While it would be nice to put the infamous Boise PD Taser incident to rest, it will unfortunately be with us for some time to come–thanks to ongoing investigations and recent policy changes.
Latest indication of more to come is a May 15 “special order” amending the BPD policy manual which requires incidents like the “Bum Taser” case to be reviewed by the Office of the Mayor prior to any action by the police department.
“12.05.01 Authority and Responsibility
The Chief has the ultimate responsibility for the conduct of employees and, therefore, has the authority to discipline employees. When a sustained violation involves excessive use of force, discrimination or harassment as defined in City regulation, or potential criminal conduct, this matter shall be discussed with Human Resources and the Office of the Mayor prior to finalizing the decision to issue discipline.”
Our preliminary checking indicates City Councilors were not consulted about the policy change. While it sounds well intended on the face of it, we have grave concerns about allowing the “office of Mayor” to weigh in on desciplinary matters. It is no doubt designed to prevent “double jeopardy” cases in the future, but to us it opens the door to political meddling (by future mayors) and reinforces the need for a citizens police commission in addition to the Ombudsman.
In the issue at hand, the chief did not fire the copper and at this late stage it is nearly impossible to terminate him since he has already undergone department descipline. Any further personnel action by the city probably would not stand up in court.
Investigations by the U.S. Justice Department and the Idaho Peace Officers Standards Training Council (POST) are currently underway. The Feds could file criminal charges and the POST Council–which certifies coppers– could also “de-certify” the guy, but neither agency will confirm the investigations or comment on any aspect of the case. Meanwhile the copper continues to work. We feel any arrests and convictions he makes stand the potential of reversal if either investigation results in termination.
It took many months to get details of the original incident released–and then only thanks to the Ombudsman who represents the citizens. THE REPORT came out last July.
For those who don’t recall, a Boise copper was found in violation of department policy when he used a Taser on the backside of a man who was handcuffed and had several officers sitting on him. He was heard on tape threatening to use the Taser on the man’s genitals.
The Ada County Prosecutor declined to file any charges based on an investigation by the Idaho State Police. Boise City paid the torture victim–who was never charged in relation to the incident–$150,000 in a SECRET SETTLEMENT that was revealed by the GUARDIAN.
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