Taser Bill Introduced

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.

4 thoughts on “Taser Bill Introduced

  1. About time, too. I’ve begun seeing Court Diversion cases involving apparently gratuitous use of Tasers by local police officers. It’s becoming clearer that electrical stunners are being used for pain-compliance or punishment for any behavior other than absolute and servile submission to any officer’s demand.

    Glad you’ll be there, Jack, and that the ACLU is on board.


    It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority. ~ Benjamin Franklin

  2. The state police have been using tasers as a tool of coercion, not as a weapon of last resort. It seems over the last few years that police with tasers often present more of a danger to the public than the individuals who are attacked with said tasers.

    Their job is public protection, not public oppression. It’s time they were reminded of this.  Many thanks to the legislators who are addressing the issue.

  3. This is a VERY GOOD thing.  

    However, why go half way and throw only half the towel in,  why not put in a penalty, felony level which would be a careerender   for any officer who uses the device in contradiction to the law???  

    This is not something that a hand slap from the seated Attorney General should be considered enough of a deterrent…

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