Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Don’t tase me bro

Most everyone’s seen the video of a University of Florida student being tasered during an address by John Kerry. It’s synonymous with the phrase, “don’t tase me bro,” which Andrew Meyer yelled before screaming in agony as electric current flowed through his body.

One clip of the scene is available on YouTube.

Tasers, stun-guns and the like have attracted much media attention in recent years. According to Wikipedia, Amnesty International has attributed 245 deaths to persons shot by tasers.

We’ve been following the story of driver Larry Works here at Land Line. Larry and his wife Chris are team drivers from Tennessee who regularly stop at the Petro truck stop on I-44 in Joplin, MO.

In July 2006, Larry and Chris were told by an off-duty Newton County, MO, sheriff’s deputy to move their truck, and then were told to get out of the truck. The Newton County Sheriff later told me the deputy was part of a hired security detail working for a motor carrier at the truck stop.

Later, Larry was shot seven times by deputies with Taser guns, enough to require him to be hospitalized, in a scene that was probably much less comical than the one involving Mr. Meyer.

We’ve got a story on Larry’s plight on the Land Line Magazine Web site.

But the story brings up some important questions: who hires security guards at truck stops, are off-duty police or for-hire security guards armed? What are they authorized to do?

When a police officer is working for a private company, but wearing their sworn officer clothing and armed with a gun or stun-gun, what authority do they have to tell a driver not to park in a particular space?

If they’re hired by the truck stop it’s one issue, but do larger companies specifically compete with other companies or independent drivers at truck stop spaces as well?

If you’re a trucker or used to drive truck, have you ever encountered off-duty police or security guards giving a driver a hard time at a truck stop?

Please e-mail me at charlie_morasch@landlinemag.com, I want to hear your stories.