Taser International and Cops Profiting from Police Brutality

Taser has seen its stock price double since Michael Brown was killed.

NICE, FRANCE - OCTOBER 16: French police control the street of nice during a student protest against school reform proposed by the french government, Nice the 16 of october 2010, France.
Photo Credit: jbor / Shutterstock.com

Taser International, one of the nation's largest suppliers of body cameras, has direct connections to some police chiefs who have been advocating on its behalf.

According to an AP report, the company is covering travel costs for cops that praise their products at international conferences. It's also hiring retired chiefs as consultants, after their cities sign contracts with Taser. After the police chief in Fort Worth, Texas obtained a contract with the company, he wrote one of their representatives an email, insisting that he deserved a raise. In Salt Lake City, the police department bypassed City Council approval to secure a contract with Taser and, in Albuquerque, Taser's connection to the police chief sparked an investigation by the city’s inspector general.

After the death of Michael Brown, body cameras became a staple of calls for police reform. President Obama proposed a $75 million effort to equip departments with the cameras, in an attempt to quell distrust of police. The move was supported by a number of liberals, but it was also adamantly supported by Taser International. According to aNation story by Raven Rakia, Taser has seen its stock price double since Michael Brown was killed. The company viewed Brown's murder as, " massive awareness campaign’ for police body cameras."

According to a 3-month Fusion investigation, body cameras can often benefit the police more than victims. It's clear that, sometimes, this benefit is also financial. 

Michael Arria covers labor and social movements. Follow him on Twitter: @michaelarria

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