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15 Jul, 2020 18:47

‘Violent, brutal & terrifying’: US police are testing new ‘safe’ method to catch suspects…an electric lasso

‘Violent, brutal & terrifying’: US police are testing new ‘safe’ method to catch suspects…an electric lasso

Police in the US are testing a new tool to capture criminal suspects: an electric lasso. Despite being presented as a harmless alternative to more violent methods of apprehension, netizens were immediately skeptical.

Washington, DC police have been testing out the controversial electronic lasso, designed to take suspects down without hurting them, NBC reported. The ‘BolaWrap’ is a handheld device that looks like a Taser and shoots a cord as far as 25 feet that wraps around a person's legs. 

Robert Liberati, the Landover Hills town police chief has already ordered one lasso for each of his officers. “You’re immobilized temporarily enough, hopefully, that officers can get to you, get you under control and apprehended with as little injury as possible,” he said of the device’s proposed functionality.

Some on social media noticed something disturbing about the BolaWrap, however. One person pointed out that while it’s not intended to be painful, “every person seen ‘testing’ [the device] is wearing a protective layer.”

That is likely because there are in fact hooks at the end of its cord that can pierce the skin.

The new police tool comes on the heels of the anti-racism and anti-police brutality movement sweeping the country, which was sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of a cop in Minnesota.

Some claimed that the addition of these new weapons to the police arsenal proved that they were missing the point of the protest movement — particularly given the fact that they used a black man in the testing video for the device. 

One user even felt there was a “slave catcher aesthetic” to the new tool. Another tweeter said police were not even trying to be “anything other than violent, brutal and terrifying.”

A few were happy the new device was being deployed however, with one saying it would lead to more “easy” arrests.

US police already use non-lethal weapons like pepper spray and Tasers to apprehend people — but instances of officers shooting and killing fleeing suspects from behind have sparked international outrage.

Civil rights groups and protesters, including the Black Lives Matter movement, are against the use of the BolaWrap, however, and have insisted that police should be trained in de-escalation rather than given more weapons.

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