Two Cincinnati children watched the City Council vote down a proposal by their father, Councilman Christopher Smitherman, that would have banned police use of stun guns against children younger than 11. Last year, 52 of the 629 Taser incidents in the city involved children younger than 18. Lt. Col. Richard Janke told the Law and Public Safety Committee there may be cases in which an officer’s only other option would be a firearm. “If a police officer in Cincinnati comes across an 8-year-old with an edge weapon that he’s about to use against someone, I think we’d all rather have him use the Taser,” Janke said.
Smitherman has been a frequent critic of police use of Tasers since the department furnished each patrol officer with one in 2003 after the police-custody death of Nathaniel Jones. Keith Fangman of the Fraternal Order of Police, criticized the proposal: “Does he think we have some magical karate move to knock the knife out of a kid’s hand?”