Houston’s police department has found no wrongdoing in 1,700 incidents in which its officers intentionally fired a Taser, despite investigating about 70 complaints – including a officer who shocked his own stepson and another who discharged his stun gun on a 59-year-old woman during a dispute over laundry, the Houston Chronicle reports. Over the last four years, only five officers have been disciplined for misusing their Tasers; not one of the five actually shocked a suspect. They were reprimanded for threatening people with their stun guns, repeatedly discharging them while off duty and brandishing the weapon in a dispute in an elementary school carpool line.
“If that is how they deal with family problems, how are they dealing with the public?” asked Shirley Baker, whose grandson was shocked by his officer stepfather. Controller Annise Parker has been critical, saying that the police system for tracking Taser use is insufficient and despite claims that each deployment is reviewed, it “can’t (be proven) with a paper trail.” Police officials maintain the Taser is a useful tool that has reduced injuries to both officers and suspects. Each incident, they say, is closely scrutinized. “To have (69) complaints and only a few sustained – that is reflective of successful use,” said Assistant Chief Brian Lumpkin “The numbers show that we have used Tasers responsibly.”