Two Golden Gate National Recreation Area park rangers recently were forced to Taser a man who they found camping illegally on Muir Beach. The rangers approached the man who was occupying a wildlife protection area with his dog. According to the report, the rangers informed the man that he was not allowed to camp in that particular area at which point he became belligerent and confrontational with them. He then fled and ended up injuring one of the rangers while the other was injured trying to catch up to the ranger and the suspect. Backup then arrived and the man was tased to subdue and detain him.
Once the rangers were able to get the man inside their vehicle he was still hostile and confrontational. Rangers reported that the man tried to kick out the windows of the vehicle as well as causing other damage to the interior. He was taken to the county jail and booked on charges of resisting arrest and assaulting an officer.
For the local community, the incident brought up the issue of the use of Tasers – or what the National Park Service prefers to call “electronic Control devices” – and whether they should be used by park rangers in the state of California.
The issue was first brought under heavy scrutiny in 2012 when a ranger tased a 50-year-old jogger running on the trails in San Mateo County. The rangers initially stopped the man because he was running with his dogs that were not on leashes. The typically mundane incident turned aggressive when the man gave a false name and refused what rangers described as their “repeated orders to remain at the scene.”
The issue of the justification of the use of a Taser in that instance became one that the park service was criticized for and this latest incident may have reignited the issue.