Taser proposal will move forward

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Following a hearing at the San Francisco Police Commission that stretched late into the night, the seven-member panel voted 6 to 1 to authorize the San Francisco Police Department to develop a proposal for implementing Tasers or other less-lethal weapons.

Representatives from immigrant advocacy groups, communities of color, queer and transgender communities, mental-health professional organizations, and civil-rights watchdog groups turned out en masse to voice opposition to the plan. Out of around 50 speakers, just one spoke in favor of adopting Tasers.

As the discussion wore on, commissioners revised the resolution again and again. Interim Police Chief Jeff Godown had initially requested permission to draft a proposal in 30 days; it was extended to 90. Instead of researching the feasibility of Tasers alone, commissioners said the SFPD should look into other less-lethal weapons as possible alternatives. Another amendment prioritized outreach to marginalized communities.

Commissioner Petra DeJesus cast the lone vote of dissent, saying, “No matter how you dress it up, it’s a soft-pitch way to authorize Tasers.” DeJesus voiced concerns about how the departmental budget would be impacted. She also noted, “They’re being used more in the minority community, and that’s the community we’re trying to build trust with.”

Commissioner Angela Chan invited a series of guests to testify about concerns surrounding Tasers. Among them was Attorney John Burris, who has sued police departments over misuse of Tasers; a University of California Berkeley professor who gave a detailed presentation about Tasers and cardiac arrest; and Allen Hopper of the American Civil Liberties Union, who presented a video clip showing outrageous instances of Taser use. At the end of the night, however, Chan was persuaded to go along with the proposal.

Chan later told the Guardian that she supported the resolution because the timeline had been lengthened, which allowed for greater community outreach, and because the discussion had been broadened to include discussion about less-lethal weapons other than Tasers. Also, Chan noted that her suggestion for the force to review their use-of-force tactics as part of moving forward with the program was integrated into the resolution.

Several members of the San Francisco police force told horror stories about situations in which they said they could have used Tasers. A Mission Station officer suffered an attack by a Nortenos gang member in Garfield Park, and feared for his life until backup arrived. A Tenderloin Station officer was thrown into a store window after responding to a call about a trespasser. Just before it happened, “I was reaching for my firearm, and I was going to shoot him,” the officer said.

During the hearing, Chief Godown asked all SFPD officers to stand. He announced, “Everybody that’s in this room are my kids. I’m passionate about making sure they don’t get hurt.” Following a role-playing scenario in which a person waved a knife at an officer, Godown said that without a Taser, “That officer would have had no other option but to shoot that man.”

Equally disturbing, however, were stories about Taser deployments gone wrong. There was the petite African American woman who was at a drugstore buying candy when police attacked and Tasered her because they mistook her for a shoplifter. There was the Virginia couple that was hosting a backyard baptism celebration when police responded to a noise complaint and Tasered them both; the woman was pregnant, and could have suffered a miscarriage due to the electric charge. There was the 17-year-old grocery store clerk who suffered a heart attack and died after police Tasered him -- the whole thing started with his employer’s complaint that he was eating a hot pocket he didn’t pay for. Then there was the man who was Tasered during a traffic stop by cops who thought he was drunk. In reality, he was in diabetic shock.

Mayor Ed Lee’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Cristine DeBerry, made an appearance to say Lee was in support of the department’s proposal to move forward with investigating the use of Tasers.

Sheriff Mike Hennessey also offered comments, saying Tasers have been an effective tool in San Francisco jails, yet are rarely used.

Community members, meanwhile, raised a slew of concerns. They highlighted pending budget cuts and asked how these new and expensive instruments could possibly be paid for. They questioned the erosion of trust between police and the public, particularly in communities of color, where Taser use tends to be disproportionately high. Many people, particularly from the mental health community, voiced concerns about accidental deaths due to Taser use.

“I’m a great-grandma with a heart murmur," said Terrrie Frye, "and I wonder if the police will be able to recognize that when we’re all protesting the budget cuts that will result from these Tasers.”

*This post has been updated from an earlier version.

Comments

"The question is whether a proposed weapon's use can be so regulated that, on the whole, it proves effective in maintaining order in a rational way."
Arthur Evans on Feb. 28, 2011 @ 3:13 pm

Posted by Guest on Feb. 28, 2011 @ 3:25 pm

Baltimore MD to settle suit for $95k to man claiming he was tasered while cuffed & strip searched in public

http://is.gd/SOZBRM

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

I think tasers should be tested out on the proponents of tasers before the cops are allowed to use them here. "Let's" test them out on those who strongly want tasers and then document their feedback, assuming they live to give feedback. I think that's an excellent idea. As the saying goes, "put your money where your (big) mouth is." As the resident spammer frequently and redundantly says, "There's nothing progressive about closing your mind to new information," and this test will provide new information from the proponents of tasers. Just like waterboarding has been tested out on people (some of whom had originally said it was no big deal until it was done on them). Some called it "simulated drowning." Those who have had it done say it IS drowning. There's nothing simulated about it. Any takers for being tasered for intellectual test purposes? How about you Arthur? I would expect you would want to be one of the first to be tasered. No? You can't use your Life-threatening Aortic Aneurysm as an excuse for getting out of this test because clearly you don't give a damn about your Life-threatening Aortic Aneurysm and whether it blows, otherwise you wouldn't keep spamming on stressful message boards. You would get off of them and try to take care of yourself and your health. That's what an intelligent and thoughtful person would do. Their health would be their #1 priority and not this shit. So, how about it Arthur? You must know that someone with a Life-threatening Aortic Aneurysm WILL BE TASERED at some point and "we" must know what happens to a person in that case to complete the test to fulfill our requirements. Does anyone else agree that the resident spammer, Arthur Evans, is the prime candidate for such a test? If Arthur is not willing, how about that nasty, childish matlock troll?

Watch Christopher Hitchens Get Waterboarded
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LPubUCJv58

Posted by Life-threatening Aortic Aneurysm on Feb. 28, 2011 @ 5:08 pm

that involve motor vehicles or wiring? Just college theory classes and shamanic poetry then?

OK then, let me help.

If you ever worked on a car or a motorcycle while it was running you might have come between the distributor and the the frame of the vehicle, or the actual ground. This will give 40,000+ volts until you pull away from it or until the car dies from you taking all the voltage away. About the same as a taser from info I got off some pages.

I've never been shot but I have grounded out a motorcycle and a few cars, I know I would rather not be shot, without ever having been shot.

You can cite the misuse of taser's as a reason not to allow cops to have them, but I would rather suffer the misuse of a taser over the misuse of a bullet wound any day of the week.

I'll let someone taser me for your experiment when you let me shoot you.

Posted by meatlock on Feb. 28, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

Why is your "tool box" for cops limited to only bullets and tasers? That's being very limited, narrow-minded and extreme. There are other options ("tools") available but you can look those up for yourself.

Posted by Life-threatening Aortic Aneurysm on Feb. 28, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

with people in the manner that cops do, or even a door man at a nightclub?

You seem to see cops as magicians.

Posted by meatlock on Feb. 28, 2011 @ 7:34 pm

1. Why is it either gun or taser with you?
2. Did you watch the videos, where almost universally the abuse on the part of the cops happens in situations that do not require a gun?
These are trigger happy government employees attacking the people they are sworn to serve and protect.
3. Do you have law enforcement experience that informs YOUR opinion?
4. Why do you keep changing your name?
5. Next, could you change it to "Cock Gargler"?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 28, 2011 @ 8:09 pm

Cock Gargler....LOL. Yeah that's good. The right-wing rarely answer questions. They only know violence and that is all that is in their limited "tool box." They probably grew up in a violent or dysfunctional home and honestly do not know that there are alternatives to violence. These trolls will never look up anything. Instead, they come back with silly questions. The right-wing nut cases don't use thinking skills. It's not part of their rigid agenda. Instead they hide behind little phrases (like the resident spammer constantly uses) that sound "intellectual" and are meant to deceive, but are meaningless and just spamming.

"Let's think intelligently" and think past tasers and violence.

Posted by Life-threatening Aortic Aneurysm on Feb. 28, 2011 @ 8:46 pm

Thats some deep thinking between you two.

If cops handed out flowers there would never be another violent action again requiring a taser or a hand gun.

And then the arm chair analysis, too much. More clever outside the box deep thinking from my liberal betters.

I wonder what direction the various drug gang's politics swing? I bet they vote Obama in between murders, we should have the cops drop by and give them a stern yet friendly talking too and all the crime and violence will dry up. Because we just need to change cops, better yet, lets get rid of cops, without them wondering around with their guns we would all live in a bonged out deep thought liberal eden. Because wishing the way the world works will make it happen.

This particular brand of liberal, meaning SF liberal = child.

Posted by cock gobbler on Mar. 01, 2011 @ 10:28 am

I don't know what it is about this issue that's gotten everyone hot under the collar, but maybe we all need a breather? Let's keep it civil or I'll close the comments, thanks. 

Posted by marke on Feb. 28, 2011 @ 11:28 pm

Marke dear,

Obviously you have not READ the comments or you would know what the problem is. It's the same problem this site has had for some time. It's called resident spammer, Arthur Evans. If you don't believe he's the problem, then Google "Arthur Evans, not progressive". You, Marke, have been on this forum for how long and you have never noticed what the real problem is? All one has to do is READ, Marke. And please, go ahead and close the comments and you can close down the whole damn site for all I care. It's nothing but a forum for right-wing spammers and then when progressives take them on, Marke shows up to ask "please, what's the problem?" DUH. Bay Guardian, can't you find someone smarter and better politically informed (like Tim, Steven, Sarah, Rebecca et al) than this Marke guy to serve as a moderator? To my knowledge, he doesn't even work in the political department. He doesn't write political articles. He's over in the sex department and doing what, who knows! Worthless thread, worthless site, worthless moderator. A right-wing spam site.

Posted by Life-threatening Aortic Aneurysm on Mar. 01, 2011 @ 1:28 am

Marke comes up with this, "but maybe we all need a breather?" nonsense. I remember when he warned someone else awhile back by saying, "it's a lovely day out, take a walk around the block" and then he told the person to reduce their meds." I've heard the "reduce your meds" on message boards mainly from the right-wing trolls so he's not in the best company by saying that. Marke seems to take none of these political issues seriously. It's as if he's in another world where things are happy and there are no problems. Either that or he pays little attention to political issues. I sense he doesn't have the maturity to take these issues seriously or understand the severity of these issues on people's lives. Many of us do take them seriously and that's why we didn't want sit-lie and we don't want tasers and these things make us quite frustrated and "hot under the collar" to use Marke's language. I don't see Marke telling resident spammer Arthur Evans or that troll Lucreatia Snapples or that troll matlock/meatlock to be civil and take a breather. No, they can say any nasty, rude, baiting thing they want to anyone and Marke leaves them alone. Not a word is spoken to them. Marke shows up after a progressive has commented and taken them on and Marke does his little warning. Sometimes it's a general warning and other times it's to a specific progressive commenter. Is this what one would expect from a so-called "liberal" or "progressive" publication? It's what I've come to expect from such a publication unfortunately. Is there any wonder why the so-called "progressive" movement is dead?

Posted by Life-threatening Aortic Aneurysm on Mar. 01, 2011 @ 2:22 am

"Arthur makes me mad, boo hoo, it's all his fault. I need a hug."

Posted by cock gobbler on Mar. 01, 2011 @ 10:29 am

The man had committed no crime, and he was never charged.
He had his arm broken, though.

Should this police officer be given a taser?

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/video?id=7981816

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2011 @ 1:04 am

Why would the SFBG have its entertainment correspondent in charge of moderating a political blog, the substance of which he has demonstrated he does not understand?

The time for civility is over. The right wing has ditched civility long ago and they are cleaning our clocks. Civility is a ruse to encourage unilateral surrender by liberals and progressives. Politics is war by other means.

-marc

Posted by marcos on Mar. 01, 2011 @ 6:29 am

This article is part of a series in which we are witnessing cops, conservatives, and boot lickers succeeding in transforming San Francisco into a place where, one day soon, you can expect to be tasered for the crime of sitting on a sidewalk.
This message board is a microcosm of that conservative wet dream, where anyone speaking out in too strident a tone is threatened with punishment. That the left is doing this to themselves veers past irony into tragedy.

There is nothing civil about the dark place these people want to turn San francisco into, with politeness and homogeneity enforced by public administering of electric shock.

Perhaps, Moderator Marke, that is "what it is about this issue that's gotten everyone hot under the collar".

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2011 @ 9:24 am
Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2011 @ 9:27 am

Marc, I don't usually respond to hysterical sock-puppeteers (dude, you're like a one-man play in a root cellar, hope you brought a handkerchief), but this is a good opportunity to remind everyone of our comment guidelines. You can say whatever you want within our guidelines, and we encourage debate from every angle, including Arthur's incessant one. I don't want the phrase "cock-gargler" appearing on our home page, however. 

Here is our official comment policy:

http://www.sfbg.com/privacy-policy

And, for your personal edification, here is our masthead:

http://www.sfbg.com/masthead 

 

Posted by marke on Mar. 01, 2011 @ 9:34 am

As if cock gargling is a bad thing, how homophobic. Some of my best friends are cock garglers.

You're gay, Marke, right?

-marc

Posted by marcos on Mar. 01, 2011 @ 10:18 am

For 2010, the Bay Guardian's sex edition was about Hot Sluts! The article started off with "Forget those uptight pricks: sluts are awesome...."

http://tinyurl.com/4d2a5vj

Then the picture was that of a woman's ass and the picture gave the impression that she was being paddled or was about to be padded with a paddle which read HOT SLUTS!

I had no problem with that which is why I find it strange that they wouldn't want cock garglers on the front page. Pricks is okay, cock is not?? All of that was okay for the front page of the Guardian last September, but for some reason (puritanical? have to "tone it down" as the City swings to the right like the rest of this cesspool nation), they don't want the words cock garglers on the front page? Of course there is no double standard at the Bay Guardian. Orwell 1984.

Posted by Jorge Orwell 1984 on Mar. 01, 2011 @ 10:03 pm

cock gargling what roosters do in the morning?

I find it a bit comical that while monologueing a "progressive" infers that cock gargling is bad. It's not for me, but Lenny Bruce decades ago made the point that its probably more of a hetro thing. So assuming that the poster knows I'm a guy, it strikes me as a bit homophobic, from a progressive. shocking.

Posted by matlock on Mar. 01, 2011 @ 11:24 am

"A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception within an online community. In its earliest usage, a sockpuppet was a false identity through which a member of an Internet community speaks with or about himself or herself, pretending to be a different person, like a ventriloquist manipulating a hand puppet."

Hey Marke, where is the deception in my posting? Did you even bother to find out what this word means before you sling it about? One might hope that a professional writer might know how to use the fucking dictionary.

Don't let me distract you from ragging on progressives and giving the right wing loons a free pass.

-marc

Posted by marcos on Mar. 01, 2011 @ 10:24 am

It's not that Marke or others are "ragging on progresives," we're ragging on you, and Arthur, and Brooksee, and H. Brown on most days. You say that you speak for progressives, but I consider myself a progressive and I wouldn't want any of you within 50 yards shouting distance.

To me, you all come across as sanctimonious, superior, auhoritarian, humorless and lonely. But that's just me. But for all of your collective wisdom, all I hear is a lot of ill-considered, reactionary, flippant and even scary policy prescriptions on so many issues that I'd be hesitant to want to support any candidate any of you thought was "really, truly progressive." My first thought would be the candidate was likely just as insular, meglomaniac and full of fury and rhetoric, but had very little substance below the surface impression.

As one small example of your utter lack of cluelessness, the moderator told us that his concern was a potentially derogatory term being repeated on the websites front page. You post on here dozens of times a day. It's your little personal soapbox where you can try to convince the world that "you're a somebody." And yet you're so grateful for that opportuntity - given to you for free - that you have to throw it right back in the Guardian's face by adding the phrase in your title so that it shows up on the front page again.

You have litlte of value to offer the conversation. Your manners are rude and offensive, and it seems deliberate as a way to get people to notice you. I'm sure all of these constant posters have their supporters who read this blog, but for me your hostility and self-hatred bring down my well-being considerably, and I suspect some of your co-workers might sometimes agree. The Guardian needds to get new chat software where we can block out posters. The right to free speech includes the right not to hear speech too.

My main point is that it's hardly progressive to use constant arrogant hostility against those who don't agree with you in order to make a point or win a conversation. And when we read the same posts over and over again from the same posters, it starts to look like a condition that needs some attention.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2011 @ 11:07 am

Reveal yourself if you wish to be taken seriously.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 01, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

handsome stranger.

Posted by marke on Mar. 01, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

but had to stop because liberalism made her take too many drugs and have too much sex?

Do you have anything to contribute regarding cops in SF getting Tasers?
If not, I think Marke should ban you immediately.

What is your opinion of this video of police tasering an innocent man who has complied with all their commands?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmByfTKKUV4

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2011 @ 9:25 pm

SFPD Cop Lies on search warrant.
Should we give him a taser before we address this behavior?

http://www.sfweekly.com/2011-02-16/news/pot-raid-sfpd-castro-law-profess...

SFPD Officer Breaks An Innocent Man's Arm.
The man had committed no crime, and he was never charged.
He had his arm broken, though.

Should this police officer be given a taser?

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/video?id=7981816

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2011 @ 6:39 pm