Most of us looked on in horror as Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, Police Officer Kim Potter screamed “Taser, Taser, Taser” as she pointed her service weapon at Daunte Wright, not knowing or realizing (so she says) that her Taser was actually still in its holster.
She fired a round into Wright, thinking she was using the non-lethal force of a Taser, but instead she employed deadly force.
And while an instance like this one was, from all appearances, grossly negligent, the reality is that when employed properly, Tasers are by far favorable for use by municipal police departments.
A few weeks ago, Kearny Police Chief George King recalled how a last year, Officer Anthony Oliveira came into contact with an emotionally-disturbed person at Walmart who held out a knife after she set racks of clothes on fire. Had she lunged at Oliveira — fortunately she didn’t — the young police officer would have been within proper authority to shoot her, since his own life would have been threatened.
However, had he had a Taser at that moment, he could have backed away, perhaps as much as by 20 feet. And, had she lunged at him, he could have used non-lethal force from said taser to incapacitate her without killing her.
This is just one instance where having a Taser would have been beneficial. We are certain, even without asking, there are plenty more instances where one would have come in handy previously.
And so despite the Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, fiasco, we truly believe in the offered belief that the positives of Tasers far outweigh the negatives. We commend the mayor, council and chief, for moving ahead and buying 10 to start. That number is a good starting point, as the most experienced officers at the Kearny PD will use them first.
And it is our sincere hope that once the kinks are unwrinkled, every single officer of the KPD gets outfitted with one, sooner than later. No cop should ever have to use deadly force if a better option exists.
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.