Protesters pack SF police commission meeting over Tasers

Thursday, December 10, 2015
Protesters pack SF police commission meeting over Tasers
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Protesters filled a police commission meeting where the use of lethal force and the department getting Tasers was to be discussed.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Protesters are jamming San Francisco City Hall to attend the police commission meeting which will begin reviewing lethal force policies and stun guns. The protesters are angry about the fatal officer-involved shooting last week in the Bayview.

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There was an estimate of about 200 or more protesters inside city hall. The police commission meeting room is full and they couldn't allow anyone else in.

Suspect killed in officer-involved shooting in San Francisco's Bayview District

Over the years, San Francisco police chiefs, including Greg Suhr, and now District Attorney George Gascon, have tried unsuccessfully to convince the police commission to approve Tasers.

Suhr has said, "Maybe we need other tools in our tool box that are short of deadly force."

Tasers will be a centerpiece of the police commission's review of police lethal force policies.

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Police union president Martin Halloran, who also supports Tasers, puts it this way, "We're only one of two large law enforcement agencies in the country that do not have Tasers."

However, cardiologist Dr. Zian Tseng says research shows that Tasers, when improperly used, could also be lethal. Tseng collected sudden death incidents from 50 police agencies five years before they got Tasers and then five years later.

He found a striking 600 percent increase in sudden death incidents the first year police used them. That spike eventually leveled off, but it was still high -- about 40 percent more sudden deaths than before Tasers were used. His conclusion was that police were using their Tasers too often.

Tseng said, "Perhaps lack of recognition of the risks and once those events happen, there's an adjustment to policy or protocol to mitigate some of that risk, but not all that risk."

Tseng also found a surprising increase of police shootings the first year they used Tasers, surmising that Tasers may have escalated some incidents where ultimately deadly force was used.

Stay with for updates on this story.

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