Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Police use of Tasers on minorities raises concerns

I ran across a recent article that has some fascinating statistics about the use of tasers on minorities in Houston, Texas.

While studies on the use of Tasers [by municipal police is] limited, Houston is perhaps the most revealing.

Houston police data show that in almost 1,000 Taser deployments over a two-and-a-half year span, 63 percent of those Tased were black, while Houston’s population is only 25 percent black.

In fact, the study itself was prompted after professional football player Fred Weary, an African American, was Tased during a traffic stop, and charged with resisting arrest. A judge later dismissed the charges, and Black activists organized to demand a usage study.

Ironically, the Houston Police Department began using the weapon [tasers] after allegations of using unjustified deadly force on Latinos.

Layered on top of the disproportionately high rate of use of Tasers on African-Americans was the remarkably high use on the unarmed – 95% of the recipients of Taser shots were not wielding a weapon. |Tasers Go Mainstream, But Who's Talking About Race? - New American Media|
Giving tasers to police departments with poor records of race relations is an interesting choice.

Decrease shootings at the cost of increasing roadside electro-shock therapy is not exactly what I'd call progress...

No comments: