Remember the surfer-dude Ninja Turtle named Michaelangelo, whose signature weapon was nunchakus, two sticks connected by a cord? Well, Michaelangelo’s not the only one swinging nunchakus for justice. The LOS ANGELES TIMES reports that the martial arts weapon has been standard issue for San Diego police since 1988, despite charges that the weapon is notoriously difficult to use properly.
Officials are currently trying to sort out the role nunchakus played in last July’s shooting death of former NFL player Demetrius Dubose. Police tried to question Dubose after he fell asleep in a neighbor’s apartment. When Dubose resisted and disarmed both officers of their nunchakus, swinging them above his head, the police fired, striking him twelve times. Critics say that while it’s good for officers to have nonlethal options to subdue suspects, the scanty training police receive in use of the weapon means they’re sometimes unable to keep nunchakus under control. When they lose control, a minor confrontation can quickly escalate into something much more dangerous.