Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fear of Taser Abuse In Dekalb County, Georgia

What We Think About Taser Abuse

Who can forget this horrible video of a black man getting Electrocuted While Black in a Georgia police station a few years ago. Well, this may be become common place throughout Georgia if rogue police have their way.

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David Simpson of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports about the gradual trend toward the use of Tasers by metro Atlanta police could dramatically surge soon with a plan to give the controversial stun guns to more than 1,000 DeKalb County police officers.

He reports that three suburban city police departments — Sandy Springs, Marietta and Alpharetta — have issued Tasers to patrol officers in the last year or so, but the area’s largest departments have either not used the devices or limited them to special squads.

Now DeKalb County Police Chief Terrell Bolton has a plan to issue Tasers to every cop on the street. Bolton will ask county commissioners next Tuesday to use $1 million from a fund of confiscated drug assets to give Tasers to 1,011 patrol officers, detectives and sergeants.

With speedy approval and after officer training, DeKalb’s Tasers could be in wide use in six or seven months, Bolton said.

Previously, commissioners have not funded Bolton’s requests for Tasers and other equipment, but their objections focused on how to pay for them. Bolton had resisted using money confiscated from drug dealers because that revenue source won’t necessarily pay for the cartridges that serve as ammunition for Tasers or for replacement weapons.

But with the county budget tightening and recent drug seizures adding to the confiscation fund, Bolton said he changed his mind after he attended a ceremony recently naming a county park for slain DeKalb officers Eric Barker and Ricky Bryant Jr. Each officer left behind four children.

“I don’t want any more children on my watch without a father,” he said.

Bolton was not suggesting that a Taser could have prevented Barker and Bryant’s shooting deaths last January. But he said he fears an officer trying to avoid using a gun could be killed by a knife-wielding suspect who might have been stopped by a Taser.

Bolton and a special county grand jury also have argued Tasers can reduce police shootings — a potent issue in DeKalb, where officers shot to death 12 suspects in 2006.

One of the fatal 2006 cases and an additional fatal shooting in 2007 fit a scenario often described as ideal for using a Taser to save lives: a knife-wielding suspect confronting multiple officers.

Taser critics such as Georgia NAACP president Edward DuBose cite other cases in which suspects who were stunned with a Taser have died — including two Gwinnett County jail inmates and another man who scuffled with Gwinnett deputies.

DuBose said Wednesday his organization “completely” opposes Tasers. READ More HERE

Cross posted on the blogs African American Political Pundit and Electrocuted While Black

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