No, A Boy Wasn't Tasered For Breaking Up A School Fight
This morning, a Tweet by Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) caught my eye, reading: "17-year-old boy in coma, fighting for life after Texas cop tasered him for breaking up a school fight." Shocked, I clicked on the link provided in the Tweet, leading me to a story on a site called Alternet.com. The headline read the same: "17-Year-Old Boy in Coma, Fighting for Life After Texas Cop Tasered Him For Breaking Up a School Fight."
(Worth noting, the first response to the Anonymous Tweet read: "bet he's black." Wrong! The teen is not black but rather Hispanic, so please cash in your chips at the nearest station.)
The idea of police tasering a student "for breaking up a school fight" seemed fishy to me, so I read on.
The Alternet.com writer states:
Noe Nino de Rivera, had successfully stepped in to break up a fight between two girls at Cedar Creek High School when school officials called in Randy McMillan, a Bastrop County sheriff department deputy. McMillan told the boy to step back and the teen obliged, with his hands in the air. Yet, in a vicious act of police brutality, McMillan tasered the boy anyway, who fell onto his face and was knocked unconscious. [bold emphasis mine]
Is anyone else's B.S.-alert going off right now? Really? A police offer will taser a student for breaking up a fight? And they'll taser him "anyway" when he abides by police requests to step back?
So I went to the original source linked to in the Alternet.com article, the local news story (KXAN in Austin, TX). Not surprisingly, the report there is glaringly different:
The Sheriff's Office says the teenager interfered with officers trying to break up a fist fight between two girls. They say he made aggressive moves, and was tased.
Ahh. So did the teen break up a fist fight, as Alternet.com describes, or was he interfering with officers trying to do so? Also, the police claim he made aggressive moves, yet the Alternet.com article claims he cooperated and backed away when asked to do so.
What's most irritating here is that the Alternet.com article cites the local news story. So how it is one reads the local news story's report, and spins it into: 'Boy tasered for breaking up a fight'?
Police use of tasers is admittedly controversial and should be re-examined, as there are too many stories of individuals suffering severe reactions, including death. That said, tasers are currently allowed and considered by many to be the most effective way to control a situation. Pray tell, what should a police officer do with a grown male who is being aggressive? Yell at him until he stops? Shoot him the leg? Engage him in a fistfight? (Imagine the videos that would go viral, of a police officer decking a student.) Sadly, there are few options.
We complain about crime and violence in our schools and in our neighborhoods, yet we want to tie the hands of those who seek to protect us, then smear them with false headlines? Sorry, count me out.