San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee (D) wants police to be issued to stun guns that can be used in lieu of bullets in the wake of the December 2 shooting death of Mario Woods, who was armed with a knife.
Announcing his decision last week, Lee said, “I told the commission that I want this done immediately.”
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Lee’s decision faces opposition. For example, Police Commissioner Petra DeJesus points to the problem of giving police yet one more weapon they have to carry and consider using only under certain conditions. De Jesus said officers “have pepper spray. They have bean bags. They have batons and shields. We don’t need another weapon.”
And Police Officers Association President Martin Halloran pointed out that issuing stun guns burdens officers with the responsibility of doing mental health evaluations in addition to everything else they must do when when confronting an armed suspect. Halloran said, “Officers would have been required to do an assessment of a person’s mental health even before a person could draw a Taser — that is not practical.”
But Mayor Lee wants the Police Commission to act on his request in “weeks rather than months.”
It should be noted that Mother Jones reported that Woods “was the suspect of a stabbing that occurred earlier” in the day on which he was shot. Moreover, Mother Jones reported “that Woods refused to relinquish a kitchen knife even as officers ordered him to drop it, fired bean bag pellets, and pepper-sprayed him.” It was after these things that officers opened fire.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.