A 13-year debate in the liberal city of San Francisco is finally over. The city has relented and barely passed a measure allowing police to carry tasers.
It is a baffling question, why would these officers not be allowed to use what is considered a non-lethal option? Activists and police critics have opposed the measure the whole time because they believe the weapons are lethal and can potentially be abused. So is it better for police to resort to shooting?
The passing of this resolution took 7 hours in a meeting constantly interrupted by protestors outside. Officials were forced to lock down City Hall so the vote could eventually be held. Activists outside the room began chanting “Shame! Shame” as the Police Commission voted 4-3 in favor of the plan.
New San Francisco Chief Bill Scott was among those calling for this long-overdue He took command in January after a series of officer-involved shootings were causing major controversy in the city. He and others pointed out that tasers would provide officers with an alternative to shooting.
Commissioner Thomas Mazzucco has supported those sentiments. He pointed out that the U.S. Department of Justice’s community-policing division suggested San Francisco “should strongly consider” this move. Mazzucco stated;
“They could not believe we did not have these. They believe it will save lives.”
Chief Scott added;
“De-escalation has been a topic that the San Francisco Police Department has taken very seriously. The reality is there are times when de-escalation does not work and officers have to use force as safely as possible. We have a duty to reduce injuries to residents and officers when these type of incidents occur.”
Commission President L. Julius Turman and Commissioner Petra DeJesus oppose the police carrying tasers. Turman stated that it “will derail the progress we have made.” DeJesus had stronger words;
“Shame on this commission for even thinking to vote on this. We should give our (policies) a chance to work.”
San Francisco is one of the last major cities to not allow its officer to carry tasers. Even with the passing of this measure, there are still many hurdles in the way of this common-sense solution actually being on the street.
Source: Police One