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Call to Ban Tasers in San Jose
by Peter Maiden (pmaiden [at] pacbell.net)
Monday May 9th, 2005 11:16 PM
The Coalition for Justice and Accountability held a press conference on a rainy Monday, May 9, in front of San Jose City Hall, calling for a ban on the use of tasers, the electric shock devices now carried by all San Jose patrol officers. Below are (l to r): Aram James, Samina Faheem Sundas, and Richard Konda of the Coalition.
tested.jpggip9fk.jpg
After the killing of Bich Cau Thi Tran in 2003, the Coalition itself for a short time welcomed tasers as an alternative to deadly force. But the tasers turned out to be deadly themselves, and over 100 have since died across America after being shocked by the devices. The Coalition, anxious to prevent a taser killing in San Jose, issued a report Monday that says that tasers are being used with alarming frequency, and since they were put into use in San Jose, the number of police shootings has increased, not decreased as was predicted. “They are being used primarily on the vulnerable members of our population,” said Aram James, a Coalition spokesperson. “They’ve been tested in the streets, and we’ve had more than 100 deaths now, and if that’s not enough to say ‘look, it’s time to ban them,’ I don’t know what is.”

Perhaps 20 media outlets attended the press conference. Speakers were Richard Konda, of the Asian Law Alliance, Dr. Andrew Phelps, a mental health advocate, Corina Cardenas, daughter of slain citizen Rudy Cardenas, Samina Faheem Sundas of the American Muslim Voice and Andrea Prichett, of Berkeley Copwatch.

Below are links to two pdfs, the first is a copy of the very informative report, which the Coalition put together over the last two months under the direction of David Junya Taylor; the second is a graphic by Doug Minkler and Aram James. Below that are more photos of the event.
§PDF of Taser Report
by Peter Maiden (pmaiden [at] pacbell.net) Monday May 9th, 2005 11:16 PM
sj-taser-review.pdf_600_.jpg
§PDF of Taser Graphics Suitable for Leaflets
by Peter Maiden (pmaiden [at] pacbell.net) Monday May 9th, 2005 11:16 PM
taser_illustrations.pdf_600_.jpg
§Aram James addresses the Media
by Peter Maiden (pmaiden [at] pacbell.net) Monday May 9th, 2005 11:16 PM
aramjames.jpg
§Corina Cardenas is interviewed by channel two
by Peter Maiden (pmaiden [at] pacbell.net) Monday May 9th, 2005 11:16 PM
corina.jpggepxrk.jpg
jose.jpg
camera.jpg

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Bob
(cheroitaliana [at] hotmail.com) Tuesday May 10th, 2005 10:23 AM
What do you suggest as an alternative to electricity? Lead?
What should a cop do if tasers are banned and she is faced with a situation where a really big drunk guy is beating his wife and kids?
by junya
Tuesday May 10th, 2005 7:13 PM
In San Jose Tasers are not used as an alternative to guns. In fact, police now use their guns more frequently. Tasers are being used as an alternative to talking.

In April 2004, the San Jose Police Department armed all of their patrol officers with Taser stun guns, supposedly as a nonlethal alternative. Since then, fatal shootings by police spiked to near a 10-year high. In one case Johnny Nakao, accused of shoplifting, was first Tasered while fleeing, and then shot to death. In another, an unarmed Zaim Bojcic, for the capital offense of smoking outside the designated area of Starbucks, was first Tasered and then fatally shot by a policeman who stopped in on his break.

One year later, Tasers have resulted in an explosive escalation of force, used on:

- a man urinating in public

- a 5-foot-3, 136-pound unarmed 14-year-old who'd been subdued by a neighbor. Shocked for walking away from police

- an unarmed person (arrested for being drunk) bleeding badly after being hit in the head with a skateboard by another person. Shocked for refusing to cooperate with emergency personnel trying to tend his wound.

The list goes on and on. If police did not have Tasers, it is highly unlikely that they would have pumped lead into these persons (though certainly a possibilty, given SJPD's track record). In the first 3 months of Taser deployment, police used Tasers over 90 times. Compare that with San Jose's most deadly year for police shootings, when there were 9 shootings. So in 3 months, police used Tasers 10 times more than they'd used guns in their most trigger-happy year. Clearly they are being used where lethal force was never an option. And as the Nakao and Bojcic cases show, police quickness to use Tasers where perhaps no force would have been used previously, can lead to deadly conclusions.

Tasers have proven to be a tragic failure in San Jose, and so must be banned.

What do police do after they are banned? Good question, easy answer. First, go back to whatever they did before they got Tasers. We had fewer shootings, less use of force - a safer city. In addition to Tasers, San Jose police already have a wide range of force options:

1. Officer presence: the mere exhibit of the uniform and badge is a use of the force of authority, and yields complete compliance from the majority of the public.

2. Negotiation/de-escalation communication

3. Voice commands

4. Physical contact/control holds/takedowns

5. Chemical agents, e.g. pepper spray

6. So-called "less lethal" projectiles, e.g. bean bags

7. Impact weapons, e.g. baton

8. Canines

9. Police vehicles

10. Deadly force: a revolver on the belt, a rifle in the car

Enough? More than enough. So the second thing police can do after Tasers are banned is work together with the public towards further disarmament, identifying training needs that will boost force option #2 (de-escalation) to minimize use of other force options.
by wagner
Wednesday May 11th, 2005 1:38 AM
well they could just beat us again like the sixties.
those where some awsom demmo. you kids have no idea of how to put on a demonstration. the stuff I see today is just crap compaired to what we used to do.
by Joel
Wednesday May 18th, 2005 5:42 AM
well, you got it partly right. You are going through the use of force continuim. It does not have to be done in order, but it does spell out your options. first is officer prescence, then voice commands. If they won't listen, depending on the situation you may have to use physical force or OC, or baton or deadly force. Just depends. It's always easy to Monday morning quaterback, but every option other than voice commands can lead to death. OC/tasers/Batons/ are less lethal, not nonlethal. Every cop carrying those tools has had them used on them before they are allowed to carry them. So if they are so deadly, how come no dead cops?

When cops start expiring in training, I'll believe that Tasers are evil. Until then expect to get something unpleasant if you don't comply to the nice officers command.
by junya
Sunday May 22nd, 2005 5:02 AM
> Every cop carrying those tools has had them used on them > before they are allowed to carry them.

That is absolutely false.

Few departments *require* members to experience Taser shocks, though they might *recommend* it. Police are free to decline.

But lately the trend has been for departments to *prohibit* its members from being shocked.

The Phoenix AZ Police Department, the first major metropolitan police department in the country to issue Tasers to all of its officers, strongly recommended that officers experience Taser shocks until 2002, when one officer dislocated his shoulder and another chipped a tooth, both from falls after being shocked. The department now prohibits officers from being shocked (reported in USA Today at http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2004-12-29-stun-gun-danger_x.htm?csp=34).

Phoenix is not the only department: Metro Las Vegas NV no longer lets its officers use Tasers on each other during training because several officers fell after they were jolted and were injured. The department says it can't afford to take officers off the streets (reported by KLAS TV, in the last paragraph of story at http://www.klastv.com/Global/story.asp?S=1662679).

Taking a more proactive stance, the Scottsdale Police Department also banned officers from being shocked by Tasers during training, citing a concern over possible injuries (reported in an Associated Press story: see http://www.headcity.com/AmericanDream/staticpages/index.php/noCopShocks).

These departments have taken the highly hypocritical position of parroting Taser International's questionable claims of safety so they may use Tasers on the public, while citing safety concerns as the reason for their rejection of the company's recommendation that police experience Taser shock first-hand.

All of the above is detailed in the report "Tasers: A Reassessment" that can be downloaded from this page.

> So if they are so deadly, how come no dead cops?

Top ten reasons:

1. Police who do volunteer to be shocked receive a 1-second shock. In actual deployment, the Taser is programmed to deliver a shock that lasts at least 5 seconds (police can give a longer shock by holding the trigger).

2. Volunteers receive a single shock. But when police use Tasers on the public they frequently deliver multiple shocks:
- Gordon Jones, 37, died after recieving 11 shocks.
- Robert Heston. 40. died after cardiac arrest following 10 shocks
- Jeffrey Turner, 41, was shocked on the street and in the jail a total of 9 times before he died.
- Anthony Oliver, 42, and Lyle Nelson, 35, each died after receiving 8 shocks.
- James Borden, 47, immediately collapsed and died of a heart attack after 6 shocks.
- Timothy Bolander, 31, immediately collapsed and died after 4 shocks.
- Charles Keiser, 47, and Willie Towns, 30, each stopped breathing after 3 shocks.

In addition, of the 109 cases of deaths following Tasers at http://www.azcentral.com/specials/special43/articles/1224taserlist24-ON.html, at least 20 more are reported as receiving multiple shocks. Researchers are suggesting a link between multiple shocks and death. As a result, some police departments now have policies restricting the number of shocks (Toledo Ohio, for example, after the death of Jeffrey Turner).

3. Volunteers are not shot with prongs. That's too risky, since the prongs may hit the eyes. Instead, the probes are taped to the volunteer's body. But this also allows more control in determining the area affected by electroshock, since it is the muscles between the electrodes that are effectively paralyzed.

4 Police Taser training now always heeds the warning given in the Taser manual (in all caps in the manual):

WHENEVER THE TASER X26 IS BEING USED DURING TRAINING OR DEMONSTRATIONS, MAKE SURE THAT TWO PEOPLE ARE ACTING AS HANDLERS TO SUPPORT THE UPPER ARMS OF THE PERSON BEING SHOT, ONE ON EITHER UPPER ARM, SO THAT THE PERSON CAN BE SAFELY SUPPORTED AND LOWERED TO THE GROUND AFTER BEING HIT.

When Tasers are used on the street, police are not likely to be so gentle. After being shocked in his yard, Jerry Pickens, 55, fell backwards and hit his head on his driveway. He went into a coma and died about a week later. A coroner said he died as a result of a brain hemorrhage from the fall.

5. Volunteers are not sprayed with pepper spray before or after being shocked, as some who died were. Pepper spray interferes with breathing and, by itself, has been followed by death in cases. Tasers can paralyze the muscles used to breathe, thus heightening the risk of death.

6. Volunteers are not hog-tied, handcuffed, or held face down while shocked with Tasers, as some whose deaths were attributed to positional asphyxia were.

7. Police volunteers are almost always in above average physical condition. But when Tasers are used on the street, police are unlikely to screen the person for medical conditions or individual susceptibility before shocking them. Joel Dawn Casey, 52, was a psychiatric patient known to have heart problems. Deputies who shocked Casey claimed they were not made aware of that, and were surprised when he stopped breathing and died after being handcuffed. Police shocked a woman, unaware that she was pregnant, and two days later the 6-month-old fetus died.

8. Volunteers are free of alcohol and stimulating drugs (presumably) that increase the danger of electroshock.

9. Volunteers are not shocked after the intense trauma of being chased by police, as some who died were.

10. Police volunteers are not in fear of being arrested and imprisoned, or shot or beaten, when they are shocked. They are shocked under the most beneficial conditions possible: by friends and colleagues who are deeply concerned for their safety. For the rest of us, just getting stopped by the police starts our hearts to racing. Their whole presence is designed to stimulate that reaction, because it is designed to intimidate. And so the fight-or-flight adrenaline rush kicks in automatically at the mere sight of those red and blue flashing lights, that stern look, puffed out chest, eyes hidden behind dark glasses, and a duty belt loaded with weapons - including a gun that could be used to kill you at a rogue officer's whim. The stress of the any encounter with police leaves our hearts much more susceptible to failure following Taser electroshock.

In short, the Taser experience of police volunteers in training bears almost zero resemblance to the Taser experience of persons that police shock in actual deployment.

> When cops start expiring in training, I'll believe that > Tasers are evil.

Apparently, you value police even less than I do. Even I would rather see Tasers banned BEFORE police start dying from it, rather than after! Aren't the cases below enough for you?

- A doctor working for Taser confirmed that the stun gun was responsible in 2002 for fracturing the back of a sheriff's deputy who suffered from an undiagnosed case of osteoporosis, which forced him into medical retirement and has left him suffering permanent injuries. The deputy has been joined by other police officers around the country who are coming forward with lawsuits and complaints about injuries (mostly bone fractures) they attribute to being shocked with a Taser (This story is reported in the USA Today article cited above).

- In Salem OR Nov. 2003, a deputy police chief was hospitalized for a week with serious head injuries after a demo electroshock caused him to stiffen and topple backwards too quickly for the supporting officers to catch him (see http://news.statesmanjournal.com/article.cfm?i=70817). His 1-second shock was a bit more like the real thing: he was not being supported, and the prongs were shot into him (rather than being taped) and hit his upper and lower back, thus seizing both muscle groups.

> Until then expect to get something unpleasant if you
> don't comply to the nice officers command.

No - that's not how law enforcement works in societies governed by the rule of law. International law enforcement standards, agreed to by the USA, state that all use of force must be proportionate to the threat posed, as well as designed to avoid unwarranted pain or injury. Clearly, shocking someone with 50,000 volts because they merely said "No" to police does not meet these standards. Merely not complying with an officer's command is never a capital offense, i.e. punishable by death - except in fascist police states with utter contempt for human rights. That's not US, is it?

Perhaps that's why Ray Samuels, Newark Chief of Police, says:

"I can't imagine a worse circumstance than to have a death attributed to a Taser in a situation that didn't justify lethal force. It's not a risk I'm willing to take."

(reported in the Daily Review at http://www.insidebayarea.com/dailyreview/localnews/ci_2546330)
by Joel
Wednesday Jun 1st, 2005 7:40 PM
They used to shoot you with the taser during training, but due to the aforementioned fall related injuries, they now tape a probe to your back and to your ankle. 2 other officers then hold onto each arm so you don't fall.

It a less lethal tool. Not a nonletal tool. Every department that uses them in the sate of Alaska requires the officer to be certified in it's use before the officer can be issued one. This certification includes shocks.

Every officer I have talked to from other states that carries one has been through the same training.

Every muscle in your bodie between the probes contracts. You feel every single electrical pulse and their are 19 per second. When fired it the cycle is 5 seconds long.

You can't say anything except naaaaaaah. Afterwards your a little wobbly. That was me. I was not drunk, or on any kind of narcotic or in a pissed of combative state. There was no way they could put me in handcuffs during the 5 second cycle as my arms would not budge unless you broke the bones. At the end of the cycle that's when they handcuff, but some people recover very quickly So you tase them again if they resist.

I read what you said, about the med reports. I don't think you realize the taser is used as one more thing before shooting them. And cops are trained to shoot twice in the chest.

Sorry for the 100 people dead. W/O the Taser, think that number would be higher.
by junya
Wednesday Jun 8th, 2005 1:41 AM
> I don't think you realize the taser is used as one more
> thing before shooting them.

I think you realize very well that I realize how Tasers are used (in theory), because you observed earlier that I placed them in the use of force continuum.

In San Jose, the public was led to believe that Tasers would be an alternative to shooting people with guns, in order to lower the number of fatal shootings by police.

Now I don't know how things are done in Alaska, but in San Jose the public has not yet embraced the idea that mouthing off to a cop, or being drunk in public, or urinating in public, or 'acting strange' are capital offenses - with police acting as judge, jury, and executioner. Yet these are cases where police have shocked people with Tasers here.

Sorry to repeat an earlier post, but in the first 3 months of Taser deployment, police used Tasers over 90 times. Compare that with San Jose's most deadly year for police shootings, when there were 9 shootings. So in 3 months, police used Tasers 10 times more than they'd used guns in their most trigger-happy year. Clearly they are being used where lethal force was never an option. The public was duped.

> Sorry for the 100 people dead. W/O the Taser, think that
> number would be higher.

You may think that, but the fact is that in San Jose without the Taser the number of police killings was LOWER - much lower. In the 10 years before Tasers San Jose police averaged 2.5 killings per year (see the report from the San Jose Independent Auditor at http://www.sanjoseca.gov/ipa/reports/03ye.pdf). In just over one year since Tasers were deployed, police have killed 5 people - twice the average! Tasers have proven to be a tragic failure in San Jose, bringing more police killings, while being used in cases where the public never intended their use.

That's why, here in San Jose, Tasers must go.
by Khristine
Wednesday Jun 8th, 2005 9:05 AM
I don't understand your thinking? You seem to be only looking at what the police are doing. What about what the criminals are doing?
I can't change your opinion on tazers nor can you change mine, but, if your doing something wrong and your not complying with the officers demands and you know that a tazer will be used on you, then you made a knowing choice and you will be tazered. Should the cops just let the criminals run away?
If the public has knowledge that the police have tazers then the criminals that have them used on them are stupid! They are looking to have trouble with the police.
As for the ones that were hurt or killed by them, oh well! they had a choice not to be in that type of situation that they put themselves in.

Criminals are criminals and they deserve what they get. If your not a criminal but you want to argue with the police, then you choose the path you want to take with the police and be expected an ugly outcome.
by to Khristine
Wednesday Jun 8th, 2005 9:37 AM
Unfortunately, manuy cops engage in criminal activity--the code of silence and thuggery is systemic---it is truly hard to tell the cops from the criminals---they are not al heros as you seem to naively believe.
by Joel
Wednesday Jun 8th, 2005 10:56 AM
If the cops are so bad, do you have a citizens review board? An unbiased committee to look at complaints and the force used by the department.
As for cops, it's like any job. My department has 1 moron, who I hope will drop off the face of the earth, 2 lazy pricks that let other people do all the work and 1 bully on his way out. Out of 70 officers. No, there is no perfect solution, but you can keep them in check. If it's a good department it's easier to slide the trash out the door before it does something stupid that causes you a lawsuit.
If SJPD is overusing it, don't just go by the numbers, what were the situations that they felt compelled to use this tool? Would they have used OC spray(which some also want to ban)? Would they have used the baton? The most common baton strike, if not done just right can take out your knee forever. It's aimed at the thigh, but people usually don't stand still so you can hit them.
My Dept. does not have tasers due to cost. At least once or twice a week we have to use baton strikes to subdue a drunk that's beating his companion. It's not fun. The OC just seems to piss off drunks, EDPs and a few other focused individuals.

Anyway, enough rambling. What does the oversight committee for your PD say?
by khristine
Wednesday Jun 8th, 2005 1:24 PM
Again, I was brought up to respect authority. Authority figures are within my familys dynamics. Am I naive to believe that they are not heroes? Anyone, who puts their life on the line every single day for the safety of others, is a hero to me.
by you were brought up wrong
Wednesday Jun 8th, 2005 1:27 PM
You don't jsut blindly 'respect' or accept something or someone as trustworthy because of an authority position---that is comlete lunacy---do you automatically respect and trust the govt.--the president? Simply because they're in postions of authority?? History has shown us time and time again that those in positions of authority need to be held accountable--or they will become corrupted and/or abuse their authority--in general---Lear5n some critical thinking skills instead of mindlessly believing whatever you were 'brought up' with.
by Khristine
Wednesday Jun 8th, 2005 5:36 PM
Go ahead and call me crazy, I'm a woman. I do trust the people in authority. They wouldn't be in the positions that there in, if, we the people, didn't put them there. I'm sorry to hear that you have a problem with authority/rules. Seems to me that it's that type of person who, over and over again, gets themselves into trouble. I think that's where the tazer comes into play. ciao
by Joel
Wednesday Jun 8th, 2005 7:37 PM
If not the person in the position. Teachers,cops,clergy, etc., all have authority positions that we are expected to respect. do you walk into a classroom and say "hey motherfucker' to the teacher? That there are people in these positions that are low lifes and losers is what happens with human beings. All you can do is weed out the bad. I may be wasting my time if you have not figured this out by now.

If you just don't like cops, fine. They probably don't like you either.
by to Khristine
Wednesday Jun 8th, 2005 7:56 PM
*****Go ahead and call me crazy, I'm a woman. I do trust the people in authority. They wouldn't be in the positions that there in, if, we the people, didn't put them there. I'm sorry to hear that you have a problem with authority/rules. Seems to me that it's that type of person who, over and over again, gets themselves into trouble. I think that's where the tazer comes into play. ciao*****
First, what does being a woman have to do with it? What I am encouraging you to do is question why you simply "trust people in authority" just because you were taught to. I'm encouraging some critical thinking---I'm not saying all cops are bad---I've worked with them---I don't have a problem with authority/rules---I have a problem with blindly following them, without having a healthy sense of questioning them---Seems to me, you're the type of person that could be led anywhere by anyone who holds a postion of power and authority---it's people like you that blindly believe the white house spin, don't question, and go to the polling booth and vote in failures like Bush (et al.)
Very sad. And certainly not in the spirit of democracy. I believe Joel, despite his biased view, at least has a willingness to consider coming from a critical stance---without oversight---cops, politicians--throughout history have abused their power and authority---and in what's suppossed to be a 'democratic republic' (the US)---it is up to us to be that oversight, either directly or indirectly by electing bodies to do that job. It's called accountability. That's because it's a given that you can't simply "trust" people in positions of power/authority. This is not a question of adolescent "Let's break the rules because they suck"---This is a more nuanced argument that says, "Let's analyze the rules, see who benefits from them and if they're neccessary". This is the spirit that I approach rules/laws/authority/power.
by junya
Monday Jun 13th, 2005 6:06 AM
> Teachers,cops,clergy, etc., all have authority positions
> that we are expected to respect. do you walk into a
> classroom and say "hey motherfucker' to the teacher?

And, if you do, does the teacher pull out a weapon and shock you with 50,000 volts of electricity - and then throw you in jail for obstructing the duties of a teacher?

Or, if the teacher interpets your thrashing from the intense pain and muscle contractions as "continuing to resist", will the teacher pull out a gun and blow you away - with confidence that no criminal charges will be filed because the teacher "feared for his (her) life" and made a "split-second decision"? And attorneys from the politically powerful teacher's union will ensure that teachers are always above the law?

Dude - you must have one bitchin' school system there...

Although, I must admit, I'm really intriqued by the image of cops as clergy, we've already gone too far off topic, so I'll pass on that one.

by sarcastic
Tuesday Jul 26th, 2005 1:27 PM
OH No....What are you all going to do now? The public will be able to purchase tasers too!!
by cindy lewis
(guru4u1973 [at] yahoo.com) Tuesday Jul 18th, 2006 6:24 PM
I think you would have a different view if someone you loved were killed by police with a tazer, or seeing your comments maby not
by cindy lewis
(guru4u1973 [at] yahoo.com) Tuesday Jul 18th, 2006 6:28 PM
My fiancee was a here to me before the AUTHORITIES killed him your dad must be a cop
by Sam 1
Sunday Aug 13th, 2006 6:52 AM
I dont think they should ban them....the bottom line is this everyone...Tha police angencies all have policies on how, when and why they can use the tasers. If they violate them, then action should be taken. Second....check the testings and reports that taser has done on actual deaths. Third...the next bottom line is this...if people dont break the law, RESIST arrest, they will have no way of being tased. There is no repect fot good police officers. They bust there buts and lay there life on the line everyday so you can go to the store with out being raped, mugged or beat up. Now it does happen, and that is because there is not enough Police officers out there to protect everyone the way she should be able to do. Then you get STUPID people after breaking the law want to sue a city or agency for haveing to tase, use legal force to arrest, or if all else have to shoot and kill someone. Its all crazy. If the Police and city follow all guidlines and policies, they should be excempt from being sued. Tasers are a great assest to all Police and now citizens. How many of you would be brave enough to walk the streets at night with nothing...How many of you could handle being a Police officer. Tehy need as much protection as they can get. I could go on...but most of the protesters that would read this are to subborn and stupid to understand or admit you are wrong when proved you are wrong. But again...dont resits legal arrest or detention and no one will be tased, shot, or hurt. And if know one likes to obey the law, get out of the USA....
by Sam 1
Sunday Aug 13th, 2006 4:32 PM
junya, a little naive dont you think....those suggestions are great and work on alot of people, but not all of them. So unless you have put on a badge, unfirom and worked as a Police officer, you really have no idea what you are talking about, and I would like to see you to become a police officer to see if you can implement all of them and have them work all the time. If you are a police officer and those work for you, let us know how it is done, and teach officers how to make it work 100% of the time, so they dont get killed or hurt while trying to protect people like you and me.
by junya
Wednesday Feb 14th, 2007 2:51 AM
Oh Sam you got me - the secret's out: I'm not the police. So I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Dang it - discussions on police use of force almost always end this way. No matter how much study of the material you do, no matter how reasoned you try to make your arguments, no matter how you try to keep your discourse respectful, the bottom line is "You're not one of us, you'll never understand". Earlier Joel drew an analogy between teachers and police. I've never heard of teachers squashing discussion of their working methods with: "You're not a teacher! Just come into the class and you'll see why we need to beat the kids". They may think that to themselves. But they realize their role of serving the public means the public has a role in defining their working methods. Given the enormous unchecked power of the police, why do police expect less public scrutiny, rather than more?

Sam, you sound sincere, so I'm going to give it to you straight: nothing works 100% of the time. Everything comes with risks. And you don't have to be a PhD in statistical risk analysis, or a cop, to understand that introducing additional elements of risk to a situation does not make it safer - it increases risk. Simply put, the more weapons on a cop's belt, the more likely it is that something will go wrong. That's what we're seeing wherever Tasers are deployed. Until now police worked with no Tasers. Now, suddenly, they claim they can't work without them. Something's wrong.

You want to learn this lesson from a badge and uniform? Go find Ray Samuels, Newark Chief of Police, who says:

"I can't imagine a worse circumstance than to have a death attributed to a Taser in a situation that didn't justify lethal force. It's not a risk I'm willing to take."

Newark's police work without Tasers. Yes - that's still possible.

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