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Tennessee Taser Incident Prompts Debate On De-escalation

Use of a Taser on a Tennessee DoorDash driver who refused to leave his vehicle during a traffic stop is raising questions about police de-escalation methods, the Washington Post reports. Delane Gordon was near his delivery destination when an officer from the Collegedale Police Department, made a U-turn and pulled him over for speeding. A video shows the interaction for about a minute before the officer used his Taser. It appears that Gordon refused to provide identification before the video began rolling, but in the video he offers his license to the officer, who has his Taser drawn. Early on in the video, about 45 seconds before Gordon was Tased, the officer says, "You will be tased, get out." Gordon was adamant that he wanted the officer to bring a supervisor to the scene. Around 30 seconds before Gordon was Tased, the officer attempted to pull Gordon out of the car. Gordon resisted, though did not attempt to strike the officer. After a little more than 15 seconds of trying to pull Gordon from the car, the officer says, "I'm telling you to get out." Then, the officer drew his Taser again and quickly fired it. Gordon can be heard crying out in pain. Gordon, who has no criminal record, has been charged with resisting arrest and obstruction of justice. Gordon's attorney released the video to “to spark conversation in the community” and “raise awareness." He said the interaction escalated too quickly and that a request to see a supervisor should not be interpreted as a challenge to the officer's authority. The officer has been put on leave amid investigations by the Hamilton County Sheriff and the Collegedale Police Department. The incident comes as police departments are widely recognizing the need for de-escalation training. Key tenets of de-escalation are patience, distance between officers and subjects, and calling supervisors to the scene. There has also been debate about the use of Tasers, which have been linked to 1,000 deaths since the early 2000s.

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