Memphis Police Department testing tasers - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis Police Department testing tasers

(Source: YouTube) (Source: YouTube)

Memphis Police officers could soon be armed with a new weapon.

The department confirmed that tasers are being tested.
Videos of police officers getting “tased” are all over YouTube.

Most departments require the training before officers are armed with the weapons, but opinions were mixed among some Memphians concerning MPD testing tasers.

"I don't think they're needed by police officers because it's a violent thing to do,” said Cynthia Furdge.

"I think it's a good idea to explore, because it does give a medium between pulling a firearm and having nothing to do," said Jamie Steward.

The preliminary taser testing comes weeks after 19 year-old Darrius Stewart was shot and killed by a Memphis officer during a struggle following a traffic stop.

"It sounds as if it's a good option as an alternative to using guns,” said Nabil Bayakly. “But when you're using it, you have to be very, very careful."

Seven years ago, loitering suspect DeWayne Chatt died after West Memphis police officers “tased” him four times inside a convenience store.

A medical examiner determined the tasers exacerbated a pre-existing heart condition.

They're now used more sparingly.

“You'll try to arrest them, you'll tell them they're under arrest, you'll try hands-on,” said West Memphis Police Chief Donald Oakes.  “And
only after the hands-on doesn't work, in other words they continue to fight, do we deploy a taser."

Many in law enforcement still consider them effective, less lethal tools.

MPD would offer no further comment other than to confirm tasers were being tested.

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