back to article Texas cops taser diabetic seizure man

A Texas man who called 911 to request medical assistance for a diabetic seizure earned a tasering from local cops for his trouble, the Waxahachie Daily Light reports. Allen Nelms, 52, was suffering said seizure "during the early morning hours of April 28 when his girlfriend, Josie Edwards, called 911 to request paramedics". A …


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  1. John Bayly


    Could this be because the couple were sharing a bed?

    The police, noticing their surnames are different assume they're not married, and proceed to show them the error of their ways?

    It is Texas after all.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What do you expect

    Police are very nearly the lowest form of life in the US. The majority of the police force is made of uneducated individuals with few job prospects outside the police or military. It is very common for policemen to have failed at normal civilian undertakings and, with no other prospects or education, they feel that police work is their only choice.

    It's a really, really, really, bad idea to have your enforcers of law be disgruntled poorly educated louts with TASER's and guns... As "crime increases" you can expect desperate politicians to hire more flatfeet and crimes against civilians to increase.

    Pay cops more and hire smart/educated people. Dumb cops is a dumb idea.

  3. Dax Farrer


    Just encourages you to use it more, its not a replacement for good community policing.

  4. Marvin the Martian


    It's always fun to generalize, and easy if it's about them Am'ricans yonder.

    The only american cops I know are NYPD, one is visiting at the moments and recently switched from a psychology job (having a phd) to policework. Her brother is a cop since many years, recently moved to the motorbike unit. Oh, the two other brothers have a phd and an md between them. So much for being stupid lowlife.

    That said, if the facts of the story are true, fire them all including the (probably elected ---> which means the people likes it like this) sheriff.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Further Proof...

    ...that the majority of Americans are trigger happy cowboys. This is part of the reason why the rest of the world hates you.

  6. Tim Spence


    This is terrible, and one of the first stories like it (remember the Uni student that got tasered) that I'll be interested to watch develop.

  7. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
    Anonymous Coward

    With proof like that, who need numbers?

    "...that the majority of Americans are trigger happy cowboys."

    Six or seven policemen in one town in Texas are quite a sample. What couldn't I infer about the English if I used (say) the old SAS rules of engagement for Irish suspects or the Metropolitan Police procedure for Brazilians?

    Besides, we know the Albanians love us, and the Ivoirians at least prefer us to the French.

  8. Dillon Pyron

    Trigger happy?

    I've carried since Jan 1, 1998 and have never had an occasion to draw, never mind fire. I've walked away from fights because I know my responsibilities. Your generalization is insulting. That's like saying that all Brits have crap teeth or that they are so frightened of criminals that they have outlawed almost everything.

    Of course, you know who I am, versus being an anonymous troll.

  9. Dave

    And they wonder why we call them "Pigs"

    Pigs love these tasers. It extends the length of their penis, apparently. As soon as they got them, they couldn't wait to use them. Really, they couldn't, they started tasering people the same day. They tasered a SIX YEAR OLD KID.

    Police are always complaining that no one respects them. Well if the majority of them weren't PIGS with a small dick and a big gun, maybe they'd get some respect.

  10. Sir Runcible Spoon


    "That's like saying that all Brits have crap teeth or that they are so frightened of criminals that they have outlawed almost everything"

    You've been here then?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More Texas Taser Terror

  12. Josh Hamilton

    Cops dumb for a reason?

    First off, it wasn't until a few years ago that Officers were required to have a degree (of any sort).

    Next, the position tends to attract the Conservative Crusader type...

    What do you expect from Police anyway? They don't know if the next little old lady is going to shiv them or not- frankly, they are scared and paranoid (prolly about the Terrorists)...

    I agree that if we paid the job more, required a formal education and trained them to handle situations (psy-ops) better, then maybe this type of thing wouldn't happen as often.

    Until then, the only protection we have is the Press and the Courts (urhg).

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too Smart to be a cop?

    You have to remember this is a country in which in some areas (like New London Connecticut) refuse to hire anyone who scores above average on intelligence tests as a policeman.

    Their theory is that people who score to high are likely to get bored and quit after receiving costly training.

  14. kain preacher


    "I agree that if we paid the job more, required a formal education and trained them to handle situations (psy-ops) better, then maybe this type of thing wouldn't happen as"

    well lets see out here in California it take two years of college to gets (POST) cert which is need to come a cop (except for the CHP and you still need two years of college) and the starting pay is about 60k. problem is when cops look at a neighbor and write ever one off that lives in it, saying only bad people live there.

  15. John A Blackley

    How predictable

    ......that this would turn into yet another rant by the "if it's about America it must mean all Americans are subhuman" crowd.

    What a sad commentary on a section of El Reg's readership.

  16. b shubin

    Local police

    pretty much everywhere in the States, the local police have two primary interests: [1] arrest anyone who breaks the law, and [2] protect themselves. the well-known cliche "protect and serve" is notably absent, as police performance reviews have no metric for that activity.

    it is worth noting that, in the presence of a police officer, any sudden moves, raising one's hand or any other appendage can be interpreted as "assault", and moving in any direction can mean "resisting arrest" or evading a police officer. both will likely result in arrest.

    given the considerations described above, i can't think of a worse idea than calling the local police in to help a seizure victim. when dialing 911, they should have stated directly that they require medical help, not law enforcement, and that the guy is not in control of his facilities.

    yes, police can be ignorant and sadistic, like anyone else anywhere in the world. the job attracts people who like hunting and prefer hands-on intervention. as many cops as there are in this country, it's inevitable that some of them will be unbalanced; or maybe these particular officers were coming from a violent incident and were a bit worked up. maybe they just had a bad day.

    i'm not defending anyone, but the system worked pretty much like you'd expect it to work. this is the way the system is; "should" is a bad word. don't like it? then vote for reform-minded candidates (half of US eligible voters don't vote).

    i prefer to stay in the more liberal areas of the US; one reason is that the police tend to be more circumspect. i rarely go below the "Mason-Dixon line" (a traditional, somewhat arbitrary marker that unofficially divides the north of the US from the south), as some people there have a rather different concept of human rights (and, in some cases, of humans in general). i'd move to Canada, but the wife isn't ready to go back yet.

    having said all that, a poor, racially segregated area in Texas is probably the last place where i would expect a careful, reasoned response from the local police.

  17. Jim


    "That's like saying that all Brits have crap teeth"

    What's your point? Given that the above is widely disseminated in N America (even as a scare tactic by dentists), I guess you mean that people in the UK can generalise (and insult) like the best of them.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "......that this would turn into yet another rant by the "if it's about America it must mean all Americans are subhuman" crowd.

    What a sad commentary on a section of El Reg's readership."

    No doubt it is generalisation, but it is generalisation that is justified. Compared to English and Europeans where you read about some bad incident once or twice in a year (if at all when compared to this), we read about these typical "American incident" every few weeks. This reminds me of the Uni Student incident.

    If you want to blame people for these views. Blame the lack of respect and etiquette for people and the environment in American culture. To be honest, all we hear about US is the raise of tension here, there, everywhere. US likes to make enemies, but they don't like to make friends, the country is a direct representation of the people.

  19. Ammaross

    Some FYI

    "he stuck his head out the front door and said, 'We don't need the police.'"

    This kind of a reply to officers after a 911 welfare check is definately grounds to call for backup. Many domestic violence issues have comments like this. Heck, he didn't even know how many police were in his room. "I think it was three, three different lights". So, he was in a back room, with the lights off in the dark. Of course the police are going to react if his movement in any way resembled reaching under a pillow/bedspread/bed/etc for a gun. I doubt any IA board would view this as excessive force.

    "Compared to English and Europeans where you read about some bad incident once or twice in a year (if at all when compared to this), we read about these typical "American incident" every few weeks"

    Not only is this not true, but the USA has a slightly larger population (301 million+) as opposed to the U.K. (60 million+), or France (63 million+), Germany (82 million+), Italy (58 million+), and Spain (40 million+). Ah, there, we broke even. Surely you haven't been trolling all the papers in those locations or others.

    All in all, there are idiots everywhere, be they police or normal citizens. All it takes is the media to get the ball rolling.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NYC opinion

    Our new gung-ho mentality in city services has some downsides.

    When you call 911 to report a fire, an illness, or any other non-criminal activity, the cops will arrive whether you want them or not at YOUR door.

    I've known many good police but after conferring with my neighbors over the last few years we have all had (not very good) stories about the goon who normally arrives to follow up on these events that are called in from our building (and precinct).

    Yes, there are police with advanced degrees, but by and large, they will have more rank and more responsibilities, unlike the burly, hardly civilized "Officer Unfriendly" who arrives in our house.

    Frankly, the man is a dangerous ass, and he comes from "civilised" metropolitan New York.

    As for the "too smart to be police" -- this is a very true statement and has been documented numerous times in cities across the country. Even though my old friend, and previous Jeopardy (pre Ken Jennings) all-time champ Frank Spangenberg made it into the ranks (having a Dad on the force can help it seems for those who are overly intelligent), he is not what any one, even a cop, would consider "street material."

    And yes, cops rely on their weapons far too much here. Fortunately most of them can't hit the side of a barn (I've been to the range with them many times).

    Funny how I have to go to The Reg to read about this. The Amerikkkan press simply swoons over Paris H. and Prince Harry (not together!) on a daily basis

  21. Mike Moyle

    To the "Anon"(s)

    "Further Proof...

    Posted Wednesday 20th June 2007 13:23 GMT

    ...that the majority of Americans are trigger happy cowboys. This is part of the reason why the rest of the world hates you."


    Posted Wednesday 20th June 2007 19:25 GMT

    ...No doubt it is generalisation, but it is generalisation that is justified. Compared to English and Europeans where you read about some bad incident once or twice in a year (if at all when compared to this), we read about these typical "American incident" every few weeks. This reminds me of the Uni Student incident."

    I said it the last time one of these "all Americans are violent stupid doo-doo-heads" threads came up after a Reg story:

    United States population: 301 Million (approx.)

    United Kingdom population: 61 Million (approx.)

    Five times the population means five times the number of people doing stupid things*. This does not imply that a higher PERCENTAGE do stupid things, just that there are MORE PEOPLE here, so more stupid things happen.

    The other issue to remember is that something becomes news BECAUSE IT'S UNUSUAL! The fact that this incident is in the news at all (as it might NOT have been, 40 years ago) is because IT IS NOT NORMAL PRACTICE IN MOST PLACES!

    "...To be honest, all we hear about US is the raise of tension here, there, everywhere. US likes to make enemies, but they don't like to make friends..."

    In all honesty, I expect that that is, in fact, the problem: lack of information.

    How many US newspapers do you read... how many have you EVER read?

    If you actually WANT to hear about the good that happens, you can't expect that the international press is going to cover it, any more than I expect the US press to trumpet how many pints of blood the last Harrow blood drive took in. That's not what makes it into the international news. You need to read the local and regional newspapers.

    It seems to me that, if all of your information about the attitudes and actions of people in another country comes from what makes it onto the news in YOUR country then you, really, cannot logically claim to know much of anything at all about those people.

    The most dangerous person around, IMO, is anyone who could read that last paragraph and think, "I already know all I need to know about (Americans/police/Brits/French/Jews/Muslims/...)" - and I don't care WHERE that person is from, that person is a danger to rational thought and (if enough people think the same way) to any hopes of world peace.

    ""The mind of the bigot is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour unto it, the more it will contract.” -- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.


    * I suppose, in all fairness, I should include trying to explain logical reasoning to obviously biased anonymous trolls in the "doing stupid things" category, but then, I never claimed to be the brightest guy in the room.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What The Hell

    I can only imagine what the family must have been thinking. My husband has both Diabete and Epilepsi. I hope that that get as much money as they can . This is not acceptable.

  23. wim

    press coverage

    "...To be honest, all we hear about US is the raise of tension here, there, everywhere. US likes to make enemies, but they don't like to make friends, the country is a direct representation of the people..."

    Isn't this also because of the press coverage ?

    I am pretty sure that there is police brutality in Europe. I am from Belgium and I am pretty sure there is police brutality there too. Maybe the Belgian police is not yet tasering people on a monthly basis but they are also not regarded as the kind of people you like to chat to voluntarily.

    In Japan it is about the same. Best to ignore police as much as possible because once you are arrested you are guilty here. (Nobody makes mistakes in Japan you see) So an arrest is because of a crime and a crime will get you convicted.

    Japanese police are also very good at "assisting" foreigners to not make too much fuss about their problem to help the Japanese (perfect) person who just hit a cyclist by turning without signal lights and without looking while talking on her cellphone (Guess how I found out that one)

    Police are about the same everywhere I guess.

    Every man can endure hardship if you want to test his character give him power.

    And that proves that most police persons are not suited to have any kind of power over other people.

  24. John

    Bang Bang You're Dead

    They should never have given guns to the 'mericans.


  25. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Assaulted ?

    A group of armed, healthy cops felt threatened by a diabetic lying on a bed ?

    Thank God they had tasers. I shudder to think of the mess if they had only had guns.

    And the anonymous guy that precedes me is right. The rest of the world has this kind of incident like once every 600 days. In the US, it's more like once a week (and those are the stories we hear of). How can you possibly expect people to not infer that the whole country is full of trigger-happy fraidy-cat cops ?

    I acknowledge the existence of PHD-holding officers of the law, but really there aren't enough of those. Besides, complaining that people generalize police dumbness, then stating that you know one guy with a badge and a PHD is not really a counterargument. You're just generalizing the other way around.

  26. Frank Silbermann

    Compared with European cops?

    My wife is from Reading, England, but grew up in Geneva. She says she is much more frightened of the Swiss police than of American cops. She says the Swiss cops are really tough. When her brother was 14, he had a Moped and may have violated a traffic laws. A Geneva cop saw it and in panic he fled. When the cop caught him he gave the boy a thorough beating.

    His dad didn't complain, probably figuring "What do you expect when you run from the police?" But in America, that sort of behavior _can_ land a cop in prison. (Also, they probably had some sympathy for the cop; my wife's uncle and grandfather were both on the Metropolitan police force in London.)

    In America the press just jumps on a story like this, whereas on the continent it's probably just hushed up.

    As for the general anti-Americanism, don't worry; I predict the U.S. will soon abdicate from its post-WWII role of international leadership. We'll let you guys rely on your "soft power."

  27. spezzer

    maybe, just maybe...

    these cops, all with significant IQs, with a grounding in medical practises, decided that a good way to stop a fit is to send an electrical charge thru the sufferers body. If that works then surely doing it 2 or 3 times is even better.

    I think the cops are totally under-estimated and just requires a little "out-of-the-box* thinking. Wonder what the medics made of the treatment, maybe they could make use of electric shock for more of their victims - i can see it now - car wreck - broken leg - fuse the bones with electric current.

    No - really!

  28. Law


    In all honesty - why does anybody outside of area covered by that police department care?? I doubt anybody doing these comments have been taser'd or shot or badly treated to this degree by your own police... so why should you judge the whole country or a countries police system on one "reported" event!!

    You can't read into it and call american's dumb, you can't look into it and call english/theworld "tiny in comparison, therefore it's all right" either.... it just happens, and you look even more small-minded and dumb than the people you accuse!

    Those of us outside the US have dumb things happen here too, I mean, it was only a while ago that a German guy fell asleep with his horse inside a bank, or a chinese couple lived in absolutely hatred of each other for like 50+ years, and in UK we had the cornwal liberation army (or whatever - I forget the name) threatening to bomb resteraunts for the freedom of Cornwal?! WTF!!!!

    Granted - I have this picture of redneck police in a dusty town with guns and tasers and huge sunglasses... but that's basically because I love watching COPS on the Reality Channel! *bad boys bad boys, what-cha gonna do, what-cha gonna do when they come for you*

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In Ireland, if you call paramedics, you get paramedics.

    In the USA, if you call paramedics, you get cops. If you tell the cops you don't need them, you get electrocuted.


    A number of American posters have commented that this is the way things work "post-911".

    If you can justify paranoia, idiocy, and any breakdown in human rights with 911, then perhaps the bad guys have gotten what they wanted?


  30. Ted Treen


    This could never happen with British Plod (Plod = Cop, for our overseas friends) because if in the UK, one dials 999 for an emergency, it's generally 2-3 days before Plod calls back, and a further couple of days before they attend (if they do attend at all). It's vary rare to see them on the street as they're usually filling in mounds of paperwork, monitoring ethnic diversity, interviewing pensioners for blatant homophobia like asking the local library to display Christian pamphlets - and those who aren't doing all that, can be found lurking behind hedgerows with radar guns to catch drivers who dare to drive at 31.5mph instead of 30mph. I'm so glad I can sleep safely in my bed knowing that if there are any "unwitting" racists, or gay-bashing pensioners screaming around the country at 1.5mph over the limit, our stalwart guardians of the law are there to defend me - and, if I get burgled and in a fit of madness smack the burglar, our Plod will cart me off to the nick, and explain to the poor misunderstood burglar how he can have me prosecuted and sue me for damages.

  31. Law

    In England, if you call paramedics, you get paramedics.

    I haven't had any problems, and they turn up when I have rang... when my wife was chokeing at 3am I rang 999 (our 911) for an ambulance and it was there within a few minutes.

    Same month, different area I was driving in the countryside when I came across an accident with 3 teenagers, they had skidded off the road into a tree.. I helped them call the police and ambulance, put the most injured in my car and speeded off to hospital.... on the way there I saw both the police and the ambulance heading to the scene... within a few minutes again.

    Just because the media tells you how bad the services are doesn't actually mean it is true...

    Oh, and now they normally have a police presence in that area now where many others have also slipped off the road in the same place... so it shows that the speed-checks are not always about making money, since they ignore the straight road where most people normally speed just a few minutes after the bend!!

  32. Kay

    Hey, you idiot blokes.........

    I became linked up with this site by mistake, but explored it anyway.

    I live in the USA and must admit there are many times when I don't agree and am unsettled with what goes on in our country. And, like you, I am not in any position of power or wealth to manipulate or facilitate the changes needed.

    I was horrified to see what your people have to say!

    What you don't see or hear about is that there are many dedicated people, from all walks of life, who do great things for humanity and country. Just like people in your country.

    I don't overlook how wonderful your country can be.

    Sadly, it is the same behavior of people from any is more interesting to talk about the negative things and a waste of time on the positive. Unfortunately, the overlooked, positive things about my country is what you have missed.

    Every country, all over the world, has had its share of idiots.

    Your country is no different, and your history of blunders is longer than ours.

    I have always dreamed of visiting your country. Not anymore. Unless I can pack a taser and find where your idiots live. It shouldn't be hard to find them, I''ve heard they have crappy teeth, hang out in pubs and talk out of their arsses.

  33. Kate

    It's just as bad here

    "as some people there have a rather different concept of human rights (and, in some cases, of humans in general). i'd move to Canada, but the wife isn't ready to go back yet"

    The police here in New Brunswick, Canada, TASERed a mentally ill man last year and it killed him. So much for moving to Canada eh?

  34. RaeLee

    wake up people










  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You react how you are trained.

    It's true.

    You react how you are trained to react.

    I question why the officers on the scene weren't trained adequately in how to react in a medical situation. If they are going to be answering medical dispatches, they certainly need it. Sounds like it's an issue for the training department at the very least...

    Diabetics in seizure have been known to react aggressively, almost anyone in a seizure can act in an aggressive manner. That doesn't mean that that you use a TASER to subdue them. Ask any nurse how they handle it... it's not an uncommon occurrence.

    It sounds like the officers on the scene thought they should be in charge in the midst of a medical emergency. Shows poor training at the very least.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Surprises There...

    Oh, come on. This is not unusual. Police misconduct is common. With the drug hysteria and now the added frenzy about "terrorism", the police are no longer considered accountable for their actions, at least in the US. But even in the days before all this nonsense, police misconduct was rampant.

    Abuse of power by the police is routine, at least in the cities. Most of the abuse is focused on the so-called "disenfranchised" people, which means those people who appear to have the least ability to make credible complaints. The poor, the homeless, the various minorities, and especially young men of the minorities, are all routinely labeled as "gang members", "drug users" or dealers, and so on, and then mistreated.

    The problem probably isn't getting any worse; what I believe is happening is that it is becoming better documented as still and movie cameras begin to capture abuse formerly hidden from view. It is no longer possible to simply dismiss the complaints as the lies of a disgruntled prisoner or gang member. Now the actions are more easily captured and presented publicly.

    Most people were content to believe that the police almost never stepped out of line, and any such incidences were lies by criminals. They changed their beliefs when it happened to them - but by then, they were considered "criminals" and no one believed their stories. Perhaps now, with video evidence, there will be more concern for abuses of power.

    And to clarify: almost all the police are good people, trying to do a difficult job in spite of unbelievable obstacles. It is only a few bullies who do the damage, and the silence of the others whose lives may some day depend on getting backup. Those who get other police into trouble by reporting abuse, often find that backup mysteriously fails at a critical time. So while you may criticize these people for a "conspiracy of silence", they are simply choosing not to commit suicide.

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