by: Andy Birkey
The St. Paul Police Department is requesting 230 Tasers to outfit the all of the department's officers with the electroshock weapon, Fox 9 News reports. The SPPD will purchase the Tasers with $210,000 collected from drug raids. The St. Paul City Council will have to approve the purchase.
The purchase is expected to arrive in St. Paul just in time for the Republican National Convention prompting media speculation that the weapons are being purchased specifically for the convention. When asked by Fox 9 News whether the police will use the weapon at the convention particularly against protesters, police spokester Tom Walsh said, "Our hope is that no one will have to use any degree of force. If it becomes necessary, will that be one of the tools available to them? I suppose that's safe to say."
Five Americans died as a result of law enforcement use of Tasers in January 2008, on of whom was Minnesotan, Mark C. Backlund, 29, of Fridley, who was shocked after he "became uncooperative" with police after a car accident.
The death count resulting from Taser use in the United States in February so far has been one death per week.