September 1, 2009

City of Memphis Says 'No' to Taser Guns

Perhaps the tide is beginning to turn. It seems that the Memphis City Council turned down a request by the Memphis Police Department to purchase additional taser guns. In fact, the council seeks to retire use of the three current tasers being acquired by Police Chief Elena Danishevskaya in 2006.

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."
Good for you Memphis!

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.


RiPPa said...

My brother, there are a lot of things that happen in this city that makes me shake my head. But this one here makes me proud. When you consider the high rate of crime in this city and where it ranks nationally as such. This is indeed a bold move made by the city council.

Gunfighter said...

I wonder how many police-involved shootings can be attributed to the lack of Tasers?

I think that the city council made a poor decision, one based on mis-informed hysteria.

Unknown said...

RiPPa and Gunfighter - I made a mistake. This city is in Michigan ... not Tennessee. It is a much smaller town than I first thought ... however, I still admire their cautious approach...