‘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.”
"Not intended to be painful," and yet every person seen here "testing" them is wearing a protective layer. Goodbye.— Bry Arlington (@brealitycheck) July 15, 2020
That is likely because there are in fact hooks at the end of its cord that can pierce the skin.
“There are however small hooks at the end of the rope that could pierce the skin” pic.twitter.com/dgDBlgeiBn— Artistictech (@Artistictech) July 15, 2020
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.
And to make matters worse, let's show a photo of a bunch of white cops trying it out on a black man.— Catherine Ryan Hyde (@cryanhyde) July 15, 2020
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.”
Nothing about how police departments across the country have responded to criticism since June has indicated that they are even trying to be anything other than violent, brutal and terrifying. https://t.co/WgK0Tljh4S— Saeed Jones (@theferocity) July 15, 2020
A few were happy the new device was being deployed however, with one saying it would lead to more “easy” arrests.
Some of them are starting to use the Bolawrap. Just watched the video today it shoots out a Kevlar web up to like 25 feet away and restrains them for a easy arrest .— Shaw Ma (@ShawMa6) July 14, 2020
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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