We have to wait two paragraphs to find out exactly why the taser was used:
Police said the 38-year-old man had attacked officers with a hammer at a Paris apartment block after being asked for identity papers.
He was also tear-gassed and struck with a baton, an official added.
Oh. Of course, the preceding paragraph is dedicated solely to nudging us in the direction of sympathy for the hammer-wielding thug:
An immigrant from Mali has died after French police shot him twice with a Taser electric stun gun during a fracas, officials say.
How carefully worded. He's identified as an immigrant because they want us to suspect racism might be involved - otherwise they'd go out of their way to avoid mentioning that fact.
Also, in what way is one man attacking police officers with a hammer a "fracas"? Fracas means "a noisy, disorderly fight or quarrel", doesn't it? It's a word that makes me think of two evenly matched sides being involved, in any case.
This sounds more like attempted murder. Not that I'm expecting any sort of honesty from the BBC, you understand, but it can't hurt to ask these questions.
Apparently, the incident will "reignite debate over the use of tasers" in France.
I've never fully understood this "controversy over the use of tasers" business; French police officers are armed with actual guns as standard, and I presume that if an individual attacks them with a potentially deadly weapon, for example with a hammer, and they feel their lives are in danger then they're entitled to shoot him, to kill if necessary.
Anyway, the main concern of human rights groups is that this poor dear was stunned twice; but to me, the actions of the police here are more than proportionate considering the circumstances:
The incident happened in the early hours of Tuesday when police were called to an argument at an apartment in the Paris suburb of Colombes involving the Malian, who was allegedly staying illegally in France.
When officers tried to check the man's identity papers he "flipped out" and grabbed a hammer, injuring four officers who chased him, a police source told the French news agency AFP.
I expect that certain French suburbs are already aflame over this. The Interior Minister, Brice Hortefeux, has issued a cautious statement which has not condemned the police outright - but is not as supportive as one might hope:
"From initial reports it seems that, faced with the aggression and violence of this person, police officers were obliged to use an electric charge pistol," Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said.Of course, he fails to mention that it's largely due to the wilful treason and gross negligence of his government that such people are in France to begin with, to take out their general aggression and violence on servants of the Republic whilst government ministers make promises they have no intention of keeping and look the other way.
Predictably, the human rights lobby are up in arms:
Why? Well, let's keep it short: He attacked a group of police officers with a hammer and injured four of them.
French human rights group Raidh called for an immediate ban on the guns pending the investigation.
It also demanded to know why the suspect had been shot twice.
What more is there to understand? He wasn't standing picking his nose when they swaggered down the street and stunned him.
What were they to do? Allow one of their colleagues to be killed or seriously injured in the name of strength through diversity or the injustices of French imperialism?
The debate I would like to see this incident "reignite" is the one about why such violent, primitive, unassimilable savages are in France to begin with, and why the allegedly "conservative" government of Sarkozy only ever wants to appease them rather than dealing with the issues they were elected to deal with.
Why are parts of many French towns and cities no-go areas for decent people? Why do the police and other emergency services have to face constant abuse, harassment and violence in the course of their duties? Why are the French treated like second class citizens in their own country whilst their government talks of them as an embarrassment and looks forward to their disappearance as "progress" - isn't any of that a debate worth having?
But of course, all we're going to get instead is hand-wringing and outpourings about "human rights" and "racism". I'm sure the police in question will end up being to blame for not just quietly letting him do whatever he wanted.
It all sounds depressingly familiar really, doesn't it?