This week the city of Charlotte voted to spend nearly $2 million on 1,600 new Tasers for the police officers of the city. These Tasers are reported to have a safety mechanism built in that the police chief has said is “critical” in preventing any more deaths at the hands of officers.
The new Tasers will cost $1.83 million. Most of this money will come from the city’s general fund, though $400,000 will come from an “asset forfeiture” account.
According to the Taser International of Arizona, this newest model, the Taser X2, is safer because there is a 5 second limit on each trigger pull. They also have an audible warning system that alerts suspects they are about to be tased. This alone, they say, prevents the use of the actual shock in some cases.
The whole drive to purchasing new Tasers comes after the latest suspect was killed this summer. Lareko Williams was pronounced dead about an hour after an officer fired his Taser as Williams was in the process of assaulting a woman.
In 2008, another Charlotte resident was killed by a police officer’s Taser. This one was 17-year old Darryl Wayne Turner. In this particular case, the officer held the trigger down for 37 seconds as his Taser delivered the fatal shocks. Only when Turner fell to the ground did the officer take his hand off the trigger.
While the new Tasers will only send 5 second shocks, the officer can immediately pull the trigger again to initiate a new 5 second round. There is no limit to how many times the trigger can be pulled in a row.
Charlotte isn’t the only city dealing with Taser deaths. Fayetteville recently suspended their Taser use when a suspect was killed with the device. Other cities across the country are dealing with similar issues.
Taser International defends the devices and says they are completely safe
After Turner’s death in 2008, a federal jury awarded $10 million to his family from Taser International. The city of Charlotte denied any wrongdoing but paid the family $625,000. Taser International is appealing the ruling.
Supporters of Taser use say it gives law enforcement another tool to use, between physical engagement and deadly force. But it’s often used in place of physical engagement and it’s proving to be more dangerous.
Whether you were arrested and the police used a Taser or if you just have questions about the case and how it will be handled in court, contact us for help.