back to article Jedi light-sabre beats Taser in Oregon parking-lot fracas

For those of you who've ever wondered, like you do, whether the Jedi lightsabre or the Taser is the more effective weapon, we're delighted to report that the electric dispenser of justice is no match for Obi-Wan Kenobi's mighty glowing tool. Police mugshot of David Canterbury For proof, look no further than the case of David …

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  1. Richard 39

    So...

    They tasered him first and it failed, THEN wrestled him to the ground.

    Typical example of trigger happy, lazy policing and reliance on inappropriate weapons - can't be bothered to get physical, I know i'll taser him.. Oh crap that didn't work, I guess i'll actually have to do my job properly.

    Good on the man I say if a plastic toy can beat the police.

    1. Nextweek
      FAIL

      You're being an old fart.

      I'd rather the copper taser someone than risk them getting injured and them having sick leave due to a concussion.

      Also think about it from a risk point of view. You are looking at someone that is fit and strong, they are acting out of character. Perhaps they are high on drugs and still have the needle in their pocket.

      Which approach would you take to minimise risk to yourself and the suspect?

      1. HMB

        Because people never hit their head when falling after being tasered. They never get concussion, fits or convulsions. It doesn't sometimes cause ventricular fibrillation either.

        Tasers are an important tool in a cops arsenal, but they are a very long way from safe. When you see a taser demo on TV with cops, they're usually set up so the person doing the demo doesn't have to fall on to a hard surface like concrete and there are paramedics on standby.

        It's quite possible while you can't control your body to fall and hit your head on something hard enough to kill you.

      2. Hugh Jorgen
        Flame

        Bloody liberals

        In the good ol Days the officers partners.... one Smith and the other Weston... would have had a loud and fairly definitive chat to the perp after which the perp would have lodged a complaint to our old friend St Peter.

        If the US old bill wasn't so scared of the words "Rodney King" and some tard with an iPhone they wouldn't have any need for Tasers. What's wrong with someone fucking up getting dealt with quickly and simply nowadays?

        As for your critique, my personal view is stuff it back up your arse and let the police do their job.

      3. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        "I'd rather the copper taser someone than risk them getting injured"

        Down the road in Fullerton (California) it isn't about the cops not risking injury; they use tasers to make it easier to beat people to death. If the cops are trying to beat me to death, I think it only fair they should risk being injured.

    2. Audrey S. Thackeray

      Yes, if only they'd display the kind of bravery it takes to make withering comments on the Register we'd all be so much safer.

      1. Graham Marsden
        Boffin

        @Nextweek and Audrey S.Thackery

        Remember that the Taser is supposed to be a Non-Lethal (oops, I mean *less* lethal) alternative to using firearms yet, despite that, there have been around 500 deaths linked to Taser use, more than a few of which have been related to the target having using illegal narcotics.

        Given that a plastic light-saber is not a deadly weapon, using a Taser in a situation like this was completely unnecessary and I don't see that as "minimising risk to the suspect".

        1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
          Trollface

          @graham

          And how many deaths have occurred when police did not have the opportunity to use less than lethal tools? Night sticks , chocking victims while restraining them...

          The point is that if you put this in perspective the police acted appropriately.

          Pity that many readers just don't grok that

          1. Graham Marsden

            @Ian Michael Gumby

            Since you put the troll icon on your post, you save me the trouble of having to point the fact out.

        2. mika7367
          Linux

          re "plastic lightsaber not a deadly weapon"

          How do we know he didn't steal a pack of D cell Energizer batteries as well and make it "Live" :)

    3. Stef 4
      Facepalm

      Sigh

      "can't be bothered to get physical"

      Have you seen the damage done to a human body when a bunch of burly men throw it to the ground of a car park?

      Presumably if they had done that, and he had lost a few teeth, or broken his nose, or broken a rib (you know, the usual), then you would be complaining about their violent bully tactics, and that they should have used the tools provided for exactly this situation... The taser.

      There is no safe or harmless solution in this situation. Any action is going to have a potential harmful outcome. Thank god we have people like you to criticise any and every action taken.

      "Good on the man I say..." Yeah, he attacked three innocent people in the store, and you say "Good on the man...".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        He attacked the customers with a plastic toy light saber; kids do that same thing to each other all of the time. It was a Bad Thing to do, but he was not a threat. It seems to have turned out alright, and I hope that he gets the mental health treatment that he seems to need.

      2. jai

        @Stef 4

        "they should have used the tools provided for exactly this situation"

        Yes, an the most appropriate tool for this situation would have been to rush into Toys'R'Us, appropriate a different coloured lightsabre, and then return to the perp and defeat him in Jedi/Sith combat.

        Instead, the cops took the "hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good tazer at your side kid" approach, and we all know how that ends: with the woman you have the hots for getting off with her brother instead of you.

    4. Tom 13

      If a police officer breaks official procedure,

      HE winds up in the clink instead of the perp. The rules come down from central, the plods on the beat just follow them. Even when the plods think they are the most stupid thing to come down from on high since, well last week.

      1. Figgus
        Facepalm

        Anyone who thinks a taser is more likely to cause injury than a physical altercation has never been in a physical altercation.

        1. FrankAlphaXII

          Especially not one with Cops or Military Police. Id rather be tased than have a bunch of cops beating the holy living shit out of me. And Ive been thrown on the ground and on hoods of cars by the cops on a number of occasions (I grew up in a "bad" neighborhood, its a common experience). Yeah about 500 people have been killed over about 20-25 years since tasers started being generally issued.

          Which isnt too bad, and obviously not very dangerous if you look at how many "escalation of force incidents"* occur on a daily basis around the United States, If they were still relying on regular old firearms, there would be many many more dead.

          -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

          *Escalation of Force is Cop and Military lingo for anything requiring a weapons discharge.

          1. Graham Marsden
            WTF?

            @FrankAlphaXII

            Oh, so 500 deaths "isn't too bad"?! I'm sure that'll be a great comfort to, say, the family of Robert Dziekański who died after being Tasered by Canadian Police, restrained, cuffed and *THEN* repeatedly Taserered *again*.

            And if the cops in your "bad neighbourhood" were unable to effect an arrest without "beating the holy living shit out of you", the suggests that, given Tasers, they'd just Taser the "living holy shit out of you instead" and strikes me as a stunning lack of professionalism on their part (or a desire to be Judge, Jury and Executioner).

      2. Graham Marsden
        WTF?

        @"If a police officer breaks official procedure"

        "HE winds up in the clink instead of the perp"

        Sure, just like the officers who killed Jean Charles de Menezes (and then lied about it) are now languishing in jail...

        Or the ones who gave Rodney King a good kicking...

        Or...

  2. jake Silver badge

    C'mon, ElReg ... Formosa's Law applies, Shirley?

    http://www.everything2.com/title/Formosa%2527s+Law

    http://catb.org/jargon/html/F/Formosas-Law.html

    ::wanders off, muttering::

  3. JDX Gold badge

    used his lightsabre to snap one of the wires

    Must be pretty tough if he was still abel to control his limbs once hit.

    1. Avatar of They
      Coat

      Not really...

      He is a Jedi. It is the training.

    2. Tom 13

      TASERs don't fire a bolt of juice,

      they mostly fire a set of wires and then you have to hit the button to apply the juice. The perp undid the wire before the juice button was hit.

      These devices are notoriously difficult to use. Leather jackets can prevent the deployment of the darts, and even if they don't insulate against the jolt. Get somebody high on the right stuff and they would feel the jolt even if you hit square on the naked chest....

      1. durandal

        Not quite

        If you get it right (firing from more than 4' to get the separation, barbs penetrate) then you get the involuntary muscle spasm - you might be fine to fight through the pain, but you won't get your muscles to do what you want them to do!

        Anything else and you're in pain-compliance territory. This you can fight through, with enough incentive, and actually getting the barbs to penetrate (as you rightly point out) is another matter entirely!

  4. jai

    Sentencing

    "three counts of fourth-degree assault, second-degree disorderly conduct, third-degree theft, resisting arrest and interfering with a police officer"

    I believe the current sentencing for that particular crime is carbonite freezing...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Throw him in cell 1138

    Maybe he can share with the drunk Wookie.

  6. zaax
    Angel

    A young Obi-Wan Kenobi looks a bit ticked off there.

  7. bill 36
    Childcatcher

    interfering with a police officer?

    Is he an interstellar priest as well then?

    1. Jedit
      Alien

      The Jedi are extinct

      All that remains of their religion is a guy in a full body leather suit who breathes heavily at people - and his boss is a creepy old guy with an unnatural interest in his children.

  8. Arctic fox
    Terminator

    Firing on all thrusters.......

    ...........he is not.

  9. Roger Stenning
    Coat

    Ahem...

    *waves fingers loftily" This is not the drunk you are looking for..."

  10. Axe

    Less than Lethal?

    I thought Tasers were only meant to be used as an alternative to guns?

    Would they really have shot this guy for playing StarWars?

    Or perhaps the world is crazier than I thought?

    1. Tom 13

      Tasers being less than lethal

      are also used as an alternative method for subduing "potentially violent" suspects. This guy wasn't just "potentially". It's supposed to prevent having to enter hand to hand combat where both plod and perp can and do sustain injuries. Injure the plod and he's out on medical leave. Injure the perp and you're looking at ambulance chasers suing the state for millions for police brutality. Hit him with a TASER and the judge lets off the plod with very few questions.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Plastic Kids Toy vs Semi-Lethal Electrocution Gun

    only in America would this seem proportional action to take by the cops.... sigh.. truly tis an oppressive regime.

    1. EyeCU
      Unhappy

      Not only in America

      Be very wary as the police over here in the UK are lobbying for all police officers to carry them. Look forward to many more cases of people being tasered by a trigger happy cop if they get their way.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Um

      How can something be "semi-lethal"?

      Does it kill your expectations or something?

    3. jubtastic1
      Trollface

      To be fair

      The cops had no way of knowing it wasn't a real lightsaber.

    4. disgruntled yank Silver badge

      What would you do without the Americans?

      To feel superior to, that is.

      Somebody called the police because a person either intoxicated or insane was harassing people at the store. Now, he might've been tiny and frail, but he doesn't look it in the picture. So what should the cops do when discussion fails?

      I'll add that according to the linked story the picture was taken during a September booking at the county jail--Mr. Canterbury seems to have some history with the police.. TNow, of course this could be a case of the Portland cops persecuting Jedis for their religion. If the UK considers it a cause for political asylum, I've got a $20 bill to contribute for his plane fare.

      1. DoctorNine

        Liberté, Fraternité, Irrévérence

        Yanks are just proxy. You're forgetting the French...

  12. Alvar

    Playmobil...

    Please :)

  13. Richard Scratcher
    Alien

    Taser V Sabre?

    Pokey tasers and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side.

  14. Chris Miller

    This is why I read the Reg (on Friday)

    May the Force (if you have a force) be with you.

  15. Thecowking

    Well now I'll be humming all day.

    Duel of the Fates stuck in my head.

    I assume he used the force to cause the taser to fail the first time. Wise is he in the ways of the force. Much anger there is in him.

    1. Jedit
      Alien

      Judge Jedi?

      You can imagine a Jedi-run court, can't you? "Attack police officers with a toy, you did. Much alcohol I sense in you."

      Hopefully they'll catch some Nigerian scammers. "A better way to make money? No. Easier, perhaps - quicker, more seductive. But when 900 years old you reach, still in prison will you be."

      1. ian 22

        You are my only hope!

        The Farce is strong in this one...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surely the police were interfering with him?

    If walking around outside a toy store, swinging a lightsaber and babbling incoherently is a crime then I predict a surge in juvenile delinquency in the next 3 weeks.

    -and it's not certain I'll avoid the clink myself if New Year goes well.

    1. Glen 1 Bronze badge
      Trollface

      re: babling incoherently

      maybe he was saying things like "we need to find an alternative to fossil fuels"

  17. Ben Rosenthal
    Alien

    "They tasered him first and it failed, THEN wrestled him to the ground."

    One of these guys is guilty of excessive use of force :D

  18. Mage Silver badge
    Happy

    Han Solo

    But it was very long ago, not to mention very far away.

    My money would be on them all being dead 1000s of years ago.

    Lucas obviously based his story on a history found in a crashed UFO.

  19. Mage Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Formosa

    Not on the Statute books here.

    1. jake Silver badge

      @ Mage

      "Here" is TehIntraWebTubes. Formosa's law applies, by definition.

  20. Phil 54

    Haha! I read the last line as ... interfering with a police officer's rap

    1. Mycho Silver badge

      No, that kind of thing only happenned in world war 2.

      Witness: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFA-rOls8YA

  21. completely_hatstand
    Coat

    "interfering with a police officer"

    Am I the only one who can only think of this as some sort of sexual offence?

  22. tmTM

    What

    No pepper spray??

  23. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Up

    They HAD to taser him.

    They shoot people with replica guns because they look real.

    Same goes for light sabres. I mean, that cop would have looked pretty silly sans arm/leg/head if he'd made the wrong decision.

    Better safe than sorry, I say.

  24. Jean Le PHARMACIEN
    Coat

    @Richard Scratcher

    D**n! Beat me to it - my first thought as I read article

  25. Gerrit Hoekstra
    Happy

    Top tip for crimms: Smile for the photo!

    Remember, the jury will see your photo long before they see your sorry ass in the defendant's seat. And you know what they say about first impressions...

  26. Richard 120

    Sith

    Is he not slightly more likely to be a Sith?

    1. Peter Murphy
      Coat

      If he's Sith, what's his Sith name?

      Meth Vader?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And his always-helpful droid

        PCP-3PO

  27. M7S
    Stop

    @ Richard39, I think to be fair to the cops

    He's wandering around, ranting and waving something which could (perhaps not all police officers are experts in the subject of the rigidity of children's toys) give someone a very nasty whack on the head (leading to concussion, sub-dural haematoma etc) or (end-on) a jab in the eye rupturing the visceral tissue. Also should they fail to successfully restrain him he might go on to dash into traffic (result: he sues them for failing in their duty of care, or a car crash ensues in which someone else gets hurt) or he could just run about and whack someone else on the head if he slips out of their grasp (restraint training doesnt make an office Chuck Norris).

    He's already assaulted three people and the officers on the ground probably dont have time at that immediate moment to ascertain how badly this has been done. I expect that there's probably a procedure of escalation of warnings in line with escalation of "force" and whilst me might not be in a suitable condition to understand and comply if such warnings were issued (and I wasn't there but neither, probably, were you) but you've got to be reasonable about such things.

    OK they're paid (unless they are the equivalent of specials) to take risks to protect the public but this doesnt mean that they have to return home to their families mutilated or disabled as a result of people wishint that police work was like Dixon of Dock Green.

    I'll agree that there are plenty of times when police officers over-react or get it wrong, sometimes down to genuine mistakes, sometimes down to being belligerent and unprofessional. From what I see here I think that the intial deployment of a less-lethal option, but one trying to avoid direct physical contact given the information they probably had to work on was not unreasonable.

    Dont think that grappling someone is an injury free option. In many cases significant trauma can occur, to all parties involved.

    But the headline and tone of the article is quite entertaining.

    1. Figgus
      Facepalm

      You are far too logical for this thread. This lot seems to be the Daily Mail readers of El Reg, and logic has no place in their rhetoric of blame.

      The fact that tasing is better than getting your ass whipped by a baton or having 4 cops hurl you to the concrete seems to be overlooked by most of the posters here.

      If taking someone down and restraining them is so easy, I'd like to see most of the OMGPOLICEBRUTALITY crowd pull it off. Sadly, they are clueless about reality and find it much better to criticize this and go back to playing counterstike.

      1. Graham Marsden
        FAIL

        @Figgus

        The Daily Mail readers are the ones who are saying "Damnit, just give them a good Tasering or beating, never did me any harm, teach them a lesson they won't forget, doncherknow!"

        1. Figgus
          Happy

          @Graham

          Indeed, but I was referring more to the lack of logic than the premise of the argument.

  28. Smallbrainfield

    If he was into Trek instead,

    springing him from jail would be a doddle.

    1. Eponymous Cowherd

      Oh, do get real....

      As if plod wouldn't have fitted their cells with transport inhibitors......

  29. NickR

    I wait patiently for the youtube video

    of the CCTV footage, with digital enhancements and sound effects

  30. Eddie Edwards
    Unhappy

    Resisting being tasered is not the same as resisting arrest.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      resisting _CARDIAC_ Arrest.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > three counts of fourth-degree assault, second-degree disorderly conduct, third-degree theft

    What does this even mean?

    Third degree theft? Is that like holding the door for someone who turns out to be a shoplifter?

    1. Franklin

      With murder, it's based on intent. With theft, it's based on value. In most places here in the States, third-degree theft is theft of property worth less than $750.

      I'm betting he probably stole the light saber.

  32. Alistair MacRae
    Coat

    Ah Toys R Us!

    Toys R Us, you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy...

    He should have been more cautious

    1. Brian Miller

      And all between ...

      the ages of three and twelve! Not that they'll behave better on reaching thirteen ...

  33. TRT Silver badge

    It only looked like a taser. It was fired by that cop wearing a long, dark robe, who kept his hideously scarred face concealed.

    1. Sceptic Tank

      You want thi-i-is?

      C'mon, take it. Strike me down.

    2. BorkedAgain
      Thumb Up

      Funnily enough, that was my first thought as well...

      Force Lightning vs Light Sabre. Now we know.

  34. Mcbain
    Pirate

    This little one's not worth it

    The last time someone of the porky appearance pulled a blaster on a Jedi he left armless, lucky cop I say

  35. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @nickr

    On the new youtube video the bad guy shot first

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hahaha

    "Obi-Wan Kenobi's mighty glowing tool"

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Latest advice for scallies and chavs everywhere

    Remember lads, all you need to defeat the taser packing heat of the bobby on the beat is a 15.99 light-sabre from the shop that we know as toys-r-us, toys-r-us, toys-r-us!

    Either that or a mobile faraday cage!

    That gets me thinking of a new experiment for /bang on the beeb ;-)

  38. Jolyon Ralph
    Thumb Up

    Hokey Religions

    Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good taser at your side, kid.

  39. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Coat

    I'm not surprised at this

    For the force is his ally, and all Jedi know that tasers are such an uncivilized weapon....

    Now if you excuse me, I need to grab my cloak, for as my master would say "the Man I must stand up to!!"

  40. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    The midichloridians are strong with this one!

    But really, how many degrees of "actions that are frowned upon" are there? And do you count up or down and is 0 included?

    And then they throw in the meaningless "arrested for resisting arrest and interfering with a police officer". Hah.

    Sounds like imperials. They were not the Boys in White, perchance?

  41. skeptical i
    Devil

    Toys R Us at helliday time? Would drive anyone over the edge.

    Surprised it doesn't happen more often, actually.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Understanding

    Nonsense speaking was he think not I. They language lessons from Yoda need think I.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Excited delirium

    Good to see that not all cases of excited delirium syndrome are lethal.

    Which is of course completely uncorrelated to the fact that the taser did not work.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some technical details about tasers for those interested...

    Note - this info goes way beyond what the manufacturer will admit, so the certified taser "experts" will not be aware of any of this.

    The 1999-era M26 taser has a waveform that actually is a very short pulse of high frequency. These two characteristics actually did help to make it arguably reasonably "safe" with respect to direct cardiac effects.

    Where it all went wrong was the 2003-era X26 taser. They changed the output waveform to also include a DC offset pulse that repeats at the 19Hz PRF. This component (the majority) of the output waveform is no longer short duration and no longer high frequency. They've unintentionally abandoned two key safety features for a trivial 5% increase in effectivity. The death rate PER DEPLOYMENT approximately doubled with the introduction of the X26 taser. The overall taser-associated death rate jumped from several per YEAR to about ten per MONTH.

    Even one of the company's own experts has confirmed that the M26 has a wider safety margin than the X26. In other words, they've confirmed exactly what I've stated above.

    For those that still refuse to accept the cause-and-effect relationship between being tasered and sometimes being dead, please respond to the taser's 'Curious Temporal Asymmetry' argument (Google the phrase).

    For those that still feel that "tasers are safer than guns", please realize that tasers replace lower and safer forms of force in 99+% of all deployments. So your point is obviously true, but rarely applicable.

    To be clear, the evil swirling around tasers is related to the waveform design error that makes the X26 far more potentially deadly than is reasonable, and the false claims by the manufacturer regarding the risk of death from the X26 taser. It's the false claims about safety that increase the usage pattern to the point where all sorts of people are being tasered, and the occasional non-violent subject is being killed by police (that have been fooled by the false claims).

    I hope that this detail helps to clarify the complicated background of the actual problem with tasers.

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