Tasers became an integral police tool largely on the strength of the argument that authorities ought to be able to restrain someone without having to shoot them to do it. The news today that five state troopers were involved somehow in using tasers on a driver who was combative in New Brighton, though rare in these parts, is an incident that may well be added to a growing list of deaths by Taser. The Fridley man was pronounced dead at the hospital. It hasn't been determined if the tasering was the reason.
Other incidents: In North Carolina a man high on crack died after being shot with a Taser when he became combative last Wednesday. On the same day, a Coral Gables, Florida man died. A few days earlier, a man was killed by Taser by the Nevada Highway Patrol. And a few days before that, a death was reported in Alabama.
Police use of Tasers came under more scrutiny with the release last fall of the last minutes of a passenger in an airport in Vancouver, tasered to death by the RCMP.
At the same time, a quick search reveals dozens of instances in which officers using Tasers successfully subdued criminal suspects without shooting them.
So what do we have here? A weapon being misused? Or misunderstood?
Dr. Bill Lewinski, executive director of the Force Science Research Center (FSRC) at Minnesota State University-Mankato, told Police-One.com that even a temporary ban on Tasers "would literally create a catastrophe for peace officers. Lawsuits would increase, officer injuries would increase, subject injuries would increase-all guaranteed. We need additional research, but we don't need to stop using a unique tool that experience has proven is effective and overwhelmingly safe while more investigation is underway."
Two years ago the Dade County (Florida) Commissioners commissioned a study on the stun gun. The results, released by the Police Executive Forum, an organization of police chiefs, suggested better training.
For example, the group suggested a person be shot -- err, shocked -- once, then evaluated, rather than repeatedly shocked.
An article on the report, coincidentally, appeared in today's Miami Herald, following the death last week of a man.
In 2006, a man died in Wisconsin after being shot, prompting the ACLU to call for more training. The organization cited the work of University of Wisconsin biomedical engineering professor John Webster, who demonstrated that Tasers can cause cardiac ventricular fibrillation – a precursor of cardiac arrest – in pigs. "Particularly in susceptible populations, such as the young, the elderly or those with obvious medical conditions, Tasers must be presumed capable of causing cardiac arrest in humans as well," the group said.
The debate has been underway across the country for some time. Because of Tuesday night's incident, it is has now arrived in Minnesota.
(h/t Tom Klun)
Our son in law is a police officer and he says that if they can't taze they will have to shoot more people. You see, the police get called into deal with crazy, deranged, mental people. They can't be conrolled any other way. Why more of their families don't help these poor folk is a mystery to me. We certainly would help a child of ours. The police are just left to use the tools they have.
Actually they can be controlled another way, although the other way isn't necessarily pleasant, either. Tasers aren't replacing guns. They're often replacing nightsticks -- i.e. billyclubs). BTW, the dead man in this case wasn't a deranged, mental person. He was a guy who got upset after a traffic accident. There's no indication he attacked anyone or that he threatened anyone. According to the news conference, he was "uncooperative."
On that basis, one has to evaluate whether the man's death is a proper result of his lack of cooperation.
there's also the question of the tasering. As I stated in the original post, there's also the question of how many times he was tasered and what the training calls for.
Take a situation in Texas last year, for example. A guy wanted to kill himself so he doused himself with gasoline. So the police used a taser on him. Electricity. Gasoline. Boom! Not too smart, in that case.
Given the lack of answers we have to those questions, it's difficult to draw a definite conclusion at this time.
As for the mentally ill, Linda, the mental health system in Minnesota is a disaster. If families wanting to help their family members was all it took, there wouldn't be a problem in the world. But if tonight your son -- God forbid -- were to try to commit suicide and need help, you'll be making a lot of calls and finding out a lot of folks will tell you there's no beds in any location to help them.
As with so many other things, it's just not as simple as it sometimes appears.
In a lot of jurisdictions, cops are allowed to taser people who are not a physical threat to the police or anyone else. It's called PAIN COMPLIANCE. This is a classic case of slippery slope. When tasers were first introduced, I doubt anyone would have agreed to zapping peaceful protestors. Tasers were advertised as a non-lethal weapon, to be used in situations where lethal force would have been used. WE ARE A LONG WAY FROM WHERE THIS STARTED.
Another smoke screen is "EXCITED DELIRIUM" .
Google it please. It's the totally bogus cause of death made up by coroners so they won't have to say a taser killed the person. It almost sounds like the person would
have died anyway, doesn't it? Or some how, because they were delirious, they caused it themselves. Amazingly, the guy in the airport in Canada was upset for many hours, yet mysteriously he died minutes after he was tased. They should study the cardiac fibrillations caused in pigs after they were stunned by tasers. Could it be that tasers are causing a similar condition in people? Citizens are being tased in situations where guns would never be used. Refuse a police order and the cops don't shoot you with their Glock. However, they will tase you. We don't have the death penalty for peaceful protesting or for 99.9999% of the other reasons the cops will tase you for.
plain and simple do what your told and or directed to do then you wouldn't have to worry about riding the lighting.
B.C said: "plain and simple do what your (sic) told and or directed to do then you wouldn't have to worry about riding the lighting."
Wow, are you kidding? All for turning the United States into the United Police State say "Aye". Using that kind of logic, we'd still be paying taxes to the British, treating women and blacks as second-class citizens, and, if you're of the Christian persuasion, encouraging Jesus to abandon his ministry.
There is a problem in this country and it has nothing to do with Tasers. The real problem is the attitude of many of our "Peace" Officers. They are anything but. They act as if they themselves ARE the law, not representatives of the law. Many are belligerent, uncooperative, power-hungry, sadistic, prima donnas who either can't, or don't know how to engage in civilized conversation. And I've heard their supporters, including some on this thread, defend these officers because they have to deal with "unsavory" individuals. Well guess what? You're a Police Officer, it comes with the territory. If you can't deal with people without taking-out your frustrations on them, or getting-off on torturing them, maybe you should find a different line of work. Perhaps pest control or noxious weed control, where you get paid to kill things, is a better fit. Finally, regarding B.C's comment about "riding the lightning"? What is that, some kind of sick, police vernacular for tasing someone?
For those of you that don't think we have a problem...when the police (I'm assuming B.C works in, or is related to someone in Law Enforcement) openly joke about inflicting physical pain on people, we have a problem. As one of the other posters said; we're a long way from the original intent of the Taser (as a substitute for lethal force). It now seems to be an accepted substitute for ANY kind of interaction between the police and the public.
It seems nobody WANTS to find a problem with the Taser, so the data is stacked so they look safe.
"Science" rarely saves us, since scientists go into research looking to confirm a theory, and they often just work to prove what they want the results to be. Meanwhile, decent scientists like professor Webster, who was mentioned in this article, gets relegated to fringe science because his findings aren't what people want to hear. Science should seek truth, and the truth should stand on it's own, instead of being fit into someone's agenda ("Global Warming" anyone?).
I was tasered for having my wife call 911, for me when I was having a coughing fit and loss consisiusness for 30-40 seconds, she called back to cancel, but was told we could cancel once they came, well lets just say they did not cancel, they chacked that I had his right state of mind by asking questions and I got them all right, then they told him he had to go, because a doctor in the ER said so, I invoked my right to refuse treatment and asked them to leave, they would have none of that, then an officer came in told a freind to hold my dog as he would shoot it if it were to get loose and my twins would not like that then came in said you are going without actually assessing the situation, and guess what tool he used, A TASER!! sitting in my kitchen chair in my own home being tasered, and then dragged out and handcuffed to the gurney. then at the hospital being stripped of my clothes then being forced against my will for a blood test all of which I was refuseing as is my right, then they told me that if I did not submit to a CT scan I would be held there until the next morning? some 8 hours later? Civil Rights Violated? never charged all this while I and my wife where refusing medical treatment. Dont have a few drinks in your home during your birthday, and dont have a coughing fit, or you can be tasered into submission so they can kidnap you and put you in an ambulance? What country is this?
Since when is it that a person should deserve a death penalty by taser if you should lose your temper or cross a red light. It's unbelievable that there is any arguement that when tasered you have a risk of killing someone. There is documented proof that it happens.
Video shows Minneapolis cop taser man with hands on hood.
There is no explanation in this article as to how the various deaths occurred.
Without that info, how to you make an informed decision about the use of tasers.
Is it because the person's heart stopped upon being tased, was it because they were tased multiple times, was it the fall upon being tased?????
As with most articles being published today, they do not do an effective job of providing enough info for you to agree with the conclusion being suggested.