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JUNE 3, 1999  12:23 PM
Amnesty International
Gwen McKinney or Douglas North, 202-833-9771
Muhammad Ali, Serpico Join Call to Ban Electro-Shock Weapon; News Conference June 8

News Advisory:

Retired police detective Frank Serpico, who blew the cover on corruption in the New York Police Department in the 1970s, will join the daughter of Muhammad Ali and Columbia, S.C., Police Chief Charles Austin, a champion of "policing with civility" at an Amnesty International news conference releasing a new report on stun technology.

The news conference will be held Tuesday, June 8, at 11 a.m. at the George Hotel, 15 E St., N.W., in Washington, D.C.

Amnesty is calling for a ban on the stun belt, a device that inflicts 50,000 volts of electro-shock with the touch of a remote control button from up to 300 feet away. The belt, potentially lethal to people with heart ailments, epilepsy or on tranquilizers, is used by state and federal law enforcement authorities across the country. The Amnesty report cites incidents of abuse of the stun belt, which has gained notoriety after being activated on courtroom defendants in California and being used on HIV-positive inmates in Louisiana, among others.

Legendary boxer Muhammad Ali has endorsed Amnesty's campaign and will be featured in national print advertising and an international poster and video public awareness campaign. Ali's youngest daughter, Laila Ali, will represent her father at the news conference.

To secure copies of the embargoed report, a video news release or other material contact McKinney & McDowell Associates at 202-833-9771


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