Archive for Thursday, June 24, 2004

Under fire, K.C. limits police use of Tasers

Repercussions continue in incident involving stun gun on grandma

June 24, 2004

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— In response to an incident last week involving a 66-year-old woman, city police agreed Tuesday to temporarily restrict the use of Tasers by officers.

Police commissioners said officers could use the Taser, which delivers up to a 50,000-volt shock, only against people who are actively resisting arrest but not physically assaulting the officer. Before, officers could use the device against people who were passively resisting.

Officials also agreed to form a community task force to review use of Tasers.

The Kansas City Star reported Wednesday that the department has discharged Tasers 120 times since May 25, when the devices went into standard operation. That is much more frequently than police forces in several large to mid-sized cities across the country, the paper reported.

The police commissioners' decisions come a week after officers used a Taser to subdue Louise Jones, who was being given a ticket for honking her car horn at a police cruiser. Police arrested Jones and her husband, Fred Jones, 75, after the incident.

Community leaders have called for the department to fire the officer who used the Taser on Jones and for the resignation of Police Chief Rick Easley.

"Nothing can justify what was done. There is no excuse," said Henry Lyons, president of the Olathe, Kan., branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and a member of the Black Agenda Group.

Police are still investigating the incident and determining whether to punish the officers involved.

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