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Police ‘sensitivity training,’ tasers

Racial sensitivity training is trotted out as the solution after every new outrage, but does it work?  Not much, according to Boston Mayor Tom Menino and others cited at Alternet.

Veteran West Coast cop Norm Stamper, author of Breaking Rank, notes that “the rhetoric of community policing” has been accompanied by an “increase in militarism in American policing,” and says the tendency to focus on sensitivity training should be replaced by “non-negotiable expectations for performance and conduct”  which make “respect for and capacity to deal with minority communities…a condition of employment, not something to teach after the fact.”

Another innovation which hasn’t much changed police behavior, if these videos from an Alternet piece on tasers are at all representative, is the dashboard video cam monitor.

Here are videos (featuring some guys who probably shouldn’t be police officers) of a middle-age mom tased and handcuffed in front of her children during a routine traffic stop; or this guy stopped while driving his mother home from work, tased after he passes a sobriety test, with his elderly mother pepper sprayed when she objects; or this 72-year-old grandmother tased during a traffic stop.

Notes author Scott Thill, “Thanks to the taser’s wildfire deployment [and] classification as non-lethal weaponry…cops have nearly lost their minds using it on everyone from children, the elderly, and pregnant mothers to the mentally unstable and physically disabled.

“Or have their lost their spines? After all, the police are public servants, and were even once referred to as peace officers, charged with resolving disputes, defusing danger and, when necessary, applying lethal force to keep the public safe. But lately, and thanks partially to the taser’s alleged safety, they have been leaving peace behind in favor of brutalizing innocent civilians with accelerating lunacy.”

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Category: police, race, Tasers

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