MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. - The Maryland State Senate’s Judiciary Committee is moving towards creating a state task force to study Taser use by police. The move comes just days after Montgomery county executive Ike Legget ordered his police department to review all Taser use, following the death of a Gaithersburg man in 2013.
Public officials are now asking tough questions about how, when and why police use Tasers to subdue individuals. This has taken a new urgency since the Baltimore Sun released a study showing since 2009, of the 11 who have died in police Taser incidents in Maryland, Montgomery County officers were involved in 4 of those which is the highest number of any police department in the state.
The sun profiled the April 2013 death of Anthony Howard, a 51-year-old man who died after being Tased by a Montgomery County Police officer. Police had been called to Gaithersburg after he was acting erratically, humping on cars and unresponsive to pepper spray. Howard was tased and then later pronounced dead.
State Senator Jennifer Lee, says the legislator tried to implement police Taser reforms back in 2009 but failed to do so. Montgomery county police confirmed on Monday that they support county executive Ike Legget’s call for review of Taser practices and say they are committed to making the count a safe place to live and work. Robin Howard, Anthony Howard’s sister, says she supports Senator Lee’s efforts to create a Taser task force, because any reforms can’t be county by county but need to be state wide.