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

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From Filter: “The department’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 field—up from 1,710 in 2016 …

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, has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying the city. Tasers’ 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 are 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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