Birmingham, Al., Mayor Bernard Kincaid has ordered the city’s police officers to halt the use of Tasers, saying more studies are needed on the impact of the stun guns, reports the Birmingham News. The mayor’s order came a few days after a 41-year-old man died in the city jail, hours after he was hit by a Taser and sprayed with Mace. Rockey Bryson, a mechanic and father of two jailed on a DUI charge, was found dead in his cell about 3:30 a.m. Thursday, more than 12 hours after corrections officers used the electric stun gun to subdue him during a confrontation in his cell.
Kincaid insisted the Taser moratorium wasn’t in response to Bryson’s death, although the timing of his order coincided with Bryson’s family saying Bryson was mistreated in the city jail and suffered an unnecessary death. The mayor’s moratorium outraged police officers. “There are so many instances where without the Tasers we would have had to escalate all the way up to using lethal force, our sidearms,” said Sgt. Allen Treadaway, police union president. Said
Police Chief Annetta Nunn: “I feel certain that after he has the opportunity to fully evaluate the information we will be allowed to use the weapons again.”