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Nashua police say there was no misconduct in tasering outside Apple store

NASHUA - Two days after a Newton, Mass., woman was tasered at the Pheasant Lane Mall, police have determined there was no misconduct on the part of arresting officers.

"The use of force was deemed justified and appropriate by the department," Deputy Chief Scott Howe said Thursday.

Officer John Murphy, who used the taser, had been carrying the device for four years; this was the first time he used it, Howe said.

He said that force was used by Nashua police 192 times this year, or in 4.3 percent of arrests.

The taser was used in 0.38 percent of arrests.

It was deployed five times with the more severe projectile probes - which can cause a person to collapse - and 12 times in "drive stun" mode, which Howe said is used for "pain compliance."

Nashua police define a taser as a less-than lethal conducted-energy weapon that uses nitrogen-propelled wires at 26 watts and 50,000 volts to a remote target, controlling and overriding the central nervous system.

The high-voltage electrical waves overpower the normal electrical signals within the nerve fibers, potentially causing involuntary muscle contractions.

The department's taser policy allows for the probes to be used when a need arises to incapacitate a dangerous subject.

The drive stun mode is to be used to overcome resistance when a subject refuses to comply with verbal instructions. The taser is not to be used as a form of coercion or punishment, department policy states.

The department's eight-level use of force continuum includes: officer presence; verbal direction; hand control, pepper spray or taser drive stun; restraint techniques; baton or impact weapons; taser probes; rubber bullets; and deadly force.

Police are required to say "taser" before using the weapon.

Howe said the arresting officers did not use pepper spray because it could have affected shoppers at the mall.

The Nashua Police have worked 204 police details at Apple this year at a cost of $50 an hour.

One additional arrest was made at the store this year.

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Simon Rios may be reached at


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