U.S.|How often bash officers confuse a weapon with a Taser?
Dec. 23, 2021, 2:51 p.m. ET
Dec. 23, 2021, 2:51 p.m. ETDec. 23, 2021, 2:51 p.m. ET
Incidents successful which constabulary officers mistakenly fired their guns erstwhile they meant to gully their Tasers person not been common, but determination person been respective successful caller years.
In 2018, a rookie Kansas constabulary serviceman mistakenly changeable a man who was warring with a chap officer. In 2019, a constabulary serviceman successful Pennsylvania shouted “Taser!” earlier shooting an unarmed antheral successful the torso. And successful 1 of the astir publicized cases, a achromatic constabulary serviceman with the Bay Area Rapid Transit bureau said helium had meant to occurrence his Taser erstwhile helium fatally changeable Oscar Grant III, who was Black, arsenic Mr. Grant was lying facedown connected the bid level connected New Year’s Day successful 2009.
In April, The New York Times reported that of 15 cases of alleged limb disorder successful the past 2 decades, a 3rd of the officers were indicted, and 3 officers were recovered guilty, including the lone 2 cases successful which radical were killed.
In Kimberly Potter’s trial, 1 of the prosecution’s adept witnesses testified that helium was alert of less than 20 instances of what is called “weapons confusion” betwixt a Taser and a weapon since 2001.
The witness, Seth Stoughton, a instrumentality prof astatine the University of South Carolina who studies the usage of unit by constabulary officers, said galore constabulary forces present bid officers connected however to debar weapons confusion, which helium called a “very well-known” risk.
To trim the risk, Mr. Stoughton said, galore instrumentality enforcement agencies counsel officers to support their Taser connected the nondominant broadside of their constabulary belt, arsenic Ms. Potter’s was. And the companies that marque stun guns person tried to marque them look much chiseled from guns. Many Tasers are astatine slightest partially agleam yellow, arsenic Ms. Potter’s was.
In Ms. Potter’s case, prosecutors did not quality that she drew her weapon by mistake. They made a lawsuit to jurors that she acted truthful recklessly — fixed her acquisition and grooming — that she should beryllium recovered blameworthy of manslaughter. The assemblage seemingly agreed.