Police reveal Taser videos to City Council

Tuesday, August 18, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA – On Monday, the police chief presented to the Columbia City Council video recordings, as well as a written transcript, from an Aug. 1 incident in which police used a Taser on a Columbia man.

In a work session preceding the council’s regular meeting, Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton and Deputy Chief Tom Dresner played two videos recorded when an officer used a Taser on Carl Alan Giles, 27, in an alley behind Café Berlin, 21 N. Providence Road.


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Giles was arrested that night on suspicion of public urination and resisting arrest.

The incident is part of an ongoing investigation being undertaken by the department’s Professional Standards Unit. City attorney Fred Boeckmann, who was present at the meeting, said charges have not been filed against Giles for public urination and resisting arrest. He also advised those present to withhold their opinions on the incident because of the ongoing investigation.

Giles said he was not urinating in the alley, according to previous Missourian reporting.

The first video shown was captured from the vehicle of Columbia Police Officer Jared Fielding, who first made contact with Giles while he appeared to be urinating in the alley. The officer and Giles cannot be seen in the video, but their conversation was picked up by the camera’s microphone.

According to a written transcript of the video, Fielding was running Giles’ identification through the computer in his car and is heard instructing Giles to “stand back.”

“Stand over there, dude,” Fielding said. “I don’t like you walking up on my car.”

Giles asked Fielding three times if he was under arrest, to which Fielding said he was not, but continued to tell Giles to stay away from his vehicle. Fielding repeated the command eight times during the exchange, and said to Giles, “You’re making me nervous,” according to the transcript.

“I understand I’m making you nervous, but that’s not against the law,” Giles said.

Fielding then replied: “Then it’s not illegal for me to detain you. Turn around.”

Fielding told Giles that he was being arrested for public urination and told Giles to “get on the ground” four times and also told Giles to “give me your hands.”

After that point, Fielding told Giles to “get on the ground” eight more times before a second officer arrives and fires the Taser at Giles, according to the transcript.

After the Taser was used, Giles was heard saying to members of his family, who were on the scene during the incident, to call Kylar Broadus, a Columbia lawyer and Giles’ stepfather.  

Fielding used pepper spray on Giles during the incident, but it is not indicated in the transcript when the device was used, and the second video began recording the incident after the pepper spray was used.

The camera mounted in the second vehicle to arrive at the scene recorded the second video shown to the council. In the video, Giles can be seen kneeling with his face pointed downward, and a second officer arrives on the scene and fires the Taser at Giles. Giles fell to the ground, and an officer is seen on top of Giles.

Burton said the videos show that officers used “restraint” during the incident

“You have a zero percent chance of getting Tasered if you do what the officer says,” Burton said.

Ed Berg, a member of the Coalition to Control Tasers, was at the meeting and did not say if the decision by police to use the Taser in that situation was appropriate.

“It seems there was a way to de-escalate the situation before it was a problem,” Berg said.

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Jeff Muscato August 18, 2009 | 1:48 a.m.

"'It seems there was a way to de-escalate the situation before it was a problem,' Berg said."

Yes, there was. Correction: There were *eight* opportunities for Giles to de-escalate the situation. Unfortunately for him, he didn't do so.

He's just another impudent jerk who thought the law didn't apply to him.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 18, 2009 | 4:00 a.m.

The officer asked the suspect numerous times to get on the ground with the suspect totally refusing to get on the ground?

He was asking for this incident to be escalated as it was.

Great job CPD! Keep doing the job you have sworn to do.

(Report Comment)
Eric Cox August 18, 2009 | 7:12 a.m.

Same thing could have been accomplished without the taser.

(Report Comment)
Panama Red August 18, 2009 | 7:55 a.m.

yeah, he could have shot him ...

(Report Comment)
Bo Snerdley August 18, 2009 | 7:58 a.m.

Yeah, or beat the snot out of him. That would have been completely ok with the critix.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 18, 2009 | 9:38 a.m.

Eric Cox the suspect had all of the chances to comply and still refused even with the second officer on scene.

You gotta be pretty dam dumb or just plain uneducated to not comply after being told to hit the ground face down in a command tone of voice by a law enforcement officer that many times.

(Report Comment)
Will Barret August 18, 2009 | 1:34 p.m.

@muscrat - sure is refreshing to see such a mature additude from a young activist.(puke)

may be giles didn't want to get on the ground with all the piss on it?

or wait according the story

"In the video, Giles can be seen kneeling with his face pointed downward, and a second officer arrives on the scene and fires the Taser at Giles. Giles fell to the ground, and an officer is seen on top of Giles."

so after pepper spraying for non-compliance, giles is kneeling from the effects of the spray. There are now two officers present. And half the station on the way. All to take care of the threat of public urination.

Wouldn't a method for de-escalation be at this point to state "comply or you'll be tazered?" - considering the guy is reeling from the pepper spray?

and the reaction from the muscrat is:

tazer him!

might wanna stick to protecting animals davey.


(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro August 18, 2009 | 3:47 p.m.

("Giles was arrested that night on suspicion of public urination and resisting arrest.")
No doubt the dude was being arrogant, belligerent, uncooperative and disrespectful.
I also have no problem with the charges filed against the suspected urinator.
However, considering that the confrontational altercation just escalated into a "pissing match" between the officer and the young man and said young man was not armed or on pcp, I wonder how he would have been subdued if the taser was "out of batteries?"
Why was it so difficult for one, two or eight officers to handcuff this guy without resorting to a good tasering?
It's not like he was running away.
Seems to me like he was just being cocky and mouthy.
How scary, threatening and dangerous is that?
I guess he needed an attitude adjustment.

(Report Comment)
joe withheld August 19, 2009 | 2:13 p.m.

this transcript offers COMPLETE vindication of the CPD.

as i called it when the missourian first broke this story a few weeks back.

(Report Comment)

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