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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Group seeks to eliminate stun guns

August 15, 2009
Crystal Gutierrez, KRQE.com

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A crowd of LULAC members chanted “tasers are lethal make them illegal” on the steps of City Hall Saturday evening, calling for lawmakers to take the high-voltage weapon away from officers.

LULAC is the League of United Latin American Citizens.

The protesters claim the weapon is not only a form of torture, they said it's deadly and minorities are targeted more frequently.

“Our community and the African American community are getting tased and getting killed by these taser guns,” NM LULAC District Director Ralph Arellanes said.

There have been a total of 437 stun gun deaths nationwide since the weapon was introduced in 2000, according to NM LULAC statistics.

The group is taking their cries to Washington, asking for the removal of electronic stun guns from the belts of officers.

In July, Kailee Martinez, 14, was shot with stun gun darts in the hip and in the head by the Tucumcari Police Chief. It took 18 staples and six stitches to piece her head back together.

LULAC members said they are outraged over the incident.

“What cause of threat did that young lady pose,” LULAC member Pablo Martinez said.

The City of Tucumcari said the chief's actions were justified.

The Albuquerque Police Department and many other departments claim electronic stun guns are a safer alternative to guns, and that they are know first hand it’s not a form of torture.

APD training requires officers to turn the stun gun on themselves before using it in the field.

“Each cadet while in the academy will be or has been tased at least one time,” Albuquerque Police Officer Nadine Hamby said.

See also: Tasered while Latino

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