Nashville’s police union will ask Police Chief Ronal Serpas to return Tasers to patrol officers, just days after Serpas took the weapons away after the death of a 21-year-old man, The Tennessean reports. The union said Serpas’ removal of Tasers “makes the already difficult job of keeping us safe from the criminal element even more difficult for our officers.” Fraternal Order of Police director Brock Parks yesterday came to the defense of two officers who shocked Patrick Lee, 21, up to 19 times as he was unarmed and naked outside a nightclub on Sept. 22. Lee died two days later.
Nashville attorney Tommy Overton, who is investigating the death on behalf of Lee’s family, said the family views the request by the FOP as insensitive. Serpas said Friday he would place the 45 police tasers in the hands of supervisors, and only after they complete training on how to use them. Serpas cited Lee’s death and a similar response by Chicago’s top brass after two deaths there earlier this year. The cause of Lee’s death remains under investigation pending the results of blood tests. Serpas brought Tasers to the force in November and has said he will evaluate their use to see if he should equip the rest of the police force.