30 Jul 2010

Maori 'more likely' to be tasered - sociologist

8:52 pm on 30 July 2010

An Auckland University sociologist says police are more likely to taser Maori than other New Zealanders.

Dr Bruce Cohen says research from Britain and the United States shows minority groups have been far more likely to be zapped during relatively minor incidents.

He told Waatea News that when the New Zealand police trialled the weapon in 2006 and 2007, 29% of those tasered were Maori despite their making up 15% of the population.

He said he had no doubt that Maori are likely to be targeted in future with tasers, saying Maori are over-represented in the prison population and those coming before the courts.

Dr Cohen said more than 300 deaths in the United States have been directly attributed to taser use, and it's only a matter of time before a Maori dies as a result of police taser use.