Minorities -- especially blacks -- were Tasered by Madison police more than twice as often as whites last year, and more often than whites in three of the last five, police data.
Nearly six years after Madison police began arming officers with Tasers and four years after the controversial Tasering of a black high school student, police department records suggest minorities have the weapons used against them at a rate far out of proportion with how often they are arrested.
Minorities — especially blacks — were Tasered more than twice as often as whites last year, and more often than whites in three of the last five. In the other two years, about as many whites were Tasered as nonwhites. In each of the five years, nonwhites were arrested for about half as many crimes as whites.
Mark P. Jones, a professor at Rice University who last year co-authored a first-of-its-kind study that found a similar pattern in the use of Tasers by the Houston Police Department, said Madison’s Taser data is not enough to prove bias in their use. But he said it is worthy of closer study.
“What these data point out is that there’s potentially a problem,” said Jones.
Madison police question the validity of comparing arrest data with Taser use and contend that every Taser deployment is reviewed after the fact to see if it was appropriate and conformed to policy.
“It would be important to look at the facts in each case,” said Capt. Vic Wahl, who oversaw the program when it was first introduced. “The review process has worked. It’s not just a rubber stamp.” More HERE