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Don't tase Li, bro

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Police in New Hampshire have defended the tasering of a 44-year-old woman by one of its officers after she refused to leave a local Apple Store.

Xiaojie Li, a Chinese national who doesn't speak English, had bought two iPhones in the Pheasant Lane Mall last Friday, and tried to buy more but was refused due to Apple's two-iPhones-per-person rule. She then ordered eight more online for an in-store pick-up, but staff recognized her and asked her to leave.

Li refused, and began taking video and pictures of other customers who she felt were also breaking the two-phone rule. She was asked to leave by Nashua police officer John Murphy, who was working a shift at the store, and after reportedly refusing he tasered the screaming woman as she resisted arrest for trespass.

"Her brain went totally blank," her uncle David Chen told the Union Leader. "She didn't understand what happened. She's never been treated like this, she feels so ashamed. It's a nightmare for the rest of her life."

The very public tasering was caught on smartphones by shoppers and went viral, with Ms. Li showing off bruised forearms to local news station WMUR. She and her fiancé are now taking legal action over the event.

But police have defended the action, pointing out that Officer Murphy spent ten minutes asking Ms. Li to leave the store before trying to arrest her for trespassing. He got one handcuff on her but couldn't secure her other wrist and had to call for backup from a second officer. After five minutes of struggling, Murphy eventually used the taser, the first time he has done so in four years on the force.

"The use of force was deemed justified and appropriate by the department," Deputy Chief Scott Howe told the Union Leader. So far Nashua Police have worked 204 police details at Apple this year, with stores paying $50 an hour for security, he said.

Li has been released on $300 bail. At the time of her arrest she was found to have $16,000 in cash in her possession, something uncle Chen was unable to explain. But he pointed out that buying iPhones is not illegal and that he and his niece had returned to the store for more and had been turned away again.

"The iPhone 5 is not on the market in China yet," he said. "Now a lot of people have money, and they want to get a brand new iPhone 5, so if they know any friends in this country they will wire the money asking to get as many iPhones as they can to send back to China."

Apple is taking an increasingly hard line against bulk purchasers in an effort to keep a lid on the grey market for hardware. That market is expanding rapidly in China, the world's fastest growing mobile market, and the last thing Cupertino wants is fewer people at its Middle Kingdom outlets. ®

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