“Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced changes to the state’s policy regarding stun gun use Thursday,” northjersey.com reports. Before the new rules, Garden State cops could only TASE citizens who posed an imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm to police or other innocent life — the same standard that [generally] applies to other citizens’ use of deadly force against an attacker or attackers. In a letter to law enforcement officials, AG Hoffman wrote that it’s . . .
unrealistic to expect cops to predict how much damage a suspect could or would inflict on officers or other civilians before whipping out their stun gun and barbing the bad guy. He said the previous regs had a “chilling effect” on officers’ use of TASERs to “de-escalate” situations. And stopped departments like Ft. Lee from equipping officers with stun guns.
Under the new guidelines, NJ police can now TASE individuals who “actively resist arrest,” and/or pose a “substantial risk” of “causing bodily injury.” After they’ve had racial sensitivity training . . .
The policy changes announced Thursday also give officers permission to use a stun gun on someone who refuses to put down or surrender a deadly weapon, clarifies the definition of passive resistance and specifies that a stun gun cannot be used to prevent someone from causing property damage. Officers who carry stun guns also must now be trained in techniques to de-escalate a confrontation with an individual from “a different culture or background.”
The regs also mandate that NJ police must record every stun gun use electronically with either a gun-mounted camera or a body cam.