Could Stun Guns Have Prevented Boston Deaths?

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As family members mourned for Luis Gonzalez, shot and killed by Boston police, some state legislators said high-voltage stun guns might have prevented his death and that of another man early last week, says the Boston Globe. Passage of a bill allowing law enforcement officers in Massachusetts to use the electronic weapons is expected as soon as tomorrow. The bill was proposed Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. “I think if the police officers had a tool like this, those deaths could have been prevented,” said Representative Timothy J. Toomey Jr., chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Safety. Massachusetts apparently is the only state that does not allow the stun guns, often called Tasers after the leading manufacturer, TASER International.

In Boston last Friday, two patrol officers Antonino fired their guns at Gonzalez after the 58-year-old man threatened them with a knife in his apartment. The officers, called to the apartment in response to reports Gonzalez was threatening to harm himself, had tried unsuccessfully to use pepper spray to subdue the man, who was lunging at them with a knife. Gonzalez was identified 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, said yesterday. “They didn’t kill a dog. They killed a human being.”

Link: http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2004/07/05/stun_gun_bill_gaining_ground/

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