BART Cops Get Their Tasers Back - NBC Bay Area

BART Cops Get Their Tasers Back



     The BART Police Department will start redistributing Tasers to its  force this week, nearly two months after the use of stun guns was halted so  that officers could be retrained and updated on new department policies.

          "Beginning this week and hopefully completed by next Monday or  Tuesday, we will redeploy Tasers to all police zones," police Cmdr. Dan  Hartwig said tonight, adding that officers will be able to choose whether or  not to use them.
    BART issued a memo in mid-April letting officers know of the  temporary suspension of Taser use.
    BART Acting Police Chief Daschel Butler said at the time the  department had been in the process of updating its Taser policy, and that the  new policy incorporates best practices of other agencies and findings of a  report conducted by the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement  Executives. The comprehensive report by NOBLE was conducted following the New  Year's Day 2009 killing of BART passenger Oscar Grant III at the hands of  former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle.
    BART also said two federal court rulings, which say Tasers can  only be used for defense, prompted the BART Police Department to modify  language in its Taser policy.
    BART spokesman Linton Johnson said in April a non-injury incident  in which a BART police officer used a Taser was a factor in accelerating the  decision to suspend Taser use.
    The use of Tasers by BART police officers has been controversial  since Grant was killed at the Fruitvale station in Oakland.
    Mehserle's lawyer, Michael Rains, has admitted Mehserle shot and  killed Grant but claims that the shooting was accidental because Mehserle  meant to use his Taser on Grant but fired his gun by mistake.
    Hartwig said officers who choose to use Tasers will now be  required to wear the stun gun on their "weak" side, where as officers  previously had three options of where to wear the Taser.