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Thursday, July 08, 2010

Las Vegas, NM Police end use of Tasers - Chief says recent lawsuits triggered decision

July 7, 2010
Jim Winchester, KRQE News 13

LAS VEGAS, NM - The city of Las Vegas, New Mexico is putting away its Tasers.

"The final decision, my decision, was to pull the tasers and look at using another mechanical weapon," Las Vegas Police Chief Gary Gold said. Gold said the decision came after watching other departments across the country face lawsuits over the use of the Tasers. "Hearing all of the litigation behind it, we just decided to not go with it," Gold said.

The decision comes after some recent cases in New Mexico have led some to question their effectiveness. In May, an Albuquerque Police officer fired a Taser at a belligerent man in Civic Plaza. On the first shot, the prongs got stuck in the homeless man's clothes and didn't work. On the second shot, the Taser did work, but only at point-blank range.

Other recent cases have led many to declare Tasers downright dangerous. 14-Year old Kailee Martinez was Tasered last July after running away from Tucumcari's police chief. One of the Taser's prongs went through her skull and hit her brain.

Las Vegas' police chief says his officers are split over the Taser ban. Residents who News 13 spoke with also were split.

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