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October 04, 2007
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N.C. police use of stun gun causes controversy

By Anne Blythe
The News & Observer

GRAHAM, N.C. An Alamance County man was on the front stoop of his mobile home, wearing only his boxer shorts and an undershirt, when an Elon police officer zapped him with a stun gun less than a minute after he answered the door.

John Wayne Paylor, 53, found half of Elon's police force outside his home on June 18, 2006, to arrest him for a misdemeanor traffic violation from the day before.

Paylor was found guilty on Wednesday of reckless driving but not guilty of resisting arrest. A patrol-car video showing the arrest, in which he was stunned twice, was entered as evidence.

The case highlights mounting concerns that lawyers, social workers, human rights advocates and others raise as law enforcement agencies stock their arsenals with the stun guns, commonly known as Tasers.

There are no uniform state policies governing when, where and how Tasers should be used by law enforcement officers.

The issue is being studied by the North Carolina Campaign Against Racial Profiling, a coalition that includes the state chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP, mental health organizations, social worker associations, justice groups and others.

Tasers, which resemble handguns, send jolts of electricity through metal prongs to a person.

Copyright 2007 News & Observer

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