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Police have been given the go-ahead to use Taser stun guns against children.
The relaxing of restrictions on the use of the weapons comes despite warnings that they could trigger a heart attack in youngsters.
Until now, Tasers - which emit a 50,000-volt electric shock - have been used only by specialist officers as a "non lethal" alternative to firearms.
However, they can now be used against all potentially violent offenders even if they are unarmed.
Home Office Police Minister Tony McNulty said medical assessments had confirmed the risk of death or serious injury from Tasers was "low".
Taser International, the American firm that makes the device, said tests on pigs suggested the weapons were safe.
Miami-Dade police have announced a review of policy after two kids were zapped with Tasers within a couple of weeks of each other. Tasers fire wire probes which hit suspects with a debilitating electric shock.
The first incident involved a six-year old boy who was Tasered at his elementary school. He had broken a picture and was threatening to cut his leg with the glass. Police defended the decision saying they were happy to talk about use of the Taser rather than talking about injuries the child could have done to himself.
A 16-year veteran of the Broomfield Police Department was arrested over the weekend on charges of child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury.
William A. "Skip" Van Arsdale, 42, of Broomfield was booked and released Sunday on charges related to a Nov. 20 incident in which a girl in his home was injured with a Taser.
The case stems from a claim that while Van Arsdale was demonstrating the weapon it “struck the girl at or near her right eye and caused her serious injury,” said Assistant 17th Judicial District Attorney Michael Goodbee. “Based on that, he’s been charged with child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury through criminal negligence.”
A lawsuit was filed Monday February 28, 2005, as a result of the death of a 21-year-old man who was killed after being shocked repeatedly with a Taser stungun by police.
Taser manufactures the controversial stungun and is being sued for knowingly marketing a dangerously defective weapon as safe and nonlethal. The stun-gun has allegedly killed numerous individuals.
His father Andrew Washington Sr filed the product liability lawsuit on behalf of Andrew Washington Jr.
According to Amnesty International, 94 people have died in the United States as well as Canada after being shocked with the Taser stungun.
Chicago began using a handful of the guns in 2003. Today, there are at least 200 of them in the hands of Chicago cops. Nationally, more than 100,000 police officers carry Tasers.
And people are dying. On February 10, Chicago police fired a Taser at 54-year-old Ronald Hasse, who collapsed and died. The same day, in San Diego, a man was Tasered and died two days later. A few days earlier, a 14-year-old boy went into cardiac arrest after police used a stun gun on him at his school.
According to the incident report, officer William Nelson responded to a complaint that children were swimming in a pool, drinking alcohol and smoking cigars on the morning of Nov. 5.
Nelson said he noticed the girl was intoxicated and was walking her to his car to take her back to school when she ran away through a parking lot.
Nelson, 38, said he chased her and yelled several times for her to stop before firing the Taser when she began to run into traffic. The electric probes hit the girl in the neck and lower back, immobilizing her.
Nelson said he fired "for my safety along with (the girl's) safety." Paramedics treated the girl, who went home with her mother.
Parker said department policy permits officers to use the Taser to apprehend someone, but he said he expected his officers to use better judgment, especially when police had no plans to arrest the girl.
The first incident had already exposed the department to more criticism for its use of Tasers, which it has begun distributing in greater numbers to officers.
The 6-year-old boy was shocked on Oct. 20 in the principal's office at Kelsey Pharr Elementary School. Principal Maria Mason called 911 after the child broke a picture frame in her office and waved a piece of glass, holding a security guard back.