Déjà vu all over again on stun guns 

Prepare for another electrifying round of talk about Tasers this Wednesday when the Police Commission, once again but with a different political slant, discusses whether to adopt the controversial stun guns.

One year ago, a commissioner appointed by Mayor Gavin Newsom broke with the administration’s stance and voted against equipping officers with Tasers. Commissioner Yvonne Lee sided with three Board of Supervisors appointees who feared the stun guns could potentially be misused.

Shortly after Lee’s vote, Newsom made his displeasure known, and the civil rights pioneer was not reappointed when her term ended shortly afterward.

Since then, Newsom appointed two new commissioners, James Slaughter and Carol Kingsley. Kingsley specializes in business disputes while Slaughter litigates white-collar matters.

Mixed in with the politics is the fact that since the last vote, three officer-involved shootings – two of them fatal – have grabbed attention because all three people who were shot had mental health issues.

Earlier this month, police commissioners adopted a new method meant to help officers deal with mental health crises without shooting their handguns.

So, after failing to approve Tasers last year, as well as six years ago, will the commission finally have the votes?

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Brent Begin

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