COLUMBIA — Seven activists called for public support of a ban on the use of Tasers by the Columbia Police Department during a rally at City Hall Monday morning. The City Council will address the issue at its regular meeting tonight.
Lily Tinker-Fortel of People for a Taser-Free Columbia said it would benefit both police and residents to ensure the devices are reliable and that there is evidence that Tasers “do in fact cause great harm to people."
If passed by the council tonight, the proposed ordinance would ban police officers and private residents alike from using Tasers or other similar electronic weapons. If the council rejects that ordinance, it will be compelled to pass another placing the question on the Nov. 2 ballot.
Activist Mary Hussmann wants the people to decide.
“I don’t think there was ever any public demand for these things,” she said, referring to Tasers, “and when you empower people with a ballot, they tend to learn more about the issues.”
Due to a full agenda that includes the first in a series of hearings on the proposed budget for fiscal 2011, the council will begin its meeting tonight one hour early, at 6 in the City Hall Addition at Broadway and Eighth Street.