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How easy is it to mistake a firearm for a taser?

2021-04-13T18:01:53.919Z

In the Daunte Wright murder case, the police apparently mistook his firearm for his taser, but how common is it?



Police say officer killed young black man by mistake 1:55

(CNN) -

At first glance, the confusion seems incomprehensible: A police officer intends to use a

taser

, but instead fires her firearm and kills someone.

That's what apparently happened Sunday in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, when a police officer yelled "

Taser

!

Taser

!

Taser

!

Taser

! "

before pulling the trigger on his gun and killing 20-year-old Daunte Wright, according to the Chief of Police.

Body camera footage reveals the apparent shock of the police as Wright was fatally wounded.

"Good grief!" Yells the police.

"I shot him."

It is not the first time that a tragic death of this type has happened:

In 2015, Deputy Sheriff Robert Bates said he accidentally fired his gun instead of his

taser

when he killed Eric Harris, an unarmed suspect who was already subdued on the floor.

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Oh!

I shot him.

I'm sorry, ”Bates said in a video of the shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Bates was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to four years in prison.

In 2009, Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer Johannes Mehserle fired his gun instead of his

taser

and killed 22-year-old Oscar Grant in Oakland, California.

Mehserle was sentenced to two years in prison for involuntary manslaughter, but was released early for good behavior.

It is not yet clear what will happen to Minnesota police, who were placed on administrative discharge following the "accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright," said Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon.

So is it easy, or difficult, to accidentally draw and fire a firearm instead of a

taser

?

Here are some key factors to consider:

Location is important

Law enforcement experts say firearms should be placed on the dominant side of the body, and the

taser

on the non-dominant side.

Thus, if a police officer is right-handed, the firearm should be on the right side and the

taser

on the left.

"The reason the

taser

is carried

on the opposite side of the gun is to prevent this kind of thing from happening [the Minnesota shooting]," CNN law enforcement analyst Charles Ramsey said Monday.

Brooklyn Center Police are trained to follow this practice, Gannon said.

"We train with our weapons on the dominant side and our

taser

on the weak side," said the Chief of Police.

It was not immediately clear if the police who killed Wright had the devices on the wrong sides or if they used the wrong hand to grab the device.

The

tasers

are designed to distinguish weapons

Law enforcement and rangers use a variety of

tasers

during their training, in 2014.

There are several key differences that make

tasers

look and feel different from firearms.

The

tasers

are usually lighter and have a grip and feel different, the former vice president of Taser, Steve Tuttle said in 2015.

And when a

taser

is

unlocked

, an LED control panel lights up.

The

taser

have a different type of cover to the guns, and many have the least bright yellow somewhere in the device. 

"It shouldn't have happened"

As independent investigators investigate the deadly shooting in Minnesota, and determine whether police should face charges, Gannon offered his "deepest condolences" to the Wright family.

"There is nothing I can say to lessen the pain of the family of Mr. Wright and his friends, for the feeling of loss they must have," said the Chief of Police.

"This pain is shared by the community and also by all those involved in the incident."

Ramsey said images from body cameras show that the use of deadly force was not necessary.

And while gun and

taser

confusions

are very rare, even one is too much.

"This is undoubtedly a tragedy," Ramsey said.

It shouldn't have happened.

Police attacks

Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2021-04-13

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