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N.J. police shooting sparks debate on nonlethal weapons

By William Kleinknecht
The Star-Ledger

MAPLEWOOD, N.J. When Maplewood police shot a knife-wielding schizophrenic outside his home late last month, the incident raised questions about whether officers answering a medical call could have found other ways to subdue the man short of using deadly force.

One choice the officers did not have was the use of a stun gun or Taser because New Jersey is the only state that prohibits police from using such "less-lethal" weapons. They might have used other less-lethal weapons, such as beanbag shotguns or rubber bullets, but the department does not have that equipment.

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