WHEREAS, the TASER gun is supposedly a non-lethal electronic stun gun used by law enforcement officers to, among other things, temporarily disable suspects and unarmed citizens, with reduced incidence of injury and death; and
WHEREAS, according to the TASER gun's manufacturer, TASER International, more than seven thousand (7,000) police departments in the United Sates have purchased TASER guns; and
WHEREAS, the number of law enforcement officers and correctional facilities using TASER guns is rapidly growing; and
WHEREAS, since the introduction of the TASER gun to law enforcement agencies, it has been used on school children, mentally disabled individuals, elderly people, pregnant women, inmates, individuals with a variety of pre- existing medical conditions and restrained individuals; and
WHEREAS, an increasingly growing body of evidence has linked the use of TASER guns to serious injuries and deaths; and
WHEREAS, by some accounts, over 360 people have died in North America after having been tasered; and
WHEREAS, because of deaths and injuries, there is considerable debate regarding its safety, moreover it is increasingly clear that pre-existing medical conditions, officer misuse or other factors impact the rise in injuries and deaths; and
WHEREAS, police departments in several states, including Florida, Ohio, Colorado, Oregon and Illinois have either suspended or restricted the use of TASER guns by law enforcement officers; and
WHEREAS, the leading manufacturer of TASER guns, TASER INTERNATIONAL has now issued a twelve (12) page bulletin to law enforcement agencies nationwide with warnings advising officers not to shoot subjects in the chest in order to reduce the chances of liability should cardiac arrest result; and
WHEREAS, the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in Bryan v. McPherson, et al has concluded that there is no constitutionally defensible justification for the use of TASER in the absence of an immediate threat to law enforcement or others.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP reaffirms its 2005 TASER Ban resolution; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP advocates state and federal governments to establish through executive order or legislative process mandatory reporting and review requirements for data analysis and the creation of impact statements, which will include:
- Evaluation of tasered subjects by certified medical personnel;
- Reporting, review and advisory recommendation by police administration and citizen review boards of compiled data and the circumstances surrounding the TASER usage;
- Reporting of the race, age and sex of each officer that tasers a person; and
- Reporting of the race, age and sex of the subject tasered.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution be distributed to Law Enforcement Training Programs, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, NOBEL, the National Sheriffs' Association, the Government Training Institute for Law Enforcement, the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, and to all NAACP units for distribution to local and state law enforcement training programs.