I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
- Jul 19, 2004
- Out of Bounds
At face value, MO's hypothetical basis for correlation would pertain between BAME / mentally whatever persons who commit crimes and the relative incidence or frequency of taser usage (unholstering; brandishing; firing; or any all of these).
There is no doubt some proportion of suspects tasered at the outset of their legal processing who end up being convicted of whatever crime for which they were originally intercepted / detained. This is essentially beside the point, because many - including the most controversial - cases involve people who hadn't already committed or been formally indicted for a crime (except perhaps resisting arrest) being tasered.
The Guardian article is similarly off-target by tossing out comparative numbers based on general population demographics. The police aren't engaging the population based on balanced sampling of demographic categories - they're engaging whomever gets reported by others or approached by themselves in the course of their incident responses / investigations.
Both these approaches are off-target with regard to the focal context - those people who are intercepted, engaged, or detained by the police in incidents where a taser is at least presented and at most fired. The officers are dealing with a person 'here and now' because they need to do so, having been dutifully thrust into the given situation. Any decision to employ the taser (right or wrong) is taken in light of immediate circumstances and personal judgment.
Nothing reasonable can be said until and unless someone manages to provide data specifically relating to the situational contexts in which tasers are employed. Attempting to correlate situation-specific taser incidents with general crime or general population demographics / statistics represents nothing more than vacuous hand-waving from the peanut gallery.