Monthly Archives: October 2011

Chicago Police Misconduct

Category : Legal

Police expand Taser useon Chicago streets

Number of offenders shot rises sharply


Anew report shows that Chicago police used Tasers to subdue nearly 700 offendersover 12 recent months, a dramatic increase that reflects the department’sdecision earlier this year to expand its use of the weapons.

Ina wide-ranging annual report issued Monday, the Independent Police ReviewAuthority, which investigates serious accusations of police misconduct, saidthe increased use of the sometimes-controversial electrical devices has notgenerated many complaints, however.

Asa result, the agency said it has decided against investigating every time anofficer uses a Taser, saying the hundreds of incidents were”overwhelming” its resources. Instead, it will do so only ifallegations of misconduct are made, serious injury or death resulted, or aminor or senior citizen was targeted.

Accordingto the report, officers used Tasers on 683 occasions in the year ended Sept.30, up sharply from 197 in 2009 and 163 in 2008.

Butthat’s not surprising since the department in March more than doubled thenumber of available Tasers ‘ to 660, up from 280 ‘ and put them in the hands ofpatrol officers for the first time. Previously, only sergeants and fieldtraining officers were allowed to carry them, but now all squad cars andspecial-deployment teams are equipped with the weapons.

Departmentofficials say the “stun guns” ‘ which have about a 35-foot range andcarry an electrical charge ‘ have increased officer safety and helped defusetrouble.

“Themere presence of a Taser ‘ has proven to be an effective deterrent to a subjectescalating the incident, which (otherwise) could require greater use offorce,” Lt. Maureen Biggane said in an e-mail response to writtenquestions.

Butthe weapons are not without controversy.

In2005, the department temporarily halted plans to buy more of the weapons aftertwo high-profile incidents, including the death of a 54-year-old man shot witha Taser after he tried to bite an officer. A teen also had gone into cardiacarrest after being stunned with the weapon.

Inits report, the review agency said its caseload continues to grow ‘ up to 2,168from 1,981 a year ago ‘ despite its efforts to deal with the problem. Theagency blamed vacancies among its 53 investigator positions for the growingbacklog.

“Theresults of this shortage of investigators has been significant,” said thereport, noting that the agency did not want to compromise on “fairness andthoroughness.”

Theagency, created by city ordinance in the wake of several police scandals, wasgiven stronger investigative tools than its predecessor, with a goal to restorethe public’s trust that police misconduct would be quickly investigated.

Thereport also said allegations of verbal abuse by officers of the public havefallen over the last three years, to 162 from 199. Also, excessive-forcecomplaints have dropped after a sharp increase the previous year, the agencysaid.

If you or some you love is a victim of Chicago Police Misconduct it is important that you contact a Chicago Police Misconduct Lawyer today.