CHICAGO -- In the wake of two deadly police shootings in Chicago, there have been calls for more taser training among the city’s law enforcement.
The chairman of the City Council’s Latino Caucus wants to get tasers into the hands of all 12,000 CPD officers.
“Lethal force should be the last resort and every officer should have a taser at their disposal,” said 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas. “There should be no excuses.”
In the Laquan McDonald shooting, dispatch called for a taser. The closest one was more than four miles away. Officers followed McDonald on Chicago’s South Side. After three minutes the taser was close but less than a minute later, shots were fired.
The lethal gunfire that killed the 17-year-old now has city paying out a $5 million dollar settlement.
WGN legal analyst Terry Sullivan says the move toward tasers in Chicago needs to be made.
“Even as an ex-prosecutor, I was surprised that they had to call for a taser,” he said.
Right now, CPD has 740 tasers, 30 per district. Of the 12,025 officers in Chicago, just more than 21%, 1in 5, are qualified to use them.
“The city should not be in this position,” Ald. Cardenas said.
The Latino Caucus is calling on Mayor Emanuel to order new de-escalation protocols and get tasers into the hands of every officer and get them trained, potentially reducing deadly shootings and liability for officers.
“They can’t be blamed for what they don’t have and if they don’t have tasers, if they don’t have an alternative to a gun, they’re stuck with that,” Sullivan said. “So I don’t think we can sit back and say the police officers are to be blamed, I think the city needs to be blamed.”