Columbia Residents Speak Out Against TASERs
COLUMBIA - Community leaders gathered Wednesday with 20 Columbia residents to explain the dangers of publicly available TASERs. The speakers ranged from civil rights groups to a woman whose grandson died from a TASER shock. The group says it hopes to raise awareness for Proposition 2 on ballot next Tuesday. Later in the day, a group opposed to the measure held its own rally to argue TASERs help police keep the city safe.
Proposition 2 is a ban on the use of TASERs in Columbia. The People for a Taser-Free Columbia say TASERs put people with health conditions in danger of serious injury or death.
Ray Warren, a pastor at the Mt. Celestial Missionary Baptist Church in Columbia, warned against the dangers of electrical shocks. Warren said he nearly died after being shocked by a transformer.
"It can kill your heart," Warren said, emphasizing that health problems might not be detected right away. "The real damage comes after."
The Boone County jail finds the TASERs useful. Chief Jailer Warren Brewer says that the TASERs make guards safer during inmate conflicts. Warren said batons and other tools can be taken away during close-range struggles. The jail started using TASERs in 2004, but Warren said his jailers have not had to use them at all so far this year. Warren said the weapons have only been taken out to threaten inmates to stop fighting.