At their most recent meeting the council once again shunned the electroshock weapons - capable of immobilizing subjects via a 50,000-volt discharge - as an option for the city's officers.
"My feeling, still, is that tasers for this department is not for us," Mayor Charles Garber said.The public debate on the benefits of tasers versus the costs ... such as the 32 people killed in taser-related incidents this year ... or the lawsuits (e.g.,the city of Warren is currently a defendant in two separate lawsuits concerning taser usage by police officers - one claiming that the excessive force ultimately led to the death of an unarmed 16-year-old, and another wherein the defendant claims that during a diabetic emergency he was victimized by a taser incident and a false arrest).
Referring to the Warren lawsuits, Memphis Mayor Charles Garber said city couldn't afford the risks associated with taser usage.
"There are two suits right now ... where in fact somebody has died after being tasered. It is not necessarily the Taser itself but the medical problems that they had prior to being tasered. I don't think we can afford the lawsuits and that is my personal opinion," he said.
"I'll try to keep an open mind but I agree with the mayor. I don't think we should have Tasers in the city of Memphis. I really have a problem with it. Things have come out in the paper. I know that doesn't happen very often but, for me, once is too much," Councilman Larry Wilson said, alluding to Taser-related deaths.
"I really couldn't support it."
I hope that other cities will use commonsense as they consider whether or not to purchase taser guns. It doesn't make sense to purchase a non-lethal weapon that seems to kill at least one person each week. Perhaps it is time for our national leaders to have a dialogue similiar to the one that took place in Memphis this week. Please sign our online petition asking for congressional hearings on taser torture in America.