At least two city councillors would like to have more information and a second look at the use of tasers by the Chelsea Police Department – especially following the death of one man two weeks ago who had gotten tased during a violent altercation with police.
The Hawthorne Street death, however, is not currently being blamed on the tasing, but rather the man could have died from a heroin overdose. After being tased and handcuffed and being administered NARCAN (an overdose reversal drug), the man went unconscious.
He died later at the Whidden Hospital.
However, Councillors Giovanni Recupero and Joe Perlatonda – both frequent critics of the local police – said they have heard of other incidents involving tasers and would like to have a public discussion about their use and the training involved.
“People are concered due to the last person over that died after being tased,” said Perlatonda. “I guess last Saturday on the corner of Central and Marginal Street, someone was trying to steal copper or lumber from the new hotel building site. The police arrived on the scene and ended up tasing the guy. Councillor Recupero and I are very concerned.”
Recupero pointed out that most of the tasing events that have happened are in either his district or Perlatonda’s district.
He said he isn’t necessarily against tasers, but would like to have more information about how they’re being used and if the police are monitoring their usage.
Tasers are wildly popular with police officers on the front lines all over the area. In Chelsea, they’ve already been shown to reduce the amounts of assaults on police officers – incidents that often lead to injuries and health problems for officers.
Other neighboring cities, including Revere, are looking to Chelsea’s program to see if such weapons would be a good addition in that city.
As part of standard taser training, any officer who carries a taser must be hit by it first. That is so that they know how it feels and don’t overdo the tasing of suspects.
“It might be worth us getting some more information if these events are going to be happening more often,” said Perlatonda.