Waveland takes tasers from officers after 3 new lawsuits

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - Waveland police officers are no longer carrying tasers after the city was hit with multiple lawsuits alleging police misconduct this week.

Mayor David Garcia said over the last few days three lawsuits were filed against Waveland. In one suit, a woman claims that Waveland officers roughed her up, broke her nose and tased her. She say the incident happened in February when she was four months pregnant.

Mayor Garcia said he decided on Thursday to take the tasers away from the police department while the allegations are under investigation.

"I'm not admitting any guilt or anything is wrong with any of the police officers [or] the way they used the tasers," said Mayor Garcia. "But being that I've heard so many issues about the tasers being used by the Waveland police officers, I made the decision this week to go ahead and pick up the tasers. I talked to the police chief about it. He's cooperating 100 percent with it, so I went on and issued an order to have the tasers picked up. "

In recent years, Waveland has been hit with three other lawsuits alleging police abuse involving tasers. Mayor Garcia said his administration will review the police department's policies regarding the use of tasers before deciding if they will be returned to the officers.

Mayor Garcia has an background in law enforcement. He said he doesn't think taking the tasers away puts officers at greater risk during confrontations. He said he didn't use tasers when he worked in law enforcement and many departments around the country don't use the devices now.

The mayor admitted the decision was in part a financial one.

"I, as mayor, have to look at both sides of the picture," he said. "We've got police officer safety as we talked about earlier, but also being able to get keeping our bond rating and being able to purchase insurance for the city of Waveland is certainly an issue as well."

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.