Senator Tavares Decries Excessive Use Of Force
Demands that officers be better trained when using Tasers to subdue the mentally ill

Columbus - State Senator Charleta B. Tavares is speaking out against the use of excessive and deadly force on Linwood Lambert, who was killed in 2013 in South Boston, Virginia, after police tased him repeatedly. Recently, a video of the incident surfaced in which you can see Lambert being tased multiple times by police officers, even though he is in handcuffs. Lambert had a history of mental illness and substance abuse problems. The officers had initially been taking him to the hospital to be evaluated.

“The video of Mr. Lambert is appalling; seeing someone who has mental health issues tased repeatedly by police officers is horrific,” stated Senator Tavares. “While most officers perform their duties properly, no one should be permitted to treat our mentally ill as if they have no regard for their wellbeing. Watching Mr. Lambert writhing on the ground in pain is unsettling, and we must demand better from our law enforcement officers.”

Senator Tavares is calling for more studies and testing to determine the effects of Tasers on the mentally ill and people with health irregularities.  The Senator is also looking at ways to improve police training regarding when it is necessary or prudent to use a Taser to subdue someone, especially if that person struggles with mental illness.

“We know that Tasers affect those with substance abuse issues, excited delirium, and cardiovascular problems differently than they affect other people. Being tased once can mean death to an individual who suffers from these conditions,” said Senator Tavares. “We must make sure that proper testing is done so that Tasers remain a non-lethal option for everyone and the police have a better understanding of when it is appropriate to use them.”

Senator Tavares will be working on legislation to address these concerns. 

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