The news that yet another person has died after a confrontation with the police brings the total of deaths arising out of such incidents to a staggering three in eight days that have involved the use of Taser stun guns and pepper spray.
The latest incident involved a 53-year-old HGV driver, recently made redundant, who was threatening to self-harm.
Called by his daughter, who was concerned for his safety, police officers broke down the door to his house and when he refused to come out, ‘restrained’ him by use of a Taser stun gun.
Only then did they realise that he had stabbed himself in the stomach, wounds which presumably led to his death a short time after.
Whilst the Taser cannot be directly blamed for this death, it raises the crucial question of the indiscriminate use of what is a potentially lethal weapon on a man so obviously disturbed and suffering from a deadly injury.
Tasers are not a non-lethal means of restraint – they work by delivering 50,000 volts to the human body and are designed to paralyse the muscles making them go rigid and rendering the person immobile.
Both Tasers and pepper spray were used by Cumbrian police last week against a 27-year-old man who subsequently died.
On Monday, a 25 year old died after pepper spray was used by the police against him, with witnesses reporting that they saw him being repeatedly beaten by 11 police officers while in handcuffs.
These three deaths bring the total of fatalities to five this year already, this does not include those deaths resulting from the use of police firearms.
Apart from the lethal use of Tasers and pepper sprays the police have been active in the use of ‘excessive force’ against all forms of protest that challenge the coalition government and its policy of dumping the economic crisis of capitalism squarely on the backs of the youth and workers.
Yesterday the Independent Police Authority (IPCC) released a report condemning an attack on a disabled student during last December’s protest march against tuition fees.
The student was forcibly pulled out of his wheelchair by police and struck with a baton whilst being dragged across the street.
Not that the IPCC has any intention of doing anything about its findings, which conveniently have been made more than six months after the event and are therefore out of time for any criminal charge to be brought against the officers involved.
At the same protest another student, Alfie Meadows, had to be admitted to hospital and undergo hours of brain surgery after being struck on the head by a police baton.
No police officer has ever been subject to criminal prosecution for any of these ‘incidents’.
The willingness of the state to condone violence meted out by the police contrasts with the summary ‘justice’ being handed out to youth and workers involved in the recent uprisings that were sparked off by the shooting dead of a young man by police in Tottenham.
This is not a case of the police somehow running out of control, they are perfectly in control of their actions.
In this period of the economic collapse of capitalism, the capitalist state is demanding that its police force drops all pretence of ‘community policing’ or ‘policing by consent’ and come out openly as the physical means of repression of youth and workers, armed to the teeth and prepared to use violence.
The capitalist state cannot be reformed or tamed, it must be smashed through the socialist revolution and replaced with a workers’ state, where the majority of workers represses the minority of bankers and capitalists.