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Today's question: If the Supreme Court decides to hear this Taser case, how do you think they should rule?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009 | 10:27 a.m. CST; updated 8:05 p.m. CST, Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Columbia Police Department admitted Monday to using Tasers improperly in two cases in late 2008.

In a report presented to the City Council, the department also acknowledged it has been slow to educate the public about its Taser policies, citing insufficient funding for educational programs.

Mayor Darwin Hindman asked Interim Police Chief Tom Dresner to prepare the report in response to a letter written by members of the Coalition to Control Tasers. In the letter, the group analyzed 48 cases involving the department's use of Tasers and deemed several of those uses inappropriate.

Dresner's report contained a point-by-point rebuttal of many of the recommendations made in the coalition's letter.

This report is the latest in an ongoing debate about the safety of the use of Tasers.

Around the country, police have argued that the stun guns are the best way to diffuse dangerous situations safely. But some medical experts question if the devices pose a health hazard.

In August, a 23-year-old Moberly man died after a police officer shot him with a Taser. No charges were filed against the officer, who Howard County Prosecutor Mason Gebhardt said was justified in his use of the weapon.

According to a report in the Miami Herald, the Supreme Court may soon decide to take its first Taser case, Buckley v. Haddock, which stems from a 2004 incident in North Florida.

Jesse Buckley was shot with a Taser while crying after refusing to sign a speeding ticket. A video of the incident recorded from inside the officer's car then appeared on YouTube.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida is involved in the case as Buckley's co-council. The ACLU has compared the use of the Taser in the case to a cattle prod.

If the Supreme Court decides to hear this Taser case, how do you think they should rule?


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