A future column will look into Commissioner Kelly's pledge that he would carefully expand the use of non-lethal tasers that stop a person with a 50,000-volt shock. A comprehensive Amnesty International investigation on the use of tasers notes that "80 percent of the time they are used on unarmed suspects. In 30 percent of the cases, they are used for verbal noncompliance, but only 3 percent of the time for cases involving 'deadly assault.' " Without killing you, tasers can do a hell of a lot of damage. And the evidence is mounting that they can also kill you.
At present, only NYPD patrol sergeants and emergency-service units carry tasers. I'd like to see a poll of New Yorkers who have been forcefully stopped without cause by the NYPD to see whether they approve of giving tasers to more cops. It almost goes without saying that Mayor Bloomberg approves of them. Will he and Commissioner Kelly volunteer to be tasered in front of a class of NYPD rookies?