New Report on Danger of Taser Guns

Amnesty International, USA has released a new report on police use of tasers. 334 people have now died from being tasered. The report finds 90% were unnarmed. CA and FL are the states with the most deaths, while Phoenix and Las Vegas have the highest death rates among cities.

The report says police should suspend the use of taser guns.

Amnesty International’s report -- which includes a study of 98 autopsies that were independently reviewed by a forensic pathologist -- found that 90 percent of those who died after being struck with tasers were unarmed and many did not appear to present a serious threat. Police officers used tasers on schoolchildren, pregnant women and even an elderly person with dementia. More than 30 individuals died after being shocked in jails, where tasers are also widely used, or in the booking area of police stations after they were already under police control.


“Thousands of police departments have purchased these weapons, and there is ample evidence of officers using them repeatedly and unnecessarily. Is it any surprise that the number of people who died after being shocked is steadily rising?” asked Larry Cox, executive director for Amnesty International USA. “Taser use should be suspended until the weapons’ impact has truly been proven. At minimum they should be used as weapons of last resort, and police departments should ensure that policies are consistent and controlled to prevent the death toll from rising precipitously.”

Some of our past coverage of taser guns is accessible here.

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  • Display: Sort:
    The TASER is a deadly weapon (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by scribe on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 08:20:30 PM EST
    So it was dangerous for (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by oculus on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 08:35:13 PM EST
    the Alaska trooper to Taser Palin's nephew?

    well yeah (none / 0) (#7)
    by Jen M on Wed Dec 17, 2008 at 10:23:39 AM EST
    There Was Recently (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by CDN Ctzn on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 09:53:02 PM EST
    a report issued by an RCMP review committee in Canada that strongly recomended that RCMP officers be banned from carrying and susequently using Tasers after it was found that they have been resposible for the deaths of individuals the force was supposedly only trying to restrain. I haven't heard if the recomendations have been put into effect but the Canadian Government has assured that they would.

    Will 'experts' finally admit it? (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by Nowonmai on Wed Dec 17, 2008 at 04:32:49 AM EST
    I have seen too many horrific tasering videos, have read about the resultant deaths, and only now are 'experts' admitting they are deadly weapons. And there is a big difference between some guy 'testing' the taser for a photo-op, as he gets a short hit, to how many times officers will taser over and over.

    What's worse (none / 0) (#2)
    by Spamlet on Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 08:28:15 PM EST
    is that tasers are available for civilian use as "self-defense" (right) weapons.

    We are Americans (none / 0) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 17, 2008 at 12:04:59 PM EST
    We must have access to our weapons.  Just don't bring your taser to a 50 cal. fight :)

    This is a very important story (none / 0) (#5)
    by andrys on Wed Dec 17, 2008 at 12:13:28 AM EST
    since they are sometimes used against people who are publicly dissenting and therefore "out of order" ...

      And we've seen the issue pooh-poohed when it involved the family of a candidate not to the group's liking and when the focus was preferred to be on the alleged 'abuse of power' by a candidate who, as a private and public citizen objected to a relative's tasering her nephew being kept on the job as a law enforcement man.  

      "He asked for it" was one report echoed by defenders of that  use of the taser but the boy said he didn't want to be seen as a girly boy.  

      However, most people object to dangerous means only when the target might be people they feel deserve it; they don't think that the targets might be themselves.  To keep order.

      I think the use of tasers willy nilly is totally obscene.

    Curious (none / 0) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Dec 17, 2008 at 12:03:06 PM EST
    Does anyone know if a police officer must first get tasered in order to be able to officially use it?  Our Coast Guard son in law recently was pepper sprayed in the face before he could carry it on duty.  I know my husband has endured being tear gassed and other assorted things as well as part of his training.  Do police officers have to know what being tasered is like before they are permitted the authority to do it to someone else?

    "90 percent of those who died" (none / 0) (#10)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Dec 17, 2008 at 12:18:01 PM EST
    90 percent of those who died after being struck with tasers were unarmed
    Are we under the ludicrously misguided belief that tasers are only to be used when the suspect has a gun?

    You don't keep your LE officers alive by telling them to bring a taser to a gun fight.