August 31, 2005

Dear Commissioner,

Enclosed is an article that I think you need to read, about tasers. It seems many communities are struggling with the consequences of their use. Interestingly, some municipalities and police forces are suing the manufacturer for misleading them about its lethal capabilities, which has exposed the municipalities to liability. Depending on which account you read, there have been 70 to 150 incidents in this country where Tasers have at least contributed to deaths. THEY ARE NOT NON-LETHAL. I don't want Mt. Lebanon to wait to face this issue only after some avoidable Taser incident, death and inevitable lawsuit. In fact, I would hate to see the death or serious injury in the first place. I would think you, as a responsible and thinking individual, would not want that wither.

Not only do I not want to see our millage increased again to pay some wrongful death suit, I do not want to see Mt. Lebanon's image further ravaged by the public spectacle that would surely follow, especially since you are on notice now because of the Frank Caruso incident. If you choose to stand pat, ignore the petition for a citizen commission to review the Taser policy and the incidents of the use of Tasers, and continue to circle the wagons around the chief who simply knee jerked his support for the policeman involved without even an investigation, then I think you further expose us to liability.

Query: Have you viewed the videotape yet? If not, why not?

I would expect the police chief to knee jerk such a response in support of his officers; I expect more of my commissioners. I suggest you get in front of this issue, be pro-active, be creative. Stop the next tragedy before it happens. I urge you to take up the petition submitted by Mr. Whitfield and act upon it. I urge you to DO THE RIGHT THING.

Sincerely, but not optimistically,

(name withheld)
Citizen of Mt. Lebanon

attached National Law Journal article page 1 page 2