Following on the killing of Macadam Mason by Taser a bill has been introduced to establish a statewide policy regarding training for and use of “electronic control devices”.
H. 225 is sponsored by Jim Masland, who represented Macadam Mason in the House, Anne Donahue from Northfield, and more than thirty other legislators. It would provide for substantial regulation of the use of Tasers, including recognition that Tasers are deadly force, they should only be used when deadly force would be justified or to prevent a person's death through self-harm, must not be used for punishment or compliance, and must be used with the recognition of the special risks to people with cognitive disabilities or in emotional crises.
Advocates have been asking for action ever since Macadam Mason's death last summer and this bill, which has been referred to the Committee on Government Operations, is the first step to address those concerns.
The bill's sponsors and other supporters will be speaking at a press conference in Room 10 of the State House at 2:15 this afternoon.
Speaking at the press conference will be Rep. Anne Donahue of Northfield and Rep. Jim Masland of Thetford, lead sponsors of the bill; Ed Paquin, executive director of Disability Rights Vermont; Allen Gilbert, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union; and Jack McCullough of the Mental Health Law Project of Vermont Legal Aid.