03/02/2009

TASER use on autistic boy questioned

By Jack Leonard and Richard Winton
Los Angeles

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LOS ANGELES — Hawthorne police have launched a misconduct investigation of an officer who used a 50,000-volt stun gun on a violent autistic 12-year-old boy at one of the city's middle schools, authorities said.

Such use of electroshock weapons by police on young students is rare, but high-profile incidents have sparked fierce debate around the country over when, if ever, Tasers should be used on children. At the same time, an increasing number of police departments are equipping school-based officers with them, according to the leading maker of the weapons.

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