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How Treasure Coast police are trained to use Tasers

Sgt. Brian Bossio with the Stuart Police Department displays his department-issued Taser.jpg
Posted at 4:36 PM, Apr 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-13 18:39:38-04

STUART, Fla. — A white police officer who fatally shot a Black man during a traffic stop in a Minneapolis suburb resigned Tuesday, as did the city's police chief, moves that the mayor said he hoped would help heal the community and lead to reconciliation after two nights of protests and unrest.

The resignations from Officer Kim Potter and Police Chief Tim Gannon came two days after the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center. Potter, a 26-year veteran, had been on administrative leave following Sunday's shooting, which happened as the Minneapolis area was already on edge over the trial of the first of four police officers in George Floyd's death.

Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott said he was "appreciative" that Potter submitted her resignation but that he had not asked for it nor accepted it. It wasn't immediately clear what that would mean.

Gannon has said he believed Potter mistakenly grabbed her gun when she was going for her Taser. She can be heard on her body camera video shouting "Taser! Taser!"

However, protesters and Wright's family members say there's no excuse for the shooting and it shows how the justice system is tilted against Blacks, noting Wright was stopped for expired car registration and ended up dead.

Over on the Treasure Coast, WPTV spoke with a local police sergeant about how they're trained to use Tasers.

"Stuart Police Department, like every law enforcement officer in the country, we carry a firearm," said Sgt. Brian Bossio. "Stuart police carries a GLOCK 21 which is 45 caliber semi-automatic pistol. We also have pepper spray. We also carry a taser and expandable batons."

"Show me what the taser looks like and describe how it feels," said WPTV journalist Sabirah Rayford.

"This is the latest model of taser, as you can see the handgrip is much smaller than it would be on a firearm. It’s very, very light compared to a firearm. So, our firearms are located on our duty belt on our strong side and our tasers are always required by policy to be located on our weak side," Bossio said. "As you can see the lasers come out of the taser and that is where the prongs will hit."

"And in what situations is it common to user a taser?" Rayford asked.

"Well, based on our policy the subject needs to be actively resisting a lawful arrest," Bossio said.

"And finally, what's your message to the people of Stuart?" Rayford asked.

"Well, the Stuart Police Department has utilized tasers for over a decade. They are great tools, but they are also something that officers need to be very well trained on and very educated on and understand these tools that we have are our last choice. We want to obviously do our jobs but do it in the safest manner not only for the officers, but obviously for the citizens and the public," Bossio said.