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Taser Death Still Festers in Vermont

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Among those questioning AG Sorrell's willingness ever to bring an enforcement action against a Vermont police officer involved in a lethal event, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Vermont, Allen Gilbert, commented that "It's hard to know when, if ever, criminal charges might be brought in a law enforcement shooting death."  The ACLU issued a statement signed by Gilbert, saying in part: 

"The Vermont Attorney General's Office has declined to bring any charges in the fatal Macadam Mason Taser shooting last June, leaving open the question of who bears responsibility for the death of an innocent Vermonter. The stark facts of the case are these: A state trooper fired a weapon that killed a man. The weapon was used in a way contrary to guidelines from the weapon's manufacturer, Taser International". 

 

"We will continue to work on ways to bring about greater police accountability. We support the establishment of a professional licensing system for police, as there is for most other Vermont professions. Both the public and police suffer when officers' conduct is not reviewed by an independent state board that makes sure all officers are aware of and meet professional standards. 

Soon after Mason's taser death, the ACLU, Vermont Legal Aid, mental health advocacy groups, and others called for a state moratorium on tasers at least until all police armed with tasers were fully trained in appropriate taser use.  Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, a Democrats, together with Attorney General Sorrell and state police officials, all rejected the idea of a moratorium out of hand, without giving it much deliberation.   An online petition supporting a moratorium had 1,217 signatures as of January 29, including that of former Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin, also a Democrat.   

Nobody said it would be easy to get justice for a dead man, especially a poor dead

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man, especially a poor dead artist with epilepsy who was tasered to death by a Vermont State trooper in June 2012, but at least Vermont's Governor, Vermont's Attorney General, and the Vermont State Police are helping to make it harder than it should be.    

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Vermonter living in Woodstock: elected to five terms (served 20 years) as side judge (sitting in Superior, Family, and Small Claims Courts); public radio producer, "The Panther Program" -- nationally distributed, three albums (at CD Baby), some (more...)
 

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