According to Amnesty International, 351 people have died for one reason or another after being stunned with Taser guns since June 2001 (Star-Telegram). Most recently Michael Jacobs Jr., 24 years old died after being stunned with a Taser in front of his Ft. Worth home. .And yet this issues of stun gun deaths has yet to make even a blip on the national radar screen.
We are not against the use of Taser guns. We are against the indiscriminate use of the weapon and for the recognition that it is deadly. Delivering a 50,000 volt to the human body without knowing what issues that the person might have is not a proper use of justice.
The weapon has a place it trying to avoid shooting a suspect. But officers sometimes use tasers when they aren’t even threatened. Just look at the cases that I’ve written about in the last couple of years regarding this weapon.
What we advocate for law enforcement agencies to move the use of taser guns down lower on the Use of Force Continuum. This is the escalating use of force that law officers use in hostile situations. They vary by jurisdiction, but in general it looks something like this.
Level One * Officer Presence
Level Two * Verbal Commands
Level Three * Empty Hand Control
Level Four * Pepper Spray, Baton, Taser
Level Five * Less Lethal
Level Six * Deadly Force
Taser guns are considered to be the same as pepper spray, and batons. I think it would be beneficial to add a 7th level, with Taser Guns being Level 5 or 6. Either way, these weapons are clearly more lethal that pepper spray and batons.
Please sign this petition, directed at Rep. Pelosi, Sen. Harry Reid, and the Congressional Black Caucus asking them to investigate this deadly use of force that disproportionately affect African-Americans.