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Death by Taser

by TChris

The first death officially attributed to police use of a Taser occurred in Chicago.

[Ronald] Hasse was shot with the Taser as police tried to subdue him in a 26th-floor Lakeview apartment after they arrived to help Fire Department personnel and Hasse allegedly tried to bite an officer. Denton said Hasse received the electrical shock produced by the Taser for 57 seconds, more than 10 times the usual amount.

Taser International predictably denied that the medical examiner's conclusion is accurate. TI inevitably argues that people who die after being shocked by Tasers were killed by their own drug abuse. Hasse had methamphetamine in his blood, a factor the medical examiner viewed as a contributing cuase of his death. Unlike other cases, the medical examiner carefully reviewed the evidence and concluded that the Taser was "the principal cause of Hasse's death."

Even if Tasers are most likely to kill drug users, it's forseeable that some individuals who disobey a police officer (and who are Tasered as a result) will have taken drugs. Their drug use shouldn't condemn them to a death sentence. Perhaps this medical examiner's courageous conclusion will finally convince policy makers that Tasers should not be part of law enforcement's arsenal.

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  • Re: Death by Taser (none / 0) (#1)
    by Patrick on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:45 PM EST
    So does everyone now agree this is the first??? Cause when it's overturned I don't want to see all the links to all those other taser deaths that everyone is claiming.

    Re: Death by Taser (none / 0) (#2)
    by Sailor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:45 PM EST
    TChris, with all due respect, you are wrong in this case. In Monroe County, Indiana the results were: "The application of the Taser was the trigger factor which stressed an already damaged heart to the point that it went into cardiac arrest," says Kohr. "The Taser is what triggered his heart attack."

    Kohr's autopsy has sent its own shockwaves because it directly contradicts safety claims made by the company.
    Kohr was appointed to redo the autopsy after the MoCo coroner lied about the initial results. They fired the taser 6 times at this guy while he was in jail. 5of them after he was on the ground. The counties involved had to pay .5 mil to settle. Thus the taser was proximate cause. In addition, taser int'l and law enforcement frequently cite Dr. Cyril Wecht, a forensic pathologist. Wecht has ALWAYS found a different cause of death in every taser case he has reviwed. Wecht, it was finally disclosed, is an employee of taser int'l. It also is impossible that all those people who died after being tasered would have just happened ti die right then. Coroners are part of the system and can't be trusted anymore than cops or police labs or DAs. They have a vested interest in seeing the state avoid liability.

    Re: Death by Taser (none / 0) (#3)
    by Patrick on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:45 PM EST
    It also is impossible that all those people who died after being tasered would have just happened ti die right then.
    No it's not. People die in custody all the time. It's a fact, even though no one wants it to happen. The more tasers are used, the more times the coincidence of use vs in-custody death will occur. Some people will take that as proof the taser causes death. I believe there have been and will be less in-custody deaths related to other uses of force such as the carotid restraint and impact weapons, but it's impossible to prove the negative even though logic tells us it's true. The taser saves lives, cops and suspects. BTW, the civilian version of the x26 is the exact same as the police version with the exception that the initial exposure lasts for 90 seconds. During that 90 seconds, the taser is discarded the user is afforded a 90 second head start. Only police tasers are limited to 5 seconds so the "10 times the usual amount" comment is a bit miss leading. It's just over half the exposure a person would get with the civilian version.

    Re: Death by Taser (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:45 PM EST
    Are Taser's covered under Frist liability shield law for firearm manafucturers and dealers? If not, is the manfacturer and/or dealer potentially liable for deaths resulting under the mfg.'s recommended use guideline?

    Re: Death by Taser (none / 0) (#6)
    by Sailor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:45 PM EST
    from TASER Int'l: non-lethal Well that's a lie. " People die in custody all the time." That's true all too often, but not after the exact same event. Come back when you have some training in statistics. "the initial exposure lasts for 90 seconds" That's a lie. from TASER Int'l:When you fire the TASER X26C, it will deliver a 10-second energy burst. However, pull the trigger two more times, and the burst is increased to 30 seconds police version power from TASER Int'l:
    Shaped Pulse Discharge 50,000 Peak Voltage 2.1 Milliamps Average Current (0.0021 Amperes) 151 Milliamps Root Mean Square Body Current (0.151 A Irms)
    TASER Int'l refuses to release the milliamp specs for their civilian model. Please provide links supporting your claim that civilian is more powerful than police versions.

    Re: Death by Taser (none / 0) (#7)
    by DawesFred60 on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:46 PM EST
    You will see many more murders by the police in the coming years, as more and more third world people get cop jobs you will see more and more killings. it is normal to kill in the third world and it will become a non story in this new idea of so called justice.

    Re: Death by Taser (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:47 PM EST
    you haven't seen anything til you have witnessed the police using tasers while beating somone down- the screams from agony, soiling oneself......and the look of mania that passes along an officers face. while several back up stand by, watching. after briefly entertaining the possiblilty of suing a city, the man took a plea on a misdemeanor amount of marijuna. this is second hand knowledge passed along to me, I read all the reports- noticed the glaring inconsistencies, and then decided he was right to not sue. could you imagine how the officers involved with this incident would have acted as terrorists til they dismissed the suit?

    Re: Death by Taser (none / 0) (#9)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:47 PM EST
    Patrick writes:"The taser saves lives, cops and suspects" LOL. What a unique read on a device that is not only lethal, but is increasingly being used to *kill* suspects. Gwinnett County, Georgia (home of the Runaway Bride) recently killed a suspect in their jail after tasering him a half dozen times while in restraints. The taser is an outdated 20th century version of the brank. And like the brank it should be relegated to the ash heap of history.

    Re: Death by Taser (none / 0) (#10)
    by Sailor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    So does everyone now agree this is the first??? Cause when it's overturned I don't want to see all the links to all those other taser deaths that everyone is claiming.
    Gee, guess not. It's amazing how quickly some folks stop posting when, even in their field, they are exposed as lia ... having their facts wrong.

    Re: Death by Taser (none / 0) (#11)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    Obviously the main factor here is that he received "more than ten times the usual amount" of tazering. Ya'know, that and the "significant amount of methamphetamine in his bloodstream, which Denton said was contributing factor to his death." Eyes on the prize, folks: shocked 10x the usual amount; significant amout of meth in blood. The focus should more likely be on the officer and his potential misconduct/abuse.

    Re: Death by Taser (none / 0) (#12)
    by pigwiggle on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    Sailor-
    " People die in custody all the time." That's true all too often, but not after the exact same event. Come back when you have some training in statistics.
    Good. Someone finally has some stats. I’ve been trying to find how often folks die incident to tazer use and how many of these incidences would otherwise warrant the use of other sanctioned kinds of force. Perhaps you don’t have all incidences, but from your post it appears you have at least those that occurred under police custody. Forget it; I’m guessing you were just blowing smoke.
    Coroners are part of the system and can't be trusted anymore than cops or police labs or DAs. They have a vested interest in seeing the state avoid liability.
    This doesn’t make sense. We all have an interest in seeing the state avoids liability as we are the state, that is to say we are financially responsible for the state’s liability. I’m certainly not in on a conspiracy to save the state liability in any wrongful deaths. If your idea is that labs and so forth will be shut down/downsized due to a lack of funding (after covering liability) or unacceptable practices it is hardly in the interest of these folks to perpetuate a cover. A concerted cover would inevitably be exposed and certainly amplify the consequences. The most plausible reason someone would cover a misdeed is to avoid personal responsibility for, let’s say, the lethal misuse of equipment designed to be non-lethal when used within specs. The simplest solution is most often the correct solution; take your pick. 1) Folks will lie to cover their own a$$ or maybe even that of a friend or close colleague. 2) Police, police labs, district attorneys, and coroners are all part of a concerted cover of pervasive misconduct designed to deflect state liability of wrongful deaths.

    Re: Death by Taser (none / 0) (#13)
    by Patrick on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    It's amazing how quickly some folks stop posting when, even in their field, they are exposed as lia ... having their facts wrong.
    Ahhh Sailor, It's amazing that a person of your stupidi...caliber still has problems making assumptions. Assuming that because I didn't respond over a weekend is somehow indicative of me acquiescing to your points is somewhat foolish. What Taser intl puts out on their website, and what they train law enforcement officers may be different. Have you been through thier training? I thought not, you must have learned through osmosis or something. Which makes sense since knowledge would move from an area of high concentration, (Outside your head) to an area of low concentration (Inside your head). Yeah, I know, nothing but personal attacks from me again. Well, sad, but true is the fact that I have no desire to try to convince you one way or another. The world needs bottom feeders too, it's just a fact of life, and you seem to fit well down there. Anyone with a bit of smarts would realize that the taser, a tool, is only as effective as the person who uses it. It is neither good nor evil. I have been through the training and carry a taser. Having seen the demonstrations and experienced the effects first hand, I am convinced that they are an excellent tool. If, they are proven to have some primary lethality, (Which is the argument here) that will not change my perspective, because as you must be aware, almost everything, if used the right (or wrong) way, can have some lethality.

    Re: Death by Taser (none / 0) (#14)
    by roger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    Patrick, Would you be willing to concede that sometimes, a taser can kill? It still is less lethal than a pistol, so there would seem to be a valid place for it in law enforcement. IMHO, the only thing that needs changing is to make it a bit stricter to use the thing. If tasers were used instead of guns, under the same circumstances, fewer suspects would die (I know that this would not always be approprite, it is just an example). I just wish that people would admit that a Taser CAN be lethal. I mean, come on, even your hands can be lethal sometimes. The lethality is not a dealbreaker for me, but it must be used with respect for its power.

    Re: Death by Taser (none / 0) (#15)
    by Patrick on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    Roger, I agree with almost everything you've said. It's not my place to say whether or not the taser has primary lethality. People with lots of initials after their names say they don't. You don't think a company like Taser Intl is going to do a risk assessment on a claim like that? I think they feel they can stand behind their claim. Of course there is secondary lethality. I've already seen people significantly injured as a result of falling after a taser deployment.
    If tasers were used instead of guns, under the same circumstances
    This is exactly contrary to taser's training & mine. The taser is a lower level of force and you never go into a scenario using a lower level of force than what is presented against you. You've heard the old saying, don't bring a knife to a gunfight right? The taser has a max range of 21 feet. Depending on the firearm, your lowest max range is about 3x that. But perhaps I'm splitting hairs. In any circumstance, the use of force, even at its lowest level, represents an awesome responsibility that LEO's shouldn't take for granted. Sometimes they do and that's unfortunate. When it happens they should be dealt with appropriately.

    Re: Death by Taser (none / 0) (#16)
    by roger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    Patrick, I was not suggesting that Tasers completely replace firearms, though it would be nice in a perfect world. I was merely presenting (an extreme)example to illustrate the point. As far as people with initials, I have initials after my name, it doesnt seem to get me any extra respect around here, and I'm not sure that it should.

    Re: Death by Taser (none / 0) (#17)
    by Patrick on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    Roger, I was being flip. The Taser Intl website has links to multiple medical studies which they claim prove the X26 is non-lethal. My particular department lists the X26 as less-lethal. In perfect world, I'd happily be out of a job, and even the taser would be unnecessary.

    Re: Death by Taser (none / 0) (#18)
    by Sailor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    patrick, all you have are opinions and which are derived from your indoctrination in the daryl gates school of oppression. Please cite fact and stats instead of your beliefs. "What Taser intl puts out on their website, and what they train law enforcement officers may be different." They lie on their website, they lie in their training. Citing one lie over another still doesn't make it the truth. The taser int'l site has 'medical' studies that they paid for by done people in their employ, most of whom are not scientists or trained in research. They have been disproven by outside independent studies. pw, most departments either don't keep or won't release stats on tasers. it is impossible present stats w/o data.

    Re: Death by Taser (none / 0) (#19)
    by Patrick on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:49 PM EST
    The taser int'l site has 'medical' studies that they paid for by done people in their employ, most of whom are not scientists or trained in research. They have been disproven by outside independent studies.
    This seems like an opinion to me. Do you have a link to these independent studies? Do they exist? Or is it just in your mind?
    pw, most departments either don't keep or won't release stats on tasers. it is impossible present stats w/o data.
    Really? I bet that's a lie, or did you really mean just won't release them to you?
    patrick, all you have are opinions and which are derived from your indoctrination in the daryl gates school of oppression.
    I know I'll regret asking this but from where did you derive your expertise on this matter? The cracker jack box?

    Re: Death by Taser (none / 0) (#20)
    by Sailor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:49 PM EST
    1.) TASER Int'l lists no data in their self authored studies, no definitions and no authors were willing to put their names on the papers(Here and here.). This is completely counter to scientific methodology. There are no peer reviwed studies by TASER Int'l. The 'medical' study they are proudest of, the only one that listed its authors, was actually a review of documents provided by TASER Int'l. The 2 doctors are from the UK. One, Richard Steyn, specializes in 'patient flow' for ER rooms. The other, Anthony Bleetman, specializes in being an expert witness for personal injury claims. Neither examined any people who had been hit by tasers, just reviewed literature provided by TASR Int'l. Key quotes "I have been instructed by Taser International to prepare this literature review describing the injury potential of the Advanced Taser product." and "Risk factors for death in ‘tasered’ subjects appear to be no different from known risk factors for death in custody" and my favorite is the last line "The media portrayal of the introduction of these weapons needs to be handled very carefully." People wanting to know more facts about tasers might want to check here. Those with PubMed can check here. Most departments DO NOT keep or release TASER data to the public, it has nothing to do with me. They might release their "conclusions", but no supporting data is. Seattle is one of the few who did release their study. And then had to revise their guidelines after incidents like this one :
    "When Seattle, Washington resident Malaika Brooks was stopped for driving 32 miles per hour in a 20 mile per hour school zone, she refused to sign the ticket the officer handed her. She’d done this before, so she didn’t see the big deal. When they tried to pull her from the car for not signing, she clung to the steering wheel. When that didn’t work, Officer Donald Jones showed Brooks a Taser gun, then applied the 50,000 volt device once to her thigh and twice to her neck. Brooks was eight months pregnant at the time."