HOUSTON (AP) - A Texas newspaper says Houston police fired Taser
stun guns nearly 1,700 times, but the department has found no
wrongdoing - despite investigating about 70 complaints.
The Houston Chronicle reports 1,724 Taser deployments between
December 2004 and May 2008 by Houston police have led to 69
internal affairs investigations.
The stun guns were first purchased by the department in late
2004 and were advertised as an alternative to the deadly force of
firearms. Critics claim that officers have often used them on
unarmed blacks who did not commit crimes.
The Chronicle says five of the 69 investigations remain open,
but no wrongdoing has been found in 56 others.
An analysis by the paper shows more than a third of the people
whom officers shocked in the first 900 incidents faced no charges.
Charges were filed but later dropped by prosecutors or dismissed by
judges and juries in about 50 other cases.
Police officials say the outcomes do not affect whether
officers' actions are ruled justified.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)