Print 10 comment(s) - last by Siki.. on Nov 1 at 9:48 PM

Better regulation and stricter guidelines could turn this problem around, says the NYCLU

The New York Civil Liberties Union has released a report claiming that New York police officers are using Tasers inappropriately.

NYCLU's report, called "Taking Tasers Seriously: The Need for Better Regulation of Stun Guns in New York," studied 851 taser incident reports from eight New York police departments. Tasers are electroshock weapons that use electrical current to halt voluntary control of muscles. If shocks are prolonged, they can lead to injury or death.

In addition to analyzing incident reports, NYCLU requested the policies and guidelines for using Tasers from 10 New York police departments for comparison purposes.

According to the report, 60 percent of reported Taser incidents did not meet guidelines that limit the use of Tasers to situations where physical aggression is involved. It also found that 75 percent of reported incidents did not involve verbal warnings before the use of a Taser, which is required under expert recommendation.

The report also found that 40 percent of Taser incidents involved "at-risk subjects" such as children and the elderly; over one-third of Taser incidents involved prolonged shocks, even though this can be fatal; over 25 percent of Taser incidents involve shocks directly to a citizen's chest, even though guidelines advise against it; 15 percent of reports involved people who were armed, and another 15 percent of Taser incidents were clearly labeled as inappropriate, where officers used the weapon on those who were already restrained by other methods such as handcuffs.

In addition, the NYCLU report discovered that people of color are more likely to be Taser victims. According to the report, 58 percent of Taser victims were black or Latino.

"Our analysis shows that police officers are using Tasers in inappropriate, irresponsible and downright deadly manner," said Donna Lieberman, NYCLU executive director. "This disturbing pattern of misuse and abuse endangers lives. Law enforcement agencies that choose to use Tasers must adopt clear and effective policies governing their use, and they must do so without delay."

The NYCLU is looking to turn this Taser issue around in the following three ways:

Law enforcement agencies throughout the state must reform use-of-force policies and Taser training programs to comply with nationally recognized expert guidelines.

The state government must play an active role in promoting and achieving universal adoption of these expert-recommended policies and guidelines, and in ensuring that local agencies coordinate their Taser policies and training programs.

The state government and local law enforcement agencies must require accurate, complete reporting and robust monitoring of Taser use.

The NYCLU made an exception in its report, saying that the NYPD has complied with Taser policies and guidelines. But others throughout the state have not, leading to the death of over a dozen New York citizens "in recent years."

Do some police officers abuse their rights as authorities? Of course. Just look at the last year of reports regarding the taping of law enforcement. Police officers have handled certain situations inappropriately in the past, and when the public would videotape them using cameras or mobile phones, officers began arresting those doing the filming. Police officers felt they shouldn't be videotaped while on duty, even though in some cases, they were partaking in some form of police brutality.

In August of this year, the First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that citizens had the right to videotape police officers while they're on duty.

What I'm saying is, I wouldn't be too surprised if police officers were abusing the use of Tasers to an extent considering the fact that there have been past issues with some police departments.

What do you think?

Source: NYCLU

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By dark matter on 10/21/2011 3:39:16 PM , Rating: 2
A taser is a weapon. Someone who isn't a risk but doesn't comply should not have a weapon used upon them.

Those officers doing so should be booted out, or the law should apply to them, as I class that as assault.

By TheEinstein on 10/23/2011 6:16:29 AM , Rating: 3
I used to do medical transport of the mentally ill, suicidal, and drug addicts.

The most dangerous person I transported was a 5 foot tall 100 pound (wet) 88 year old lady with some serious issues.

That said...

I have seen an officer ask a person for ID (the officer was sure there was a warrant on the person) and when the person ran he tried to tase him. No warning of the tase cause there was no time.

I have also heard of tasers being used on suspects who still resist (and powerfully) after being handcuffed. See the various cops shows where a handcuffed person kicked out a police car window...

Then I have heard of police tasering to gain compliance, even when a person may be Constitutionally correct in questioning the police officers authority.

Tasers are used more and more btw because people in juries cringe at seeing a billy club being used, but tasers? Meh. Bruises and aches or a heart attack? Please billy club me k?

Btw tasering seems to follow statistical patterns of crime. There is in some areas a larger amount of crime by minorities than their population index would infer.

By priusone on 10/23/2011 1:38:25 PM , Rating: 2
Just tighten up their "Rules of Engagement" because peace officers will always follow their rules.


By TheEinstein on 10/24/2011 5:51:58 AM , Rating: 2
It is about checks and balances.

Which is why I rejoiced on hearing the laws preventing videotaping police were slapped down so hard.

A police officer should have some leeway... perhaps he knows the suspect, knows the suspect has stabbed cops before...

I support leeway, but I also support strict and powerful punishments if they abuse their power.

I would want a death penalty by the way for police officers who commit murder. No escapes, no life in prison instead. And I mean murder not manslaughter, not self defense or the defense of another. A police officer has a LOT of power, and we must push harder on them to keep them in the act of following all laws.

By Siki on 11/1/2011 9:48:24 PM , Rating: 2
Why would you just boot them out of the force? They should be charged with assault like the rest of would be.

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