Monday, June 23, 2008

No Answers

Two weeks ago, after the NYPD added a few thousand more tasers to our streets, I wrote the NYCLU asking what I can do to help keep NYC from seeing thousands of unwarranted tasings.

I'd just read a statement from the New York chapter of the ACLU recommending against adding the tasers without "careful study and a public dialogue." I had also just read the NY Daily News' frightening projections on how many tasings the new devices will likely lead to, without deterring firearm deployment:
Based on the relative populations of Cincinnati and New York, the NYPD would electrify more than 12,000 people a year, more than than 30 a day, more than 230 a week. ...

Consider Houston's experience. In 2007, the Houston Chronicle found that cops shot the same number of people after they were armed with Tasers and that, most often, they used the stun guns in traffic stops and other common circumstances.
So, I wrote the NYCLU expressing concerning about the devices.

I also asked if they knew whether the NYPD will be carrying tasers at upcoming NYC Pride festivities.

They haven't responded to my inquiry. Similarly, I haven't gotten answers from my elected city officials.

LGBT people should never forget the NYPD actions that led to Stonewall, lest they happen again. Thousands of tasers and the threat of their use for misbehavior - and yes, that's a common reason for deployment against unarmed people - would be a step toward those days of extreme discrimination.

I'll be pressing for more answers this week, this time by making phone calls. Additionally, my camera, video camera, and I will be attending as many events as possible.