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Oct 16, 2011

Policewoman mistakes her Glock for her Taser.

You have to wonder if some police are trigger happy, poorly trained or just bloody stupid.

Last month police shot a teenager after he had used a curtain rod as a weapon to drive off home invaders who had threatened his sister with knives. The shooting occurred when police arrived and ordered him to put it down:

"He went to put it down, but he (paused) and they shot him," a female witness said. He was rushed to Westmead Hospital where he underwent surgery to his stomach and was last night in a stable condition.

Mr McMaster's mother said her son had defended his family from the attackers. "It wasn't his fault. He was trying to protect his sister and his little brothers," she told the Seven Network.

The teen yesterday told family he would have attacked the officers with the curtain rod, but did not realise they were police until after he had been shot in the stomach, the Seven report said.
Now a New South Wales coroner has found that a policewoman who shot a mentally disturbed man mistook her Glock for her Taser. They had been called out in response to a report that the victim was stabbing himself. He also stated that the police had carried out a flawed investigation in order to avoid embarrassing the force:
The shooter, Sergeant Sheree Bissett, and other police claimed that Salter was threatening another officer with a knife and that lethal force was her only option. During the inquest, Mr Mitchell was told Sgt Bissett had shouted "taser, taser, taser'' before firing her gun.

"There is a very strong flavour of confusion and mistake and, given (that taser) cry ... I think it is more likely than not that Sergeant Bissett mistakenly chose her Glock, having intended to employ her Taser,'' he said. The shooting, he said, was swift and without just cause.

"Without any proper warning or even challenge, Sgt. Bissett fired the fatal shot ... apparently without taking time for any thoughtful consideration of the alternatives on offer,'' he said.
In such operations it is reasonable to assume that the officers would be under considerable stress and probably deserve some sympathy for the circumstances they have to deal with. Such situations would be bizarre and nerve wracking, but witness statements indicate that the victim was stabbing himself in the throat at the time the shot was fired. This is hardly a threat to officers.

A Taser certainly looks different to a Glock, and without having tested one would most likely have a different feel and weight. It is difficult to understand how the officer involved could make such an error if properly trained.

The irony in all of this is that the police are heavily in favor of gun control and tend to self righteously insist that the public are not to be trusted with firearms, although if they were the kid they shot might not have had to fight off attackers with a curtain rod. If they were as good as they claim, perhaps this incident would not have happened:
A 42-YEAR-OLD police officer has been transported to hospital after his firearm discharged and injured his leg at a training range at Gympie this morning.

The Senior Constable was participating with a group of officers and two training officers in a firearm retraining exercise when the incident occurred, according to a Queensland police statement.

The officer was re-holstering the firearm when the incident occurred. He suffered a wound to his leg and was transferred to Gympie Hospital for treatment. The injury is not believed to be life threatening.


  1. Well, at least knew how to actually LOAD her gun.

  2. Thats a good point, and we should probably consider the fact that she knew which way around to hold it.

    That post is a ripper. I wasn't aware that a magazine could be inserted backwards.

  3. No external safety on a Glock. Sounds like a good idea for cops who might need to shoot in a hurry, but now I'm beginning to rethink that if they're going to have NDs when holstering the bloody things. Maybe that's one reason why Vic Police went for S&Ws instead for their new semi-auto firearms?

    As for the taser mixup, it's not unprecedented. I think something quite similar happened on a subway in San Francisco a few years back. Yes, very different devices and though I've never held a taser I'm sure it feels very different from a handgun, but in the heat of the moment things can go wrong (admittedly I'm not sure how much heat there was in the moment in this case) and you probably can't eliminate the risk if you're going to let cops carry both. Short of making them go in pairs, one with a taser and the other with a firearm, maybe the best thing would be to have an equipment belts that put the taser grip forward on the opposite hip.

  4. I think it would be a pretty surreal situation to be in, which could cause an officer to panic. Its hard to judge but some action needs to be taken to ensure that this sort of thing stops.

  5. I think taser should reduce the voltage. High voltage was the cause of killing the person when you shoot his/her.