Update: Taser issue to go on Nov. 2 ballot

File Image: Taser group protests

Update: Monday, Aug. 16 at 9:45 p.m.

The Columbia City Council members voted unanimously Monday night to let Columbia voters decide to ban Tasers.

Council members voted No to amending the city code to add a new section pertaining to Tasers and other conducted electrical devices.

However, council members voted Yes to calling special election to consider making it unlawful to use or threaten to use a Taser or other conducted electrical device against any person.

Residents and groups spoke at the meeting Monday night making cases for and against Tasers.

A Columbia Police Association representative said that the Taser is a tool for police to use otherwise they will have to use other tools to protect themselves and others.

Those who want Tasers to be banned said that Tasers beget abuse and can lead to death.

However residents on both sides of the issue said told council members that the issue needs to be voted on by the people.

The issue will be on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton spoke about different Taser usage policies.

Third Ward Councilmember Gary Kesphol pointed out that the wording of the oridinance makes it illegal to use a defibrillator.

Update: Monday, Aug. 16 at 6 p.m.

Columbia City council members will vote on a measure that could ban Tasers in the city.

If council rejects the proposal, the issue will go on the November ballot and voters will decide.

If council accepts the measure, Tasers and similar police weapons will be banned in the city.

A group called "People for a Taser-Free Columbia" collected nearly 4,000 signatures from registered voter calling for a city-wide ban.

Several members of that group gathered outside Columbia City Hall Monday afternoon. They held signs asking drivers to honk their horns in support of the measure.

Tasers are unreliable because we don't know what they do, Taser-Free Columbia Supporter Lily Tinker-Fortel said. They are sold as weapon that doesn't cause bodily harm. It turns out that people die after being Tased.

The meeting started at 6 people could comment on several issues.

This is first of three public hearings for developing next year TMs budget.

The agenda also included a possible vote on who can file complaints with the Columbia City Police Review Board.

Original Story:

The Columbia City Council will consider a measure to ban Tasers and similar police weapons.

A group called People for a Taser-Free Columbia collected petition signatures from nearly 4,000 registered voters calling for a citywide ban. If the council rejects the proposal at its Monday night meeting, voters will consider the proposed ban in early November.

Activists have sought changes to city policy since summer 2008, when a 23-year-old Moberly man died after he was shocked with a stun gun for allegedly resisting arrest.

That came weeks after Columbia police used a Taser to subdue a man who threatened suicide while standing on a pedestrian bridge, but then fell off an Interstate 70 overpass. The city later agreed to pay the man $300,000.