Skip to comments.Bill to give police stun guns gaining ground in wake of shootings
Posted on 07/05/2004 1:51:33 PM PDT by demlosers
BOSTON - A bill to allow police to use high-voltage stun guns in Massachusetts appears to be picking up support in the wake of two fatal police shootings in Boston.
Final passage of the bill was expected as early as Tuesday.
``I think if the police officers had a tool like this, those deaths could have been prevented,'' said state Rep. Timothy J. Toomey Jr., a Democrat who is the House chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Safety.
``The persons hopefully would have been kept alive, rather than using deadly force. Clearly, I think it's a mechanism to save some lives.''
Seth Gitell, a spokesman for Mayor Thomas Menino, declined to comment on the two fatal shootings last week, but said Massachusetts is the only state that does not allow the stun guns, often called Tasers after the leading manufacturer, TASER International.
``These Tasers provide an important nonlethal option for Boston police,'' Gitell said.
The stun guns can shoot 50,000 volts of electricity up to 21 feet into a suspect, causing immobilization for about five seconds, giving police time to apply handcuffs.
Luis Gonzalez, 58, was killed Friday night after two police officers fired their guns at him in BOston's South End section. Police said Gonzalez threatened them with a knife in his apartment after they were called there in response to reports Gonzalez was threatening to harm himself.
Gonzalez was described by family members as an alcoholic with a history of mental illness, but they said his shooting was unjustified.
``They didn't have to do it,'' his daughter, Migdalia Gonzalez, told a Boston newspaper. ``They didn't kill a dog. They killed a human being,'' she said.
Bert Bowen, 40, of Roxbury, was shot and killed on June 27 after police said he pointed a gun at an officer who was pursuing him.
In cities across the country that have the stun guns, the use of Tasers has significantly reduced the number of injuries and deaths to suspects and police officers, according to TASER International.
In Phoenix, injury rates fell 67 percent and the number of deadly force incidents was cut in half. In Orange County, Calif., the number of suspect deaths dropped from 14 in 2000 to none in 2002, when officers were using the stun guns, TASER International said.
Hmm...the Police were called because the guy was threatening to harm himself...so they killed him, thereby preventing him from doing so?
Somebody points a gun at you, return the gesture with a real one of your own. I do admit, however, that there are times a stun gun would be appropriate. The cops should be allowed to carry these.
Yes, only when your partner has a 9mm pointed at the suspect as back up. The guy with the knife would be a good candidate.
The guy with a gun is not.
Every time I read about the police getting another tool I get nervous.
"Hmm...the Police were called because the guy was threatening to harm himself...so they killed him, thereby preventing him from doing so?"
Yes, in America only the authorities are allowed to harm or kill a citizen legally. You do not own your body, you are property of the state.
I agree, especially since I've heard stories that tazers don't work on everybody.
I knew they'd eventually get him.
So I guess this means the PD will be adopting a new "Diving for Cover to Save Your Ass" course.