ACLU To Testify in Support of Legislation Requiring Detailed
Reports of Taser Use



February 24, 2011

CONTACT: Meredith Curtis, ACLU of Maryland, 410-889-8555;
Melissa Goemann, ACLU Legislative Director, 410-693-4877;

ANNAPOLIS -- Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland will be testifying to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in support of SB 652 - Public Safety - Use of Electronic Control Devices - Reports. This bill would require all Maryland law enforcement agencies to submit an in depth annual report to the Governor's Office of Crime Control of any use of electronic weapons, or "tasers," by individuals within the agency. The report would include information such as the time, place and reason of taser use, race and gender of the person against which a taser was used, and any injuries or death resulting from the use of a taser.

Said Melissa Goemann, Legislative Director for the ACLU of Maryland: "This bill is one of the recommendations of the Attorney General's Task Force on Electronic Control Weapons. It provides for uniform data collection of law enforcement use of ECWs throughout the state to ensure transparency and accountability in the use of ECWs and to help agencies assess the need for changes to policy or training to ensure that ECWs are used safely. If used improperly, there is a risk of serious injury and even death associated with ECW use. This is especially concerning since the data collected for the AG's Task Force showed that ECWs were used disproportionately against minorities."

WHAT: Hearing on of SB 652 - Public Safety - Use of Electronic Control Devices - Reports in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee

WHO: Melissa Goemann, Legislative Director, ACLU of Maryland. Goemann will be available for media interviews.

WHEN: Hearing begins at 1 PM.

WHERE: Miller Senate Office Building entrance, 11 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD.

BACKGROUND: In 2009, the ACLU of Maryland released a report recommending a best practices guideline for the use of tasers, alongside the Task Force on Electronic Weapons and the Maryland Office of the Attorney General. The task force was created in 2008 in response to community concerns expressed at a meeting with the Maryland NAACP and the ACLU of Maryland. The report includes recommendations for better training of law enforcement, appropriate use guidelines, and a call for better monitoring and reporting the use of tasers.