Civil Liberties Group Says Police Often Misuse Stun Guns In NY State

Police officers misused stun guns in nearly 60 percent of incidents across New York State, charges the New York Civil Liberties Union. With the exception of New York City, many police departments did not comply with the recommendations of national law enforcement agencies, WNYC reports. In 35 percent of cases, subjects reportedly were engaged in defensive or passive resistance.

The study found that 40 percent of the stun gun incidents involved at-risk subjects, such as children, the elderly, the visibly infirm, and those who were seriously intoxicated or mentally ill. Experts said Tasers should be used only where there is active aggression by a subject or a documented threat of physical harm to another person. “Our analysis shows that police officers are using Tasers in inappropriate, irresponsible and downright deadly manner,” the group’s Donna Lieberman said. “This disturbing pattern of misuse and abuse endangers lives. Our point in issuing this report is not to single out any particular police department, but rather to highlight problems that are the result of the dramatic, more than 30 fold increase in the number of police departments using Tasers in the last ten years.”

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