Questions arise on use of force after Burbank, Pasadena men die while being tased

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The deaths of a man in Burbank and one in Pasadena who were tased by police is raising questions about the use of force. (KABC)

The deaths of a man in Burbank and one in Pasadena who were tased by police is raising questions about the use of force.

Incidents involving the use of force have been in headlines throughout Southern California for the last week.

The man in Pasadena died after officers used a Taser to subdue him during a domestic dispute call last Thursday. On Saturday, Los Angeles police shot and killed 18-year-old Carnell Snell Jr. after a short car chase. They said Snell had threatened them with a handgun.

The following day, LAPD officers shot and killed another man suspected of pointing a replica gun at them.

Then on Tuesday night, another taser case happened in Burbank. Officers were called to a home in the 500 block of Mariposa Street for a domestic disturbance call. Officers ended up tasing 66-year-old Thomas Binkley, who died at the scene.

"They felt threatened by the individual with a gun who was not following their direction to put the gun down. So they did indeed have to retreat behind cover," Sgt. Claudio Losacco said.

According to statistics analyzed by the Orange County Register, use of force cases have been on the rise in California. In 1992, when violent crime in the state hit a high, only seven people were shot and killed while in police or prison custody.

The recent police-involved shootings and taser deaths have spurred some violent protests. In Los Angeles, activists called for Mayor Eric Garcetti to fire Police Chief Charlie Beck.

On Wednesday, Garcetti gave Beck his vote of confidence and defended the chief's decision not to released body camera videos from recent shootings.

But Beck did release surveillance video for the Snell shooting, which he said shows the teenager carrying a handgun shortly before officers shot him.

The mayor said releasing body camera video too early in an investigation could color witness recollections.

"When somebody sees a video, they're going to think that that was their memory. So it's important for at least a few days to be able to make sure people have only their memories as police are conducting their investigations," Garcetti said.

As for the Burbank case, the department said it often uses Tasers to diffuse violent situations. Losacco said the Tasers are less lethal devices that have been used successfully over the last few years. He said the Burbank death was the first he was aware of that involved the use of the device.
Related Topics:
use of forcetaserbody cameraspolice shootingman killederic garcettilos angeles police departmentBurbankLos AngelesSouth Los AngelesPasadenaLos Angeles County
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