CNN entered the Houston Taser debate yesterday, with the opening segment of the Paula Zahn Now show devoted to interviews with HPD Chief Harold Hurtt, councilwoman Ada Edwards, and an eclectic group of commentators.
The report centered on the November Tasering of Houston Texans lineman Fred Weary, who got the juice when, officers said, he acted in a threatening manner after being pulled over for a minor traffic citation. (Hey, he's a Texans lineman — how threatening can he be?) Charges of resisting arrest were later thrown out.
Weary, in the days following the incident, took care not to play up the racial angle too much. But now, with protests scheduled for Martin Luther King Day about the HPD's use of Tasers (more than 60 percent of the people Tasered in the city are black), he seems at least a little less reticent:
ZAHN: And Fred Weary joins me now.
Fred, do you think you were Tasered and treated the way you were treated because you're a black man?
FRED WEARY: I don't know exactly, you know, what reason were in those two officers' minds that day.
I mean, it's -- a conclusion can be drawn about it, you know, from looking at what they said about the incident and what they said about the situation........
ZAHN: Do you think, had your two arresting officers been black, you would have been Tasered?
WEARY: I don't think so.
ZAHN: And why?
WEARY: I think that they probably would have handled the situation a little different.
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The key question Zahn didn't ask: Were the cops Texans fans? Because if they were, we kind of understand how they'd be pissed off in November and wanting to do something about it. -- Richard Connelly