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Friday, May 22, 2009

Protest calls for end to use of Tasers

May 22, 2009

More than 100 protesters marched at the 8 Mile border of Detroit and Warren on Thursday, calling for the end of Tasers by police in the wake of the death of a 16-year-old Detroit boy in April.

The protesters, organized by the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, also called for the termination of Warren police officers who chased Robert Mitchell into an abandoned house in Detroit on April 10 after he fled police during a traffic stop.

Police said Mitchell was shot with a stun gun after he refused to stop. He died a short time later. The cause of death has yet to be determined by the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office.

"This isn't just about Robert. We need to save all the children," Mitchell's mother, Cora Mitchell, told those gathered before the marchers moved out.

Robert Mitchell's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Warren in U.S. District Court in Detroit.

"This is about human beings getting together to stop the killing. We have to stop this madness," said protester Sandra Hines, 55, of Detroit.

Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer defended his officers, saying they followed procedure. "The Taser is an acceptable tool throughout this country and has probably saved thousands of lives," Dwyer said Thursday.

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