Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cleveland police boast near-spotless Taser record, but experts question credibility of the numbers

Written and reported with Gabriel Baird

When it comes to Tasers, Cleveland police have a record of perfection that some law enforcement experts believe is too good to be true.

Between October 2005 and March 2011, officers chose the electrical-shock devices to gain control of struggling suspects 969 times, according to city data analyzed by The Plain Dealer.

And during that period, Chief Michael McGrath and other police supervisors under his command found the use of a Taser to be appropriate in all but five of the cases they reviewed.

The 99.5 percent clearance rate "strains credibility," said Samuel Walker, a criminal justice professor emeritus at University of Nebraska at Omaha who focuses on police accountability.

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