Monday, November 02, 2015
How Tasers became instruments of excessive force for the Border Patrol
Alex Martin, who had led agents on a car chase, burned to death after a border agent smashed his car window and fired a Taser inside. The device ignited an explosion and fireball. The Times' analysis found that most of the people subjected to Tasers had been caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border or were suspected of being in the country illegally, not fleeing arrest on more serious charges. "When you put that weapon out there and they have access to it, they're going to use it," said Ralph Basham, the former Customs and Border Protection commissioner who authorized the use of Tasers seven years ago. "Having spent my life in law enforcement, I know you hate to see someone getting away." Questions about fatal encounters with suspects have bedeviled Customs and Border Protection, the nation's largest law enforcement agency, mirroring the national debate over police use of force.