothers, and now, obese citizens.

I also lived in Lake Arrowhead, CA for 10 years when growing up as a child, and Blue Jay is a part of that area. It is by no means a dangerous place where police should be expecting armed criminals to hop out of cars at routine traffic stops.

[Alyona]

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43 Responses to “Guy runs a stop sign, is tasered to death”

  1. #1 |  Marty | 

    nonlethal…

    condolences to the family. it’s a shame that people will think this is an isolated incident. the difference between white people and black people is that most blacks seem to get that this is bullshit. if Mr. Kephart was black, there’d be ministers and community leaders speaking out and demanding justice and the whole county would feel like a powder keg. If they felt they were just getting typical govt bullshit explanations, there’d be rioting. whites will feel this is ‘unfortunate’.

  2. #2 |  Dante | 

    “The bottom line is the deputy does not know what they’re dealing with,” Bachman said. “There could be a variety of reasons the driver didn’t stop. They can range from being unlicensed or an armed and dangerous wanted person.”

    There may be another reason educated, sober, law-abiding taxpayers won’t stop for the police. We want to live to see another day, and go home to our families at night.

    Protect & Serve (Themselves!)

  3. #3 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Sometimes I think the Beatles were as prophetic as Nostradamus:

    Ask a policeman on the street
    There’s so many there to meet

    Now it’s past my bed I know
    And I’d really like to go
    Soon will be the break of day
    Sitting here in Blue Jay Way
    Please don’t be long please don’t you be very long
    Please don’t be long or I may be asleep.

  4. #4 |  ClubMedSux | 

    I live in a neighborhood full of cops, play on a softball team full of cops, and have family members who are cops, and the one thing I hear time and time again is, “you gotta look out for yourself.” As a husband and father, I can certainly understand that the ultimate fear is leaving their family behind to fend for themselves. But this stance is at odds with the image cops like to portray of them being the ultimate protectors. You can be the hero, or you can be the average Joe just trying to support his/her family, and I respect whatever choice a cop makes. But if he/she chooses the latter, then you can’t enjoy the privileges premised on the former (qualified immunity, presumptions of trustworthiness, etc.). And if you’re so jumpy to protect yourself that you have to taser somebody to death for a traffic stop, then you probably shouldn’t enjoy the privilege of carrying a gun and a badge.

  5. #5 |  Mike T | 

    The irresponsibility with which law enforcement officials shoot off their taser guns does make them murderers.

    We’d do well to make any criminal use of force that results in the person’s death carry the death penalty as the punishment. Intent to kill should never be necessary in and of itself… only intent to inflict severe harm.

  6. #6 |  Mike T | 

    I live in a neighborhood full of cops, play on a softball team full of cops, and have family members who are cops, and the one thing I hear time and time again is, “you gotta look out for yourself.” As a husband and father, I can certainly understand that the ultimate fear is leaving their family behind to fend for themselves.

    It says a lot about how they view their own job that the concept of “death before dishonor” is so utterly alien to them.

  7. #7 |  JS | 

    I don’t even know what to say anymore this stuff is so common. Cops are at war with the rest of us.

    Most Americans will always be too fucking stupid to care. I hope there is a judgment day because thats the only chance of there ever being any consequences to American domestic police for all the blood they have on their hands.

  8. #8 |  Mike | 

    At one time I would watch “COPS”, I started noticing how often the police used Tasers for just about everything. Rather then run after, or negotiate with the person they just pull out the gun and stun them.

  9. #9 |  Maria | 

    He drove to the nearest gas station before stopping? WTF is wrong with that? I’ve done that when caught speeding. But of course I’m female so the cop only lectured me about needing to stop immediately next time.

    “Officials did not provide details on what he allegedly did to be considered combative”
    Disrespect of cop. Probably also used some “tone” of voice. Maybe rolled his eyes and sighed loudly. Maybe even said “fuck.”

    “All of that information needs to be documented before we start speaking publicly about specific detail like that.”
    We need to get our stories straight before we lie to you.

  10. #10 |  RomanCandle | 

    My buddy was a lieutenant in the Army, and they weren’t even allowed to use gasses on Iraqis.

  11. #11 |  JS | 

    RomanCandle “My buddy was a lieutenant in the Army, and they weren’t even allowed to use gasses on Iraqis.”

    You could get a lot of bad publicity for mistreating Iraqis. They don’t really need to win American hearts and minds so yo ucan pretty much treat us as bad as you want to.

  12. #12 |  JS | 

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it…”

    Obviously we can’t alter it.

  13. #13 |  Leah | 

    #9 – Really? They lectured you? I keep hearing news reports telling women to do just that, because of the cop impersonator possibility. The news also tells you to call 911 to ensure it’s an authorized police officer. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, I guess.

  14. #14 |  freebob | 

    “Officials did not provide details on what he allegedly did to be considered combative”
    was 350 lbs thus intimidated the cop. You know the saying better a dead civilian than sorry.

  15. #15 |  Henry Bowman | 

    The reality is that many cops have become murdering thugs. They will tell you that they have dangerous jobs, but the reality is that their jobs are not especially dangerous. This behavior would stop if some of the murderers went to jail, but I’m not holding my breath that such will occur, as the first rule of being a cop is protecting other cops.

  16. #16 |  Maria | 

    @13 That’s precisely why I did it, told him I did it, and why I would do it again. I did turn my flashers on though and slowed to a crawl. Maybe why I got a warning and not a ticket.

    But it is damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

    That’s the worst, you never know what sort of cop you’ll encounter. One who has their head screwed up, or one who has it screwed on right(ish). I wonder if Allen didn’t run into the former.

  17. #17 |  Whim | 

    Police do NOT have an especially dangerous job. Civilians encountering police are the ones in acute danger.

    Year in and year out, approximately 50 policemen are killed violently. Twice that number die in traffic accidents annually.

    How many civilians die in police custody annually? The U.S. Dept. of Injustice has old statistics that seem to indicate that more than 10X that number of civilians die while being arrested, and that an even larger number die in jails annually, with the cause of death frequently cited as “Other”.

    Police consider themselves hammers, and everyone else looks like a nail…..

  18. #18 |  Michael | 

    I once set off my own house alarm by mistake. Policeman showed up, and I heard him slam his car door so I just waited for him to walk around our wall to see me. He had his gun already drawn and aimed at me while he verified that I “knew the owner.”

    Later he congratulated me on “Handling myself well in that circumstance” and said “Now you know how seriously we take these matters. You could have been a thief!”

  19. #19 |  OBTC | 

    #9 Maria

    The last two paragraphs of your post were my thoughts exactly.

  20. #20 |  Pablo | 

    I agree that Tasers are overused, but in all fairness just because someone is 350 lbs and has health problems does not mean he might not become aggressive. If someone does become aggressive, but does not have a deadly weapon, the situation is difficult. The police do not have the right to shoot such a person, but fighting hand-to-hand presents its own risks. Most people who have not trained in martial arts do not know how much damage can be done with knee and elbow strikes, punches, kicks, and choke holds. You can literally kill someone with these techniques. I think it is GENERALLY (exceptions exist) safer to taze someone than to engage in hand-to-hand combat.

    That said I think Tasers should only be used against actively aggressive people, rather than to torture “non compliant” persons into complying. I also think tasers should only be used against persons who are already physically restrained–a lot of injuries occur when someone is tazed and then falls to the ground on a hard surface.

  21. #21 |  Zargon | 

    #19
    So let me get this straight. Tasers should be used on unarmed aggressive people because that’s safer (for who?) than hand to hand combat. But then you should only tase people who are already physically restrained.

    Okay.

    If you give people a point-and-click torture device, don’t be surprised when they use it like one.

  22. #22 |  SJE | 

    #19: Pablo. I agree that the cops are entitled to use a taser or even a gun for someone who is A LEGITIMATE THREAT. That does not mean being big, or giving attititude, or even a bit squirmy. It means actively resisting arrest and then using the appropriate level of force.

    As it is, too many cops use the taser because they think its non-lethal, and because think that they are entitled to complete submission. Both of those are wrong.

  23. #23 |  Fastelk | 

    We are personal friends of Allen Kephart. He was a gentle giant. Yes, the man was 350 lbs and had some health issues. But there are causes and effects behind this story which should be addressed…

    The area noted (Daly Canyon/Hwy 189 and the Valero on 189) are dangerous with traffic averaging 50-60 mph or more. It’s also on a curve leaving no place to safey retreat. The Valero was a safe place to pull off if he was bing detained. Also Allen being a big man took great effort for him to get out of his vehicle. He had stiff joints and there’s NO WAY anyone could use standard cuffs on the man. He was too big. Nor would he be able to do “hands up” because his arms were so big.

    Not to mention in 8 years of knowing this man, working with him on parades, festivals, memorials, policitical coverages… I never saw him loose his temper, raise his voice, or swear. He was a good man and a good christian. Always there to lend a very large heartfelt hand to anyone who needed it.

    We also know almost every one of the deputies up here. We work closely with them in many situations. We cannot immagine why this man would pull a weapon on him instantly according to a witness. We’d like to know where the video that the blond woman took is presently and will we the public and friends ever get to see it?

    This is horrible set of events gone very very wrong. We will miss our friend.

  24. #24 |  Mannie | 

    It’s OK. They were shouting STOP RESISTING as they electrocuted the Citizen.

    #4 | ClubMedSux | May 12th, 2011 at 2:37 pm
    I live in a neighborhood full of cops, play on a softball team full of cops, and have family members who are cops, and the one thing I hear time and time again is, “you gotta look out for yourself.”

    Typical Cowardly Cop Talk.

  25. #25 |  The Shiny Beast of Thought | 

    There was a time, back in the olden days, when I was all-for cops packing tasers. We were assured that tasers were only to be used in situations where the officer would normally go for his firearm. I figured it would save lives. Nowadays, we’ve descended to folks getting lit up to death for the “crime” of noncompliance with officer demands. It’s a slippery slope out there.

  26. #26 |  OBTC | 

    #22 | Fastelk

    My sincere condolences for the loss of your friend.

  27. #27 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    Tasers are, of course, lethal weapons. Training and deployment policy needs to reflect that, as it does in the UK – where a good deal of the resistance to deployment outside firearms units has come from the police themselves.

    There have been FOIA requests lodged with all forces in April, and the results are still coming in, but the numbers are *very* close to those of Firearms officers.

    As to the Army, there are quite a few things you can’t do under international law to enemies in wartime which are just fine for use against your own civilians. *spits*

  28. #28 |  Chris Mallory | 

    Pablo, you have to remember, to a cop, not falling to your knees and fluffing him when he commands, is an aggressive act.

  29. #29 |  johnl | 

    Sorry for your loss Fastelk. Those roads can be killers and pulling over in parking lot just seems like prudence rather than non-cooperation. I hope witnesses come forward to explain what happened. I wonder if the Valero has any photos.

  30. #30 |  Matt | 

    “The bottom line is the deputy does not know what they’re dealing with…”

    That’s an admission of incompetence. They goddamned fucking ought to fucking know *precisely* what they’re dealing with before they pull that fucking trigger.

    Goddamn sadists in costumes.

  31. #31 |  Matt | 

    “I live in a neighborhood full of cops, play on a softball team full of cops, and have family members who are cops, and the one thing I hear time and time again is, ‘you gotta look out for yourself.'”

    Too bad their victims don’t get the same benefit of doubt, eh?

  32. #32 |  Bergman | 

    It’s an interesting observation, that if a TASER is nonlethal and harmless, why do cops draw their firearms and use deadly force against someone threatening them with a TASER?

    Either their use of force is unjustified, or they’re lying about how dangerous a TASER is. They can’t have it both ways.

  33. #33 |  qwints | 

    TASERs are appropriate to use when firearms are appropriate to use. That is all.

  34. #34 |  Man's Death Prompts New Round of Anti-Taser Outrage | Con Games | 

    [...] Minkovski at the libertarian blog The Agitator points out that Blue Jay "is by no means a dangerous place where police should be expecting [...]

  35. #35 |  A Few Random Morning Links … | The Pretense of Knowledge | 

    [...] Guy runs a stop sign, is tasered to death. [...]

  36. #36 |  derfel cadarn | 

    If these pussy-assed jerkoffs are so afraid of such major criminals as runners of stop signs then they should get other work. The police MUST be held responsible for their actions. Americans can no longer tolerate this kind of institutional abuse.

  37. #37 |  Mike T | 

    That’s an admission of incompetence. They goddamned fucking ought to fucking know *precisely* what they’re dealing with before they pull that fucking trigger.

    Interesting how a man has to discern the threat level a home invader poses before using lethal force, but the police don’t have to even hold him at gun point so they can call in reinforcements so they have the ability to safely use less force. This is the insanity of modern America. I lost all respect for modern America when I read the law books of the Old Testament and realized that Moses, 3500 years ago, imposed a more sophisticated standard of evidence and use for force rules than what we let the government use today.

  38. #38 |  Mannie | 

    #30 | Bergman | May 12th, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    It’s an interesting observation, that if a TASER is nonlethal and harmless, why do cops draw their firearms and use deadly force against someone threatening them with a TASER?

    Either their use of force is unjustified, or they’re lying about how dangerous a TASER is. They can’t have it both ways.

    Actually, they can. Disregarding the danger level, a Taser is an incapacitating weapon. It renders the target helpless and completely vulnerable. I’d shoot a person threatening me with a Taser or with chemical spray.

    The offense, here, and I would hold it a capital one – the cop should probably hang – is in unjustified and excessive use of a weapon against a Citizen who is presenting a minimal risk. They were trying to field punish the citizen – to torture him for offending them. I’d cheerfully hang the cops for that.

  39. #39 |  Pablo | 

    #21SJE–Poor choice of words on my part. By “physically restrained” I did not mean handcuffed or otherwise unable to resist. I meant that Tasers should only be used when offcers are able to grab and hold the person to prevent them from falling to the ground after they are Tazed.

  40. #40 |  demize! | 

    Give a moron a hammer everything becomes a nail. These were supposed to be tools for a less than lethal option, then they became pain compliance tools, now they’re apparently if I don’t like how fast you’re obeying my authority tools. Taser should be picketed as the torture device manufacturer it is.

  41. #41 |  nemo | 

    Anti-taser cloth for tailoring into various clothing items.</a.

    Of course, they only want to sell to people doing the tasering, not who's tasered. but there are ways. There are always ways…

  42. #42 |  EH | 

    Right, Pablo. So everyone should be tasered when dealing with police? I mean, you never know what someone *might* do. Where do you, personally, draw the line? Do you cop-out and say “well, it depends,” and cower into “case-by-case basis?”

    At any rate, I bet even if the officer was convicted of murder for this, he’d still get to keep his pension.

  43. #43 |  JS | 

    demize! “Give a moron a hammer everything becomes a nail.”

    That pretty much sums it up.

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