CENTRALIA, Wash. - Several people were voluntarily shocked with a Taser by a police officer during a charity softball tournament in Centralia on July 2. The department is now receiving complaints questioning whether the demonstration was appropriate.
The Guns N' Hoses fundraiser at Borst Park is a gathering of police, fire and military personnel. After the softball game, members of the military asked to be shocked with a Taser gun, according to Centralia police. Use of a Taser is a common practice for training in law enforcement.
On Monday, a concerned viewer sent video of the demonstration. One of the videos shows a member of the military being supported by two people as he’s shocked with a Taser. Centralia's police chief was present when it happened. In another video, several other military members are briefly shocked.
Everyone in the video is laughing, clapping and there are children running in the background.
Centralia Deputy Chief Stacy Denham is the one who was holding the Taser gun.
He says it's important to understand the circumstances surrounding the demonstration.
There were no barbed darts involved and people were shocked for one second. Denham says the demonstration was under control, and much less severe than the typical shock deployed during training.
"We only went for about one second at the most, just to give them the feel for what it was. Even with that, we had people on both sides to make sure they weren't going to hurt themselves or fall," he said.
Denham says the demonstration did not violate policy because it was approved by the police chief, who witnessed it.
"That's why we allowed them to videotape it because it wasn't a secret, it wasn't a concern for us," Denham said.
For perspective, KIRO 7 asked former King County Sheriff John Urquhart to look at the video.
"As I look at this, I have a few concerns. How many people are watching this? It can be a little intimidating when that happens," he says, "I think there's a lot of questions and it probably needs some scrutiny at the very least."
However, he says his concerns are mostly about liability, not danger.
"I don't see any dangers in doing this. It's more of a community relations situation than anything else," Urquhart said.
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