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Activists condemn massive Taser roll-out

Community activists in the Illawarra have condemned the NSW budget allocation of $10 milllion for more Taser stun-guns. They've renewed calls for a ban on the weapon after the death of a Queensland man last Friday who was shot 28 times with a Taser by police.

Chris Williams, Socialist Alliance convener in Wollongong, said: 'The government has been warned many times about the lethal potential of Tasers. This latest death in Queensland proves yet again the danger involved. The Rees government should reverse this allocation immediately and declare a ban on the use of Tasers.

'In addition to being dangerous, Tasers will be used disproportionately on the already marginalised. Last year's review of Tasers by NSW Ombudsman, Bruce Barbour, found that the weapon has most commonly been used against people with mental health issues. What a disgrace given the inadequate funding for mental health in this country', said Williams.

Jess Moore, Resistance organiser in Wollongong, said: 'Given the proven danger of Tasers, this $10 million roll-out is just outrageous! The Rees government has consistently under-resourced our schools, hospitals and public transport system, and yet it is spending a huge sum of money on this dangerous and controversial weapon.

'Research by Amnesty International shows that Tasers have been used by police officers against children, the mentally ill and the physically disabled. They have been used against people who are restrained. This money should be spent on services to assist the mentally and physically disabled, not on potentially lethal weapon that has been proven to be used on them.

'There is no independent research showing that Tasers are safe but there is a lot of hard evidence that they kill. How many people will have to die before Tasers are banned? They must be stopped from being used!' Moore concluded.

For more information contact Chris Williams on 0425 329 963 or Jess Moore on 0416 232 349

Or visit http://www.socialist-alliance.org/illawarra/

Background Queensland:
Queensland's Police Minister is rejecting claims he covered up details about the use of stun gun, in an incident in which a man later died. He's revealed that he, the Police Service and the police union knew on Monday that the Taser had been used 28 times.


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