San Francisco Subway Cops Temporarily Lose Taser Privileges

After a BART cop fired a taser at a 13-year-old boy on a bicycle, the subway system's police force has been stripped of its electro-shock toys. From now on they should only be used on children under "exigent circumstances."

The officer missed the boy, who was fleeing an altercation at a BART station, but the force is still worried about its officers accidentally using their pistols instead of their tasers. Like this incident, from The San Francicso Chronicle:

BART's Taser program has been under scrutiny since a former officer, Johannes Mehserle, shot and killed unarmed train rider Oscar Grant on Jan. 1, 2009, at the Fruitvale Station in Oakland.

Attorneys for Mehserle, who faces a murder trial this summer, say he meant to stun Grant with a Taser and accidentally fired his service pistol.

From now on, a new policy states that cops are not allowed to use tasers with their "strong hand," or the one they use for firearms:

The real common sense of it," [Interim Police Chief Dash] Butler said, "is you don't want to put that device anywhere near the handgun. Potentially, you could have confusion. We don't want that possibility. Just put them on the weak side."

That should be reassuring for frequent BART riders! A confused cop who doesn't know right from left and is armed with a deadly weapon, well, they can sometimes get caught up in the heat of the moment and accidentally kill you. And what about using tasers on unruly kids, you know, the really fun part of having an electrocution device at your disposal? The BART force has a new policy for that, too:

Let's say," [Butler] said, "you had a 17-year-old who was 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds and was pounding on an officer and the officer couldn't escape. The officer could use a Taser."

So, if a cop is getting his ass handed to him by a mammoth teen who is preparing for a career in the NFL, then of course the officer can whip the taser out and fry his ass. Otherwise, they're off limits!

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