The Disturbing Prevalence of NYPD Taser Use on ‘Mentally Ill’ New Yorkers


From Filter: “The departmentā€™s deployment of Tasers has exploded in recent years. While the devices were once only issued to supervising officers, the NYPD has now provided a Taser to every one of its patrol vehicles. There are currently at least 3,000 Tasers in the fieldā€”up from 1,710 in 2016Ā …

Back in 2006, the NYPD had just 160 active Tasers in service. But department officials have spoken enthusiastically about expanding the use of Tasers; and Axon, the company that sells Tasers to law enforcement agencies, hasĀ spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying the city. Tasersā€™ deployment is only likely to grow as an alternative to more lethal weaponry. NYPD officers discharged a Taser 45 percent more often in 2017 than in the previous year …

Consider another finding in the report: that in 57 percent of Taser discharges, the responding officer did not adequately warn a civilian before using a Taser, despite being trained to do so. Police officers areĀ used to using force as a response to disorderly or disturbing behavior, and robust guidelines for police will not resolve the fundamental issue: that law enforcement is often not the institution best suited to respond to people in crisis.”

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