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Mayor Defends Use of Police Stun Guns

The stun gun is an important tool for police protection and it is unfortunate that negative publicity led some officers to turn the devices in, Ventura Mayor Richard Francis said Friday.

“Stun guns are important,” he said. “That’s why they were developed.”

Francis said Ventura Police Chief Richard F. Thomas told him that he was concerned because officers were turning in their stun guns.

Thomas told him that officers appear less willing to carry the guns because of public reaction to two incidents involving the stun guns, Francis said.

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Thomas was unavailable for comment. Spokesman Lt. Pat Rooney declined to say how many officers had turned in their stun guns.

Officer Steven Mosconi was suspended for 20 workdays without pay for using excessive force when he shocked an epileptic driver with one on June 23.

In February, mental patient Duane Johnson, 24, who had heart disease, died after Ventura police shocked him repeatedly with stun guns while he was tethered to a hospital gurney.

The county coroner found the stun gun to be one of three primary causes of Johnson’s death. The district attorney’s office is investigating the case.

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