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At least it wasn't a tank (lawsuit over damage cause by LRAD)

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  • At least it wasn't a tank (lawsuit over damage cause by LRAD)

    http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/09/23/40010.htm

    PITTSBURGH (CN) - An English professor says she suffered "permanent hearing loss, nausea, pain and disorientation" when Pittsburgh police used a Long Range Acoustic Device, developed to fight terrorists, on a peaceful demonstration against the IMF, in which she was not participating, but merely watching.
    Karen Piper sued Pittsburgh and its police force for negligence, civil rights and constitutional claims, in Federal Court.
    "During the G-20 Summit Meeting held in Pittsburgh in September 2009, City of Pittsburgh Police used a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) against civilians on or about the streets of Pittsburgh," the complaint states. "The LRAD, a distance hailing and crowd control device, was developed in response to the terrorist attack on the USS Cole in October 2000, and was originally intended to be used by American warships to warn incoming vessels approaching without permission. Among other things, it emits harmful, pain-inducing sounds over long distances. The LRAD is a military-style weapon, and it was used for the first time in the United States when the Pittsburgh Police directed it on civilians in September 2009. Plaintiff Karen L. Piper, a visiting professor at Carnegie Mellon University, was an innocent bystander on September 24, 2009, who suffered permanent hearing loss, nausea, pain and disorientation when the LRAD was activated without any warning. Piper alleges in this 42 U.S.C. 1983 civil rights lawsuit that Defendant City of Pittsburgh and its officials violated her rights under the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and that the City of Pittsburgh used the device negligently."
    Piper, an English professor at the University of Missouri was a visiting professor at Carnegie Mellon University when the police zapped her. She says she rode her bicycle to Arsenal Park when she heard that protesters were gathering there.
    At the time, Piper says, she was working on a book about the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. "Her field of interest included examining whether protestors have any impact on these institutions. ...
    "Consistent with her academic interest, plaintiff's intention was to take photographs and observe rhetoric on any signs."
    She says she "stood on the road beside a wall of police" and watched people "calmly and peacefully milling about in the park."
    The complaint states: "At or about 10:30 a.m., plaintiff observed the police marching in formation. Plaintiff, along with numerous journalists, followed the police down Butler Street to the corner of 32nd Street and Liberty Avenue.
    "Because of the police activity she was observing, plaintiff became concerned and attempted to leave the area."
    That's when defendant John Doe Officers Nos. 1-3 "activated an LRAD without warning, causing a continuous piercing sound to be emitted for a number of minutes."
    The complaint continues: "The LRAD was affixed to a motor vehicle that was about 100 feet away from her and moving along the street.
    "When the LRAD was activated, plaintiff suffered immediate pain in her ears, and she became nauseous and dizzy. She developed a severe headache. She was forced to sit down and was unable to walk."
    Piper says she was "an innocent bystander," and that "When the LRAD was activated, there was no imminent threat of harm to the police or other individuals, and defendants and/or their agents, servants and/or employees had ample and abundant time to determine how and/or when to activate the LRAD."
    She says the police "were aware, from warnings by the manufacturer, that the use of the LRAD was capable of causing permanent hearing damage and other injury, and said defendants deliberately disregarded the significant risk of bodily harm," and that they did it with no warning, in fact, that they "deliberately failed to warn".
    She seeks damages for pain and suffering, lost earning capacity, "permanent loss of a bodily function," medical expenses, negligence, and constitutional violations.
    She is represented by Witold Walczak, by Sara Rose with the ACLU, by Michael Louik with Rosen Louik & Perry, and by Thomas Hollander, all of Pittsburgh.

  • #2
    Re: At least it wasn't a tank (lawsuit over damage cause by LRAD)

    I hope she bankrupts that city. Pos

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: At least it wasn't a tank (lawsuit over damage cause by LRAD)

      This could be an interesting one......

      My experience with such Less Than Lethal tools for military/law enforcement is limited to tools like CS gas, flash bangs/concussion grenades, Tazers, and beanbag rounds for shotguns.

      Having been on the receiving end of all of them, in order to understand and appreciate their purpose and effectiveness...I understand now they all possess different flavours of unpleasantness.

      And I do believe they are all excellent tools when employed appropriately and effectively.....NOT disproportionately to the threat.

      LE/military need graduated tools to respond to threats...it would suck if they ONLY had batons and firearms.....then we might have more terrible incidents like Bloody Sunday and Kent State.

      However, I'd be keen to learn more about these LRAD and other related devices......I understand some work on sound/acoustic principals...others use microwaves(eek!) and others use a strobe type light.

      I know I would NOT be volunteering to stand in front of a microwave crowd control device.....nor operate one!

      I'm pretty sure I recall reading about certain types/models of police radar guns being recalled 10-20 years ago for health reasons.....I wonder how thoroughly these items have been tested?

      So for me, I see a two folks issue:

      1.) Have such crowd control devices received sufficient testing to ensure there is no risk of permanent injury?

      2.) Are they being used only where appropriate and proportionate to the threat?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: At least it wasn't a tank (lawsuit over damage cause by LRAD)

        Originally posted by aaron View Post
        I hope she bankrupts that city. Pos
        Agreed, for the most part. It should at least cause all kinds of heads to roll in the police department, and at a maximum it should substantially affect the ability of the city to operate on any of its "mandates."

        Originally posted by lakedaemonian View Post
        1.) Have such crowd control devices received sufficient testing to ensure there is no risk of permanent injury?

        2.) Are they being used only where appropriate and proportionate to the threat?
        1.) Probably not, as with most things.

        2.) Definitely not. There is a clear empiric tendency for people with less-than-lethal weapons to view them almost as "freebies" that do not require as much consideration as they actually warrant. The hierarchy of force can be ridiculous in where it places some less-than-lethal weapons or it can be rigorous but not trained very well, and so forth. It's definitely good for gangsters in police uniforms to not kill people wantonly like they too often do, but these dogs seem to perpetually need more and more training instead of more and more militarization.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: At least it wasn't a tank (lawsuit over damage cause by LRAD)

          Thanks for posting this, but why is it in 'Rant and Rave' instead of 'News'? People peacefully excercised their right to assemble and protest, and they got attacked by police without even a warning? This is one of the most dramatic examples that we've devolved into a police state that I've read in quite a while.

          I think of 'Rant and Rave' as a place for emotional outbursts or discussions of ET's; this is News of our Constitution being broken once again.

          Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: At least it wasn't a tank (lawsuit over damage cause by LRAD)

            Originally posted by Ghent12
            Originally Posted by lakedaemonian
            1.) Have such crowd control devices received sufficient testing to ensure there is no risk of permanent injury?

            2.) Are they being used only where appropriate and proportionate to the threat?
            1.) Probably not, as with most things.

            2.) Definitely not. There is a clear empiric tendency for people with less-than-lethal weapons to view them almost as "freebies" that do not require as much consideration as they actually warrant. The hierarchy of force can be ridiculous in where it places some less-than-lethal weapons or it can be rigorous but not trained very well, and so forth. It's definitely good for gangsters in police uniforms to not kill people wantonly like they too often do, but these dogs seem to perpetually need more and more training instead of more and more militarization.
            As we continue to see with Tasers via granny/kid/handicapped suppression, one ramification of 'non-lethal' weapon proliferation is the increased willingness to use them.

            This might just be an implementation issue where a relatively new capability simply hasn't had enough time for the system to develop a tested and proven protocol for usage, but I suspect not.

            Originally posted by shiny
            Thanks for posting this, but why is it in 'Rant and Rave' instead of 'News'? People peacefully excercised their right to assemble and protest, and they got attacked by police without even a warning? This is one of the most dramatic examples that we've devolved into a police state that I've read in quite a while.
            I would note that the person bringing this lawsuit to bear wasn't even a protester - she was a bystander that was there specifically for a research purpose.

            As for Rant 'N Rave - from the banksters' perspective this is all crazy talk. Just like the Occupy Wall Street protest was suppressed.

            As far as I can tell, that too was a peaceful protest.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: At least it wasn't a tank (lawsuit over damage cause by LRAD)

              Originally posted by c1ue View Post
              As we continue to see with Tasers via granny/kid/handicapped suppression, one ramification of 'non-lethal' weapon proliferation is the increased willingness to use them.

              This might just be an implementation issue where a relatively new capability simply hasn't had enough time for the system to develop a tested and proven protocol for usage, but I suspect not.
              That would be the optimistic view, certainly, but not a very realistic one. Less-than-lethal have been around in one form or another for decades and their use has been handled successfully by some entities and very, very poorly by others. As with most of the non-Constitutional problems with police, it is a matter of training. Police are a bit like dogs--they need good training and discipline or else they chew and tear their home up.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: At least it wasn't a tank (lawsuit over damage cause by LRAD)

                Originally posted by c1ue View Post
                As we continue to see with Tasers via granny/kid/handicapped suppression, one ramification of 'non-lethal' weapon proliferation is the increased willingness to use them.

                This might just be an implementation issue where a relatively new capability simply hasn't had enough time for the system to develop a tested and proven protocol for usage, but I suspect not.
                From my personal experience....we received considerable ROE(rules of engagement) training on their use.

                God help anyone using them in a disproportionate manner.

                I support their use.......if you're going to have a 50kg petite, poor upper body stength female law enforcement office attempting to arrest a 120kg angry drunk male with considerable upper body strength then some less than lethal tools are essential in order to provide a safer(if not safe) work environment...otherwise....stop hiring most women and some men who are not big/fit enough to perform the job without the addition LtL tools....as well as stop hiring people who cannot exercise good judgement and people skills.....but doing so could be construed as discriminatory/sexist/racist.

                Personally, I think it's a training and rules of engagement issue(combined with poor judement/people skills)...one only needs to look on YouTube to see heaps of examples of where LtL tools are used too haphazardly or inappropriately in my opinion.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: At least it wasn't a tank (lawsuit over damage cause by LRAD)

                  Originally posted by Ghent12 View Post
                  That would be the optimistic view, certainly, but not a very realistic one. Less-than-lethal have been around in one form or another for decades and their use has been handled successfully by some entities and very, very poorly by others. As with most of the non-Constitutional problems with police, it is a matter of training. Police are a bit like dogs--they need good training and discipline or else they chew and tear their home up.
                  I'd agree training is a big part of it.....along with effective Rules of Engagement.....but I would add hiring and continued employment standards......if you hire lousy people...training lone doesn't usually "fix" them.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: At least it wasn't a tank (lawsuit over damage cause by LRAD)

                    In Greece the tax collectors went on strike. I wonder how bad things will have to get here before the police cross the lines and stand with the protesters? Would it ever happen?

                    I mean, it's them, their parents and grandparents who are having their retirement dreams destroyed by the IMF and Banksters on Wall Street. It's their own children who will bear the consequences for another generation. Can't they see that?

                    Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

                    Comment

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