Viral video captures tourist's tasing in Tumon
Tuesday, February 17th 2015, 4:53 PM ChST
Guam - If you're on Facebook, you probably caught wind of a video we shared sent to us by a concerned citizen that was truly shocking - in more ways than one.
The island resident happened to be on the scene in Tumon, and captured mobile video of local police using a taser to subdue a person, incapacitating him almost instantly. KUAM News sought answers to determine what led to Guam's Finest to take such an action, and to find out if it was even warranted at all.
In the last 24 hours, a video depicting Guam Police Department officers tasing the person, a male tourist, has gone viral. Although the footage is only a few seconds long, many are questioning law enforcement protocol when it comes to taser usage.
KUAM News showed former senator Adolpho Palacios the video Tuesday morning, and the footage made him cringe. "I cannot understand why they cannot just subdue him physically and approach him. He's not swinging any weapon or anything at all," he shared. Palacios served as a GPD officer for 20 years before serving as chief marshal for the Superior Court for two years. Although long retired, he disagrees with the choices made by officers who responded to a Tumon night club late Sunday evening.
"To me," he said, "the use of the taser at that point is not necessary yet in my opinion. I don't have to be there to come to that conclusion. The video is clear."
As trained officers, Palacios believes the male tourist was outnumbered, unarmed, and moments from surrendering evident by his body language. "The individual is probably only 160 pounds. He could've been easily taken down by two officers. And there were six there," he said.
And while the 22-second video only gives us a glimpse of what unfolded that night, C.J. Gallo was there. According to Gallo, the male tourist entered the club already intoxicated and causing trouble for patrons and security for at least an hour inside before police were called and dealt with the man for at least 15 minutes before tasing him. "Basically, they'd been warning him a few times and just got fed up and kicked him out," recalled Gallo.
"As soon as he stepped outside he was causing problems with the locals who were already outside - I guess waiting to come inside."
Prior to being tased, Gallo says the male tourist was uncooperative and resisted arrest. He continued, "What the video doesn't show is that they were trying to handcuff him. If you look at the video very carefully, there's already handcuffs hanging from his right wrist."
But was the male tourist simply lost in translation? Gallo says that's a possibility but still no excuse he says for disrespecting authorities who were forced to tase him. "If he would've just done what he was supposed to, take the handcuffs. Take it. And go to the police station .they would've found a translator and it would've been all cleared out. 0249 it wouldn't have had to go that far," he said.
While Palacios believes the community deserves an explanation, Gallo says he stands by the choices made by law enforcement that night, noting, "I think the use of the taser is still valid, but they have to reevaluate that. I'm sure they have a good policy. It's probably the application of that on an individual basis."
Gallo added, "These people are actually supposed to protect us. We should actually give enough faith that they're going to do the right thing. We shouldn't be scared on our own island of the people who are supposed to serve and protect us. I'm not saying 100% of them are perfect, but I'd like to believe that a majority of them would their best to protect us."
According to police spokesperson Officer A.J. Balajadia, the officer responsible for tasing the male tourist has been placed on administrative leave while an internal investigation is ongoing. An Internal Affairs investigation has been launched.
Balajadia says police responded to the club where the 30-year-old man refused to leave. When police arrived he reportedly failed to cooperate and was taken into custody for disorderly conduct, public intoxication, and resisting arrest.