The outrage was clear after the death of Macadam Mason last year. The Thetford man, a brain injury survivor, who suffered from seizures was tased by a trooper during an encounter at his home. The medical examiner says the electric shock killed him.
"I want you to know about the person my son was, not just the name," said Mason's mother, Rhonda Taylor, back in April. Taylor joined advocates for the mentally ill and other vulnerable populations, pushing lawmakers for changes to how Vermont officers train for and use Tasers. Lawmakers did not vote on the Taser bills, but the state's law enforcement advisory board is now set to vote on a policy for police, and key advocates like the ACLU of Vermont don't like it.
"The draft Taser policy was a disappointment to us," said the ACLU's Allen Gilbert.
The ACLU filed comments on the draft policy, pointing out several concerns, including -- that it does not require regular testing of weapons to make sure they are emitting a standard charge, that the standard for police use of force is too broad and makes excessive force "almost guaranteed," and that it allows Tasers to be used on "special populations" like people with cognitive impairment.
"Policy says you should think about this but it doesn't say, do not shoot a mentally disturbed, a mentally ill or a disabled person with a Taser except in extreme circumstances. It doesn't say that and it really should," Gilbert said.
Reporter Kristin Kelly: What about those populations, those vulnerable populations? Why did the group come up with a policy that would trigger so much criticism?
Richard Gauthier/Vermont Law Enforcement Advisory Board Chair: The policy we put together was, we used a number of policies from around the state and that was consistent in those policies.
Law Enforcement Advisory Board Chair Rick Gauthier says the policy is still a draft and could change before it's voted on later this month. The board got so many comments that pointed out many of the same concerns that it will allow public comments at a meeting to review the comments next Friday. "We're hoping more clarity on both sides will help us come to a better product," he said.
No matter what Taser policy gets final approval by the Advisory Board, it still will not be mandatory for all police agencies, just a strong recommendation. Local governments control individual departments. The only way Taser rules can truly be required statewide is if lawmakers pass a bill.
Sunday, March 9 2014 8:08 AM EDT2014-03-09 12:08:24 GMT
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County. CCTA officials told us in a statement that after 19 hours of negotiations that went into the morningMore >>
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:49 PM EST2014-03-09 02:49:49 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:29 PM EST2014-03-09 02:29:17 GMT
A warning for pet owners in our region. Coyotes are on the prowl. A biologist in New Hampshire says he has received more than 10 calls recently, in the Keene, New Hampshire area, for a deer that was takenMore >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:21 PM EST2014-03-09 02:21:44 GMT
As spring approaches, many Vermont homeowners prepare to work on their houses - so they head to the Burlington Home Show. And many Vermont small business owners - with their products and services on displayMore >>
Many business owners at the Burlington Home Show say the new health care system in Vermont is helpful, but some say it's causing a real headache.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:07 PM EST2014-03-09 01:07:08 GMT
A rally at the State House in Montpelier Saturday. A passionate group of dozens of women, and men, assembled in front of the State House Saturday for the Women's March for Dignity. They were demandingMore >>
Women's March for Dignity say they are demanding lawmakers support paid sick day policies for all workers.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:21 AM EST2014-03-08 15:21:27 GMT
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries. They were injured while fighting a at the Bennett Farm on Route 15 on the Johnson-Cambridge town line. The fire started in a shed around 7:30 FridayMore >>
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:42 GMT
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury. They immediately took to Facebook after hearing about this fire and started planning to collectMore >>
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:05 GMT
Reporter: "What are some of the most common burn injuries that we see with kids coming into the hospital?" Jim Esdon, Dartmouth Hitchcock Injury Prevention Center: "This time of year, the glass frontedMore >>
We've had another cold week that's left homeowners cranking the heat. But what does that mean for kids' safety?More >>