Three Berkeley City Council members are bringing the issue of Taser use by local police to the forefront with a proposed council agenda item currently set for consideration tomorrow, May 6.
In an Opinionator piece published today on Berkeleyside, Andrea Prichett, a Berkeley middle school teacher and a founding member of Copwatch, argues that giving Tasers to police will give them a new kind of force to use, a force that has proved deadly to 540 people since 2001.
It’s a misconception that Tasers are an effective alternative to guns, Prichett argues. She says Tasers will be disproportionately applied to minorities, the homeless, and those with mental health issues — exactly the vulnerable populations that Berkeley should be helping.
Instead of calling on May 6 for a study on the use of Tasers, Prichett asks the City Council to “study how this city can attend to mental health emergencies in a more humane way. Let the City Council study the NAACP recommendations made many months ago that were a call for action to improve the quality of life for African Americans in Berkeley.”
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