A California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) police officer has been placed on leave because he refused to shoot a suicidal student with his Taser.
The Statewide University Police Association (SUPA) union claims that the CSUMB officer refused to tase the student inside his Seaside, California, campus dorm room because the officer was concerned with the student's health.
"Our officer said and felt that there was no need for the level of force that was applied, and my understanding was that's why he didn't deploy his Taser," SUPA President Jeff Solomon told KSBW (video below).
“[The student] had superficial cuts to his arms and wrist,” Solomon told The Californian. “But we have very specific training in crisis intervention and our [CSUMB] officer was able to talk him down.”
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However, the Marina Police claim the CSUMB officer "froze" during the incident, which occurred back in February.
“[The CSUMB officer] never engaged and he just stood there and watched,” Marina Police Chief Edmundo Rodriguez told the Monterey Herald.
“We saw blood everywhere,” added Chief Rodriguez. “On the carpet, on the floor. His wrists had been slashed. There was a bloody knife on the floor and a hammer on the bed.”
The student wasn't armed with the knife, but Chief Rodriguez told the Monterey Herald, “[The student] was clearly a danger to himself and he was in crisis. We were trying to keep him from accessing the weapons or leave, to get him medical attention.”
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Solomon countered, “[The CSUMB officer] got him to sit on the bed, [the student] wasn’t confrontational."
When the student asked the CSUMB officer to get him a cup of water, the CSUMB officer obliged, but while he was gone the Marina Police officers tried to physically restrain the student, according to Solomon.
Chief Rodriguez claimed the CSUMB officer left for a phone call. When the CSUMB officer returned, the Marina Police officers told him to use his taser on the student, but he refused to do so, said Chief Rodriguez.
RT.com reported that Amnesty international found that at least 500 Americans died from being tased by police between 2001 and 2012.
All the Marina Police officers fired their Tasers at the student and then “dry stunned” the student with a Taser directly on his body, stated Solomon.
The CSUMB officer called the Marina Police Department to protest the mass tasing, which was followed by the Marina Police officers filing a complaint against the CSUMB Officer for “failure to act.”
"It defies logic and is extremely disappointing that, at a time when law enforcement is under fire for using more force than necessary, an officer is being terminated for attempting to use civilized methods to resolve a situation," the student's father told SUPA.
A spokeswoman for California State University Monterey Bay claimed “this case is much more complex than what was conveyed in the [SUPA] press release."