taser first, questions later

In Oregon, an investigation is under way to determine whether a Eugene police officer overreacted when he used a Taser stun gun to subdue a Chinese student who the officer mistakenly believed was trespassing in an apartment: Another Tasering probed.

The student, a Chinese citizen who began attending language training classes last month at the University of Oregon, was confronted September 22 inside his rental townhouse by police officers who thought he and his roommate were trespassing.

A prospective tenant of the apartment saw a man sleeping inside and reported it to police. The apartment complex has apparently had problems with transients before, and the landlord told police he believed the unit should have been vacant.

So the cops went in to take a look. And at some point, they busted out the Taser, and used it to subdue the student, who does not speak English.

It was right about then that the landlord realized that the two Asian men inside the apartment had picked up keys for the unit from his office about three hours earlier. Oops. The cops just stunned these dudes for being in their own apartment.

The officers -- who apparently could not communicate verbally with the Chinese men -- initially detained the students. They were released at the scene after the landlord realized that they were the apartment's rightful occupants.

A city investigation is under way to determine whether the officer who fired the Taser into the student broke police department rules. Meanwhile, the student has reportedly contacted attorneys to represent him: Tasered student seeks legal aid.

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