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Thread: TASER deaths up
03-28-06, 02:46 AM #1
TASER deaths up
From ABC 7 News:
Amnesty International: US Taser Deaths Up
Posted: March 28, 2006 12:38 AM EST
Washington (AP) - The number of people who have died in the U.S. after being shocked by police stun guns is growing rapidly, Amnesty International says in a report that catalogs 156 in the past five years. Deaths after the use of Taser stun guns have risen from three in 2001 to 61 last year, the international human rights group said. Fourteen have died so far this year, it said, citing police and autopsy reports as well as press accounts.
The rise in deaths accompanies a marked increase in the number of U.S. law enforcement agencies employing devices made by Taser International of Scottsdale, Ariz. About 1,000 of the nation's 18,000 police agencies used Tasers in 2001; more than 7,000 departments had them last year, according to a government study.
Police had used Tasers more than 70,000 times as of last year, Congress' Government Accountability Office said.
Amnesty urged police departments to suspend the use of Tasers pending more study. The group said there has been insufficient independent research on safety issues, an assertion the company disputes.
Taser did not immediately comment on the report. But it has called similar studies flawed because they link deaths to Taser use when there has been no such official conclusion. To the contrary, Taser has said that more than 9,000 lives have been saved because police officers have been able to use stun guns instead of bullets. Tasers deliver a 50,000-volt jolt through two barbed darts that can penetrate clothing.
The Amnesty report is the latest study that raises concerns that Taser use - intended as a nonlethal alternative to a gun - can be fatal in certain circumstances, most often when the victim is using illegal drugs.
Police officers should use Tasers "only in circumstances where potentially lethal force is justified," said William F. Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International USA. Schulz acknowledged that stun guns could be an effective part of a police arsenal, preferable in some cases to a nightstick or a gun.
Many of those who died were high on drugs, mentally ill or otherwise agitated. Many deaths in the past year occurred after victims were hit by Tasers at least three times and, in some cases, for prolonged periods, the report said.
In seven cases medical examiners or coroners determined that Taser use was a cause of death.
_Timothy Mathis, 35, had amphetamines in his system when sheriff's deputies in Larimer County, Colo., shocked him between three and seven times during an altercation. Mathis went into cardiac arrest and died three weeks later. The coroner ruled the death a homicide, but the district attorney declined to press charges.
_A Taser used by a Chicago police officer caused the death of Ronald Hasse, 54, in February 2005, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. Drug use was a contributing factor. Hasse was hit by a five-second electrical burst, followed by a 57-second charge, said Dr. Scott Denton, a deputy medical examiner.
In another 16 cases, authorities ruled that Taser use was a contributing factor in the death. In the bulk of the cases, victims died or lost consciousness soon after being shocked, but autopsies most often determined that illegal drugs were responsible or no cause of death was ascribed. Schulz said all 156 cases should be the subject of independent medical research.
Some police agencies have tightened their rules on stun-gun use following Taser-related deaths.
In Nashville, Tenn., paramedics bearing tranquilizers are called on in place of stun guns to subdue suspects who may have a drug-induced condition known as excited delirium.
The change was made after Patrick Lee, 21, was shocked up to 19 times with a Taser by police officers who found him acting strangely outside a nightclub. Lee, who had drugs in his system and an enlarged heart, died two days later.
Police officers in Las Vegas may no longer use Tasers on handcuffed prisoners and are discouraged from applying direct multiple shocks, following two deaths in 2004.
Apart from use by police, Taser said it has sold more than 115,000 devices to individuals since 1994. Stun guns are legal in 43 states, with varying restrictions, the company's Web site says. They are illegal in Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C., the company said.
A simple reason, becasue they work, and more agencies are using them.
03-28-06, 02:53 AM #2Cris1102 Guest
03-28-06, 02:55 AM #3Cheech Guest
Yea as opposed to getting shot with a real gun?
03-28-06, 02:56 AM #4
They are a tool and must be used as such.
03-28-06, 03:11 AM #5
I wish we had them!
03-28-06, 03:12 AM #6
03-28-06, 03:47 AM #7^
- Join Date
- Rep Power
I think they should be used on sex offenders' genitalia.
03-28-06, 04:29 AM #8Originally Posted by Lasvegasog
Idiots. They'd rather the cop took a beating/died instead of taking a chance with some meth head with an enlarged heart.Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft. -
People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
03-28-06, 04:50 AM #9
Just one more example of people that have no idea how hard our job is, trying to rgulate something they know nothing about.
03-28-06, 05:57 AM #10Cheech Guest
All this is the public wanting to be bitchy. Nothing you cant really win. If you take the tazer away they will bitch about the use of deadly force. Then if you use non lethal force they bitch cause it killed someone who already was on something. Most tazer deaths ive seen are because they are high on something.
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