Columbia police considering policy reining in Taser usage

COLUMBIA — Police in Columbia could change departmental policy on how and when Tasers are used by making it clear that the electric-shock weapons should not be deployed when people are simply refusing to follow orders.

WIS-TV reports Columbia’s city council is scheduled to discuss the policy change Tuesday.

Police Chief Skip Holbrook said in a memo that a federal appeals court decision changes how judges will see cases involving officers’ use of force or response to resistance. The ruling suggests police officers are justified in using Tasers only when a “reasonable officer” perceives immediate danger that could be reduced by using the device.

Two former Marion police officers were sentenced last year to more than a year in prison for unnecessarily shocking a mentally disabled woman with a Taser at least eight times.

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Information from: WIS-TV, http://www.wistv.com