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NJ Eases Restrictions on Use of Stun Guns by Police Departments

New rules allow use if someone resists arrest, carries a deadly weapon, or threatens physical force

The state has eased rules for police use of stun guns, which the state’s attorney general says will help safeguard police while enabling them to use less-lethal force in certain situations.

The new policy announced by Acting Attorney General John Hoffman allows an officer to use a stun gun if a person actively resists an arrest, is armed with a deadly weapon or threatens physical force. The officer must believe someone poses a substantial risk of causing bodily injury before discharging a stun gun. Under the previous policy, an officer could use a stun gun only if he or she believed a person’s actions could cause “death or serious bodily injury.”

The ACLU of New Jersey protested the new guidelines: “The policy greatly expands the authority of police officers to use stun guns against civilians. Evidence shows that while stun guns might be considered ‘less lethal’ than firearms, they still can and do kill people. Nor has the use of stun guns led to a decrease in the number of people shot by police.”

Read the full report by NJTV News, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.

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