Houston PD has Tasers.....and is using them!

Discussion in 'In the News' started by Macktee, Jan 15, 2007.

  1. Macktee

    Macktee New Member

    Shocking! Just shocking I say!

    Don't mess with Texas, especially the HPD........

    http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/metro/ ... 77611.html

    Taser use hasn't reduced Houston police shootings

    Web Posted: 01/14/2007 11:59 PM CST

    Associated Press

    HOUSTON — This city's police chief defends his department's use of Tasers, even though the stun guns have yet to reduce the rate of suspects shot, wounded and killed by officers, a newspaper reported.

    The City Council approved a $4.7 million contract to buy Tasers in November 2004, touting them as tools for curbing deadly police shootings. The Tasers were introduced one year after the shootings of two unarmed teens.

    The Houston Chronicle reported Sunday that Houston police officers have used Tasers more than 1,000 times in the past two years. But in 95 percent of those cases, they were not used to defuse situations in which suspects wielded weapons and deadly force clearly would have been justified.

    Instead, the newspaper reported, more than half the Taser incidents escalated from relatively common police calls, such as traffic stops, disturbance and nuisance complaints, and reports of suspicious people.

    In more than 350 of the first 900 Taser incidents, no person was charged — the case was dropped by prosecutors or dismissed by judges and juries. Of those people who were Tasered and charged with crimes, most were accused of misdemeanors or nonviolent felonies, the newspaper said.

    In an interview with the Chronicle, Police Chief Harold Hurtt said the type of crime committed, or whether charges were filed, have little bearing on whether Taser use is justified.

    "When people are charged with minor crimes or nonviolent crimes, maybe the reason is because they were stopped before they committed a much more serious offense," Chief Hurtt said.

    The issue of Tasers and how they should be used came to the forefront in Houston in November, when Houston Texans offensive lineman Fred Weary was shocked during a traffic stop. He was arrested and charged with resisting arrest, but a judge later dismissed the charge.

    The Weary incident followed an October confrontation in which an officer, called to quiet a noisy music club, shocked musicians and concertgoers. The incident was videotaped by club patrons and broadcast on the popular YouTube Web site.

    Those instances, coupled with the Police Department's admission that the majority of people who officers have shocked are black, have stirred controversy.

    "If they are still shooting the same number of people and the same number of people who are unarmed, you have to ask, 'What are they using the Tasers for?'" asked Sylvia Gonzalez, a former law enforcement officer who now helps lead the local chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens.

    Like Hurtt, Mayor Bill White supports Taser use and notes that none of the people who've been shocked have died. But in the face of public criticism, White and Hurtt have agreed to allow independent groups to study Houston's use of Tasers and the weapon's medical effects.

    Houston officers killed or wounded 46 people in 2005 and 2006. Eleven shootings, or one of every four, in the past two years was of an unarmed person, according to police and news media reports.

    The Police Department considers the Taser an intermediate weapon that officers can use any time they otherwise would use batons or physically confront people. Officers go through a four-hour course before they are issued Tasers and must pass requalification tests on the weapon annually.

    The San Antonio Police Department, which started using Tasers on a small scale last month, requires an eight-hour training course as well as a 40-hour course in crisis intervention before officers can carry a Taser.

    Many of the people Houston officers shocked with Tasers had criminal histories. But in 317 of the cases the Chronicle examined, no charges were filed in state or county courts stemming from the incidents when they were shocked.
  2. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    This is a good policy to have if it is followed.

    Like I said, if it is followed.