Police use of stun guns eyed in officer-involved killings

Police use of stun guns eyed in officer-involved killings


Associated Press

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Until a bystander's video led to his murder charge and firing, North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager said he killed a fleeing suspect in a traffic stop after a struggle over his stun gun.

Along with other worrisome aspects of the shooting of motorist Walter Scott, Slager's attempt to subdue him with a Taser points to a policing paradox that has civil rights advocates alarmed.

Promoted as tools to avoid lethal force, The Associated Press found a half-dozen recent fatal police shootings of black men involving stun guns.

The maker of Taser says its stun guns are "safe, effective and accountable." But a policing expert told the AP stun guns can give officers a false sense of control, and civil rights advocates say police need to focus instead on de-escalating violent situations.

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