Killing Us Safely: The Get Shot or Shocked Doctrine

Tiny - Posted on 20 November 2017

Image credit: Coalition for a Taser-Free Berkeley


On November 3, 2017, the San Francisco Po-Lice Commission voted 4 to 3 to Yes on the question of should the San Francisco Police Department be awarded with Energy Conducted Weapons i.e. another weapon (Tasers)?  

This question has been raised 5 times in the last 13 years, and San Franciscans, for the most part have answered with a resounding No!  Yet, the question of arming the SFPD, with an additional weapon in their arsenal has resurfaced again.  Why?  The SFPD, argues its need of Tasers is because “it is an intermediate force weapon between a baton and guns.”  Or is it because the national push to arm police departments with Energy Conducted Weapons, is due to the lobbying and big spending that Axon, manufacturer of ECW’s has done, miseducating many to believe that these weapons are a safe alternative to other options?  

As a black person of African descent living in San Francisco, I am highly suspicions of arming the SFPD, with these so-called “less lethal” weapons.  My suspicions are partly based on recent studies that point to the disparate impact that ECW’s have had impact on Black folks, and People experiencing mental crisis, the homeless and disabled.

The State of Connecticut:  Electronic Defense Weapon Analysis and Findings, 2015.  The Central Connecticut State University analyzed data submitted by 79 Connecticut police departments in 2015.  The state-wide data indicated that 83% of persons tasered were unarmed, one-third of the individuals subject to being tased were described as emotionally disturbed and people of color were more likely to be tased and less likely to be given a warning before being tasered than whites.

The Baltimore Sun analyzed data on statewide Taser incidents between 2012-2014 and found that out of nearly 3,000 Taser uses, 64 percent of those hit by the stun guns were black men, and nearly 60 percent of those hit by Tasers were described as “non-compliant and non-threatening” (i.e. officers often turned to Tasers before exhausting less forceful means).

A cornerstone of police community relationships requires trust between the police and community members.  Arming the SFPD, with ECW’s will not engender trust in my community.  It is seen as awarding the SFPD another weapon to be used against vulnerable populations and will serve to widen the chasm that already exists in our communities regarding police community relations.

De-escalation techniques, time and distance, is a real solution,” something which the officers, mental health advocates and social workers made up of Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), through community pressure already implements.


This martial state apparatus answer to the crisis of black and brown youth being murdered by terrorist organizations - popularly known as the police, was a thinly veiled more humanitarian approach, e.g., “it is better to be shocked, than shot”.  Now the po-Lice and po-Lice Commission seems to have effectively and successfully co-opted the communities rightful anger and demands for accountability through this seemingly humanitarian solution.  A kinder and gentler settler-kkkop, method.  While neglecting the legitimate concerns and fears of those who will be disproportionately impacted by energy conducted weapons.   

Tasers are a thinly disguised veil use to obscure the hyper-militarization of law enforcement and its repression of black and brown communities in San Francisco.

So let’s now give credit where credit is due:

We want to give credit to the san francisco police commission for their cowardice and capitulation to the reactionary elements of the city of Francisco.

We want to give credit to them for once again siding with these reactionary element against the people's will and demands to not to arm the SFPD with additional weapons that will be used against black, brown and red people, the disabled, people experiencing mental crisis and the homeless & the poor. I.e., vulnerable segments of our community

We want to give credit to po-Lice commissioners,Sonia E. Melara Thomas Mazzucco, Joe Marshall and Robert Hirsch, for their blatantly, shameful, obvious disregard for the concerned community members who attended the meeting to voice their continous opposition to this racist and classist weapons policy and the sham amendment that would require these weapons next year.  It would have taken a year to implement ECW’s, anyway, so this was a bullshit amendment anyway.


We want to give credit to the San Francisco Po-Lice commission, for once again reminding the people that this commission is nothing more than a Rubber-Stamp commission, doing the bidding of mayor Ed Lee, The San Francisco board of supervisors, San Francisco po-Lice department, and Axon, the manufactures of these weapons, who will continue to profit off of the police state and the misery the police state places on our communities.

Finally, we want to give credit to this rubber stamp commission for clearly illustrating that what is needed is a Democratically chosen and Elected, People's Commission for Justice, that will replace the current rubber-stamp Po-Lice Commission with a People's Commission for Justice, with the power to fire, suspend, investigate, charge and prosecute offices and control the budget of the SFPD.

In other words, the San Francisco po-Lice commission’s betrayal of the people’s will and its continued support of the blux klux klan,  justifies our calls for Community Control of the po-Lice.

All Power to the People!!!


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