At last night's meeting of the City Council in Richmond, an ill-timed request from the police department for the purchase of 75 new Tasers led to some extended and awkward discussion. The request, though apparently just a routine expense authorization based on the department's review of equipment, comes within a day or so of an expected verdict in the Johannes Mehserle trial, which could very well cause Oakland to burn just a few miles to the south of Richmond.
Then there's the issue of a resolution passed by the Richmond Council on May 5th banning any and all business with vendors in the state of Arizona, after that whole SB 1070 immigration law. The only west coast vendor of Taser-brand electronic stun-gun products is in Arizona.
The night was filled with vague comments like "I’m sort of conflicted about it,” from Councilwoman Maria Viramontes and others. But ultimately, Mayor Gayle McLaughlin said she was okay with the $84,000 expense for 75 Tasers since the Arizona law has not yet taken effect, and therefore their ban on purchases doesn't technically have to take effect. As for the other issue, they tried not to go there.
In other business, members of the community and a Council member wasted a half hour discussing how to make Council meetings go faster. Also, Richmond Confidential snapped an image of two smiling younger siblings of a 20-year-old Asama Ayyad who was gunned down outside a Richmond mosque last week in a case of mistaken identity.