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Tasers have killed at least 500 Americans

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posted on Feb, 17 2012 @ 05:53 PM
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The Taser, the non-lethal law enforcement weapon that is meant to incapacitate criminals without causing great harm, has killed at least 500 people last decade. The real number of casualties might be even higher. In the period between 2001 and early 2012, the stun-gun Taser devices used by law enforcement across America have claimed the lives of 500 people. Amnesty International, the worldwide advocacy group that condemns torture and human rights violations, delivered the news this week with a report released Wednesday. In it, they reveal that the recent death of a Georgia man who died as a result of a Taser blast puts the body count brought on by the device at 500 in barely a decades’ time. Despite being branded as a non-lethal alternative to firearms, hundreds of Americans have died from Taser blasts.


I think that the taser is a wonderful tool and life saving when used appropriately. I also think that there need to be some stricter guidelines. I think we've all seen the videos where the use of the taser seems out of line. That 500 people have died in 11 years is fairly telling that they are not as safe as claimed. I'm sure a large number of deaths would have been brought on had the person being tased grappled with police (weak heart, coked out etc.) but man that is a high number.


In a 2008 report titled USA: Stun weapons in law enforcement, it was revealed that 90 percent of the Taser casualty cases studied involved a victim that was unarmed.


Of course some people should be tased, armed or not but 90% of the deaths occurring against unarmed people seems extreme. My understanding of the use of force continuum is that you only use the taser as a last resort before shooting. I've seen so many videos where the thing comes out instantly.

What do you think ATS? I'm interested to hear both sides of this.

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posted on Feb, 17 2012 @ 06:15 PM
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the majority of taser use are on unarmed people. because you better believe if they had a knife of gun, they would have been shot.

before the taser they actually had to get their hands dirty, call for back up and tackle the suspect.

now they bust out the taser for speeding tickets.

all these taser deaths could have been prevented if they actually did their job and tried to physically detain a suspect.

getting hit, bruises etc is part of the job. and if you actually are their to serve and protect, you would rather ice a black eye, rather than inform a family that one of their loved ones are dead because they were drunk and swearing at cop.


edit on 17-2-2012 by randomname because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 17 2012 @ 06:23 PM
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I have often wondered if you are wet when hit with taser,
if electricity would follow path of least resistance the water.
I have not been brave enough to test the theory with my own body yet.



posted on Feb, 17 2012 @ 06:23 PM
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Those tasers have been used on old people of both genders, young kids, disabled people, as well as regular people. They've killed people because of too strong of a jolt, and when 5 to 10 cops decide they're all going to tase the same person all at once.

As a woman, who gets wicked, loud static shocks from anything I touch in the winter, those things terrify me.
I think I would rather have the big burly cop punch me, than to be tased.

They use the tasers instead of having to physically stop someone, and if they need to shoot for any reason, these days they shoot to kill.

I hope I never have any more experiences with cops. They're all seeming a bit nutz these days. Literally overkill.



posted on Feb, 17 2012 @ 06:27 PM
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reply to post by snowspirit
 





They use the tasers instead of having to physically stop someone, and if they need to shoot for any reason, these days they shoot to kill.


To be fair police are only allowed to shoot if they are shooting to kill. Shooting to wound is such a risky proposition that it is not allowed. Try to shoot a guy in the leg, hit an artery he bleeds out etc.

Do you think that tasers should be retired from the duty belt or that there need to be better standards of training or that they need more testing? Everyone feel free to answer those questions.



posted on Feb, 17 2012 @ 07:14 PM
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reply to post by Domo1
 


Ehhh im not all that sure of their stats. Specifically if a person is tased and dies an autopsy is performed to determine cause of death. If there is an underlying medical / drug problem present the Taser would not be listed as the official cause of death (and listing its as contributory ignores the reasons the Taser was deployed in the first place.

example - If an officer and a drunk person are involved in a physical fight, and the drunk guy all of a sudden goes limp, hits the ground and dies, with no other item employed by the officer except for the physical confrontation, the officers actions was not the cause of death.

Im not saying the article is wrong, I just dont think they did a good enough job to break down the actual stats.

Secondly, there is no such thing as a non lethal weapon, and thats not a term law enforcement uses. Same holds true when people talk about a bullet proof vest.

The items are classified as less than lethal because of the possibility of death occurring. I would like to see the info as 500 people died while a Taser was present and of those 500 the medical examiner / coroner ruled the Taser as the official cause of death XXX times, listed as contributory XXX , etc etc. How many deaths occurred out in the field and how many occurred in correctional institutions. How many occurred by private security.

As far as tighter control over their use to my knowledge the 9th Circuit court of appeals (West coast) is the only appeals court that established guidelines for a how taser is used by establishing some basics.

Last, and hopefully others may have the answer. Taser is not the only "taser" used in the law enforcement / corrections environment. Thee is another brand called a Stinger.




The list under the Stinger are the "stun guns" in use or development. When they used the term Taser, was it stats just for Taser, or were they considering all stun guns as "Taser"?


ETA - The poster below made me think of another question. Are they counting just people who died with the probes? When a person is hit with the probes they lose the ability to control movement. However, if you remove the cartridge end it can be used as pain compliance. ITs also used when only one barb has good contact. You follow it up by touch the end to the person to complete the circuit.

Btw im not saying the deaths didn't occur or cant occur - Just want clarification of the stats.
edit on 17-2-2012 by Xcathdra because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 17 2012 @ 07:14 PM
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We've probably all seen videos where clearly innocent people were tased; or where tasers were used as "punishment," apparently, for minor infractions; or where a suspect is tased after already having been subdued. I even remember one video where the victim who called the police in the first place was tased repeatedly and cruelly for not giving up the name of an acquaintance. And, as mentioned earlier, old people people, kids, even pregnant mothers. I also recall a case where someone fell or jumped off an overpass and was lying paralyzed on the roadway, and the police tased him repeatedly for many minutes for "refusing to cooperate."

I don't know. Does that sound cruelly excessive to anyone else? I don't think it's a matter of "training" per se; I think it's a matter of psychopaths having been given a weapon that can do maximum damage without deliberately killing someone. Gee, call me a bleeding-heart. But yeah: I think the taser ought to be removed from their tool-belts....



posted on Feb, 17 2012 @ 07:15 PM
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reply to post by snowspirit
 


Hollywood vs. Reality Officer Involved Shootings



posted on Feb, 17 2012 @ 07:21 PM
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Too much charge is being built up.
A high school demonstration with a Tesla cone coil was put in oscillation by a simple
charge from a known non lethal source like a spark from a fur rubbed rod of
insulated material. Remember you rub the electrons away leaving a positive
charge.

Well that oscillation charge at the coil frequency gave a tingle and some distraction
but do not think there was power enough to not break a chain of students holding
hands in a chain around the coil.

Well there has to be constant maintenance or checking of the output perhaps for
each day on the job. Also wonder now if two probes are needed as with high
frequency potential only one wire might be needed and the double dose might be
counter productive or dangerous.



posted on Feb, 17 2012 @ 07:22 PM
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reply to post by Xcathdra
 


Yeah I agree with the points you highlighted. I do however feel that tasers are becoming a bit of a crutch. I can understand why certainly, but I think it is something that needs to be addressed. I am almost positive that the deaths were due to preexisting conditions that when coupled with a jolt didn't work out too well.

What say you on the 90% unarmed? Does that seem high? I suppose it could be argued that if the person were armed that would up the use of force.



posted on Feb, 17 2012 @ 07:28 PM
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reply to post by TeslaandLyne
 


It would require 2 probes in order to complete the circuit on the person who got hit with them. The effectiveness of a Taser lies in the areas between the 2 probes, with a direct path only between those 2 point. It allows an officer to put handcuffs on without being affected by the cycle.

While the voltage seems high, its not going to kill you. The combination of voltage and amperage is what does it and that amps for a taser are very low.

As far as maintenance goes in order to test if they work, the cartridge is removed and the taser is activated to ensure proper response. They also have built in circuitry that can detect errors. They all have data ports where a complete download of the weapon can be reviewed. It should be done at the beginning and ending of each shift, just as radar guns are.



posted on Feb, 17 2012 @ 07:39 PM
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reply to post by Domo1
 


Prior to the Taser coming into the law enforcement / civilian field, law enforcement only had pepper spray or a baton / ASP. More often than not when an altercation occurred, it was the brute force that was used to overcome the suspects resistance (hence the term from waaay back in the day of beat and release).

In addition to the suspect injuries, law enforcement injuries were high as well. The Supreme Court is adamant that the least amount of force be used to deescalate / end an encounter as quickly and as safely as possible. Officer injuries are problematic as it reduces the amount of officers available.

Speaking from personal experience I feel the Taser is a very effective tool, provided the operator knows what they are doing (unlike a county agency whose deputy decided to deploy his taser into a person who was standing on the roof of his house. Luckily the guy fell backwards instead of forwards).

In the years ive been doing this ive deployed my taser 7 times, and I only had to use the drive stun (no cartridge, just tip) once. I have also found that when dealing with people who have been tased before, just the sight of it coming out of the holster was enough for the person to comply and stop their actions.

To put the stats into perspective - 500 deaths by Taser in 10 years.

How many deaths have occurred in the same time period from physical altercations?

One last thing to consider - Our training tells us to keep a reactionary gap (6 to 8 feet from the individual). When a physical altercation starts, the officer, in addition to dealing with the person they are fighting, also has to retain his duty weapon, pepper spray, baton, handcuffs. It can escalate the encounter very quickly to deadly force.

New technology is being developed, and coming from the very first taser to where we are now they have gotten better and a lot safer as well as more accountable since the new models have camera / audio which activates when the taser is turned on (but before discharge), the data record on the inside, which shows the date and time it was applied and the cycle count (it cycles for 5 seconds and then stops however it can be cycled again by pulling the trigger again. It can also be used consecutively by keeping pressure on the trigger where it will continuously cycle.

The question we need to look at - How many deaths would have occurred if the Taser was not deployed? Like the history of car safety. Over the years thanks to improvements in technology / safety, people are better able to survive an accident as opposed to 5 and 10 years ago.
edit on 17-2-2012 by Xcathdra because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 21 2012 @ 09:23 AM
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reply to post by Xcathdra
 


There was mention of a Taser with four probes.
The reason was to guarantee a hit.
Only one wire is needed as with all Tesla circuits, no current is involved as that kills.
Only voltage at high frequency moves body charges to stop mobility of nerve transmissions.
The circuits should shut down all probes and just use one as a safety factor.



posted on Feb, 21 2012 @ 09:48 AM
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reply to post by Domo1
 





Of course some people should be tased, armed or not but 90% of the deaths occurring against unarmed people seems extreme. My understanding of the use of force continuum is that you only use the taser as a last resort before shooting. I've seen so many videos where the thing comes out instantly.


Hi, Domo.....

I tend to agree with you here. It seems to me in the past few years I've seen more and more reports of people dying after being tased. Five hundred is a ridiculously high number. Tasers are not meant to be used as lethal force. I don't know exactly what is happening here. Are the police using them improperly or is this an indicator that tasers mixed with certain other factors are raising the potential of death? Some of the reports I've read relating to these deaths seem to involve people suspected of being under the influence of stimulants, such as meth or crack. In that scenario, or one where someone already has a bad heart, I would imagine tasers pose a greater threat.

It's been my personal opinion for quite a few years now that they should can the tasers. Frankly, I think they eventually will after enough lawsuits have made an impact on the pocketbooks of some of these law enforcement agencies.



posted on Feb, 21 2012 @ 10:01 AM
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reply to post by Xcathdra
 





How many deaths have occurred in the same time period from physical altercations?


That is a stat I would be interested to hear myself. Your points in the rest of your post are well taken, but to me, 500 still seems high....even for a 10-year period. It just doesn't seem like I've heard of suspects dying after being beating to death by cops as often as I've heard of people dying by taser over the past couple of decades. Obviously, we frequently hear of cops killing suspects in shootings, but that's a whole different situation all together because usually the suspects themselves are armed and intend on using a weapon, and in that scenario batons, mace, and tasers don't even factor in.




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