in many of [Texas'] law enforcement agencies, officers aren’t waiting for a possible life-or-death crisis before they unholster the Taser. Many law enforcement officers are using the yellow-and-black, pistol-gripped weapon as a first-choice persuader — like a high-tech baton. The president of TASER International told Fort Worth Weekly last month that the stun weapons his company manufactures are “not a disciplinary tool” and shouldn’t be used that way. Nonetheless, records reveal that the weapons, marketed as an alternative to lethal force, are being used in situations where lethal force would almost never be used — as a routine way of gaining compliance from people who are offering no violence or threat.The Weekly examined thousands of pages of records about Taser use in Texas, discovering sometimes extreme examples like in Wichita County where jail inmates routinely are tasered for having their hands outside their cells. “If Tasers are supposed to replace guns,” asked a man in Austin who received multiple shocks for playing music on the sidewalk, then if the officers hadn’t had Tasers, “would I have been shot for playing classical guitar?” Good question.
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Texas cops use tasers as 'high tech batons,' not substitute for guns
According to an article published (March 8) in Fort Worth Weekly: