I'm terribly upset by the Palo Alto City Council Colleagues' Memo regarding tasers, which will be discussed by the Council tonight, December 4.
Police Chief Johnson is quoted in Sunday's (Dec. 3) Daily News as saying, as justification for acquiring these weapons, that "Our officers are running into more and more violent people, and people who are high on methamphetamine. They have super strength".
I've been following news stories on taser use for years. People on meth have been frequently reported as not responding to tasers. Either the tasers are completely ineffective or are used repeatedly to the point where the victim often dies. Drug users are the very people on whom tasers should not be used.
Police Auditor Gennaco is quoted as referring to tasers as "this traditional tool". That shows a bias in my opinion. When did these weapons become "traditional"?!
The colleagues' memo suggests, at the same time as the establishment of a task force to study the issue, both a use policy be prepared by the police chief and an application be made this month for a grant to fund these weapons. This memo chills me to the core. It appears that the powers that be in this City - the city manager, the police chief, and some council members - have already decided that Palo Alto will acqure these tools of torture, for that is what they are. And they often kill the very people upon whom they are meant to be used, people on drugs who cannot obey police orders and who may be vulnerable to heart arrythmia.
When tasers don't kill, they always torture. Even some police officers who have experienced the tasers in training have been injured, despite only one 5 second shot and support by fellow officers. Officers have attested to the excruciating pain. And suspects, usually unarmed, have routinely received multiple shots.