Police continued to fire Tasers at chests – despite cardiac arrest warnings

Figures show that since 2009, 57% of discharges have hit chest area, even though Taser warns of ‘serious complications’

Police using a taser during the attempted capture of Raoul Moat. Firing the devices at suspects’ chests carries the risk of inducing a cardiac arrest. Photograph: Jamie Wiseman/Daily Mail/Rex

British police have fired Tasers hundreds of times at suspects’ chests despite explicit warnings from the weapon’s manufacturer not to do so because of the dangers of causing a cardiac arrest, the Guardian can reveal.

Following the death last Wednesday of a man in Manchester after police hit him with a Taser shot, figures obtained from 18 out of 45 UK forces show that out of a total of 884 Taser discharges since 2009 – the year when Taser International first started warning the weapon’s users not to aim for the chest – 57% of all shots (518) have hit the chest area.

There is evidence that shots to the chest can induce cardiac arrest. Dr Douglas Zipes, an eminent US cardiologist and emeritus professor at Indiana University, who last year published a study that explored the dangers of chest shots, told the Guardian: “My admonition [to UK police] would be avoid the chest at all costs if you can.”

He said the proportion of shots landing on the chest was huge, adding: “I think the information is overwhelming to support how a Taser shot to the chest can produce cardiac arrest.”

The manufacturer’s warning in its training materials is clear. It states: “When possible, avoid targeting the frontal chest area near the heart to reduce the risk of potential serious injury or death.

“Serious complications could also arise in those with impaired heart function or in those with an implanted cardiac pacemaker or defibrillator.”

Firing at the back is the preferred option where practical.

Zipes said Tasers were first found to have the ability to “capture” heart rhythm in a way similar to that of a pacemaker after Taser itself commissioned a study on pigs published in 2006.

If fired close enough to the heart, the 50,000 volt weapons have the ability to interfere and take over the electrical signals in the heart in rare cases – something that can be avoided altogether by hitting other parts of the body.

Zipes, who has acted as an expert witness in Taser death cases, said his peer-reviewed paper for the Journal of the American Heart Association documented eight cases of people in the US who have died or suffered significant brain damage following a cardiac arrest linked to a Taser shot.

But, despite the apparent dangers of chest shots, a series of requests under the Freedom of Information Act suggests that police are routinely aiming Taser shots at that part of the body.

Records from Gwent police force, for example, show that 82% of 55 Taser discharges by its officers hit people in the chest. Officers from Lancashire police fired Tasers 186 times between 2009 and October 2012, with 65% of shots hitting the chest.

There have been 10 deaths since the introduction of Tasers by UK police forces in 2004. The most recent was last Wednesday evening after a 23-year-old factory worker, Jordan Begley, from Gorton, east Manchester, was said to have suffered a “medical episode” and died after police fired at him with the weapon.

The chief constable of Greater Manchester, Sir Peter Fahy, and its police and crime commissioner, Tony Lloyd, met the dead man’s family and expressed their condolences.

No cause of death has been directly linked to the high-voltage charge emanating from the weapons in the UK. But two of the 10 cases, including last week’s death in Manchester, continue to be investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), which is responsible for Taser guidance, told the Guardian that following the 2009 warning, an independent panel of experts re-examined the threat to life from Tasers but found no substantial risk.

Simon Chesterman, deputy chief constable of West Mercia police and Acpo lead on armed policing and Taser use, said that after the 2009 Taser warning Acpo asked the medical panel whether police training needed to be changed. “The answer that came back is that as they’ve said all along, the risk from the electricity is very low,” he said.

Chesterman said the panel had maintained that guidance to this day and it was felt there was no need for police “to adjust our point of aim”.

He said: “We don’t train them [officers] to go for the chest, we just train them to go for the biggest thing they can see, ie the major muscle groups.

“When you’ve got a violent assailant who is facing you, coming towards you and you have to make a split second decision whether to use Taser or not, the chances are that clearly you’re going to aim for the torso and it may well be that one or both of the barbs will attach within the chest area.

“I’m not saying Taser is a risk-free option,” he said, but added: “We haven’t had what you could describe as a Taser-related death in the United Kingdom – that’s despite the fact that we’ve been using them for 10 years”

A separate FOI from February found that in 2011 Tasers were discharged 1,371 times in the year ending March 2011, a 66% rise on the previous year.

In a statement to the Guardian, Steve Tuttle, vice-president of communications for Taser International, said that in the vast majority of cases, “the cause of death has nothing to do with the Taser deployments and to date in the UK there are no deaths in which the Taser has been listed as the cause of death”.

He said the company’s “preferred targeting zones” were “best practices” that “take into consideration the most effective areas for placement on moving and/or violent subjects that don’t always co-operate.

“We occasionally modify recommendations and warnings to reflect a best practices approach for our customers to consider,” he added. “The release of our [2009] training bulletin should not be interpreted as a significant change in how our products should be used. The recommendations should be viewed as best practices that mitigate risk management issues resulting in more effective deployments while maximising safety considerations such as avoiding face, neck, and chest/breast shots.”

In the US, Taser was recently ordered to pay $5m (£3.3m) to the family of 17-year-old Darryl Turner, who died in 2008 after being shot by police with a Taser.

The lawyer in that case, John Burton, from Pasedena, California, said that by aiming for the chest, UK police were being irresponsible.

“This is just so irresponsible. I’m shocked to hear this,” Burton said. “If UK cops are shooting people in the chest it just shows that they just don’t take things seriously.”

Sophie Khan, a UK solicitor who specialises in Taser cases, said Taser’s guidance “is meant to be there to protect the public and the police from civil claims”.

She added: “From what I see people are being shot in the chest and stomach, when they don’t even need to be Tasered in the first place, that’s what’s happened.”

Shiv Malik and Charlie Mole
The Guardian, Sunday 14 July 2013 19.43 BST

Find this story at 14 July 2013

© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies

Man shot with Taser dies; Electroshock weapon used on suspect during arrest in Manchester

A woman arrives with flowers at the scene in Gorton, Manchester, where a man was shot with a Taser and later died. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

A man has died after police shot him with a Taser, Greater Manchester police have said.

The 23-year-old was said to have suffered a “medical episode” and died after police fired at him with the stun gun.

Officers were responding to a disturbance at around 8.15pm on Wednesday in Gorton, Manchester, when they used the Taser while detaining the man.

The police force has referred the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said: “Police received a 999 call reporting a disturbance on Beard Road in Gorton where there was a man with a knife.

“Officers were dispatched immediately and arrived in eight minutes. On arrival a Taser was discharged to detain a 23-year-old man.

“At this time it is unclear what happened, but at some point afterwards the man suffered a medical episode.

“Paramedics performed first aid on the man at the scene before he was taken to hospital where he sadly died.”

The death had been referred to the local coroner and police family liaison officers were supporting the family, police said.

Press Association
theguardian.com, Thursday 11 July 2013 06.50 BST

Find this story at 11 July 2013
© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies.

American Heart Association publishes study claiming Tasers can be cause of death

CINCINNATI – An article just published by the American Heart Association’s premier journal, “Circulation,” presents the first ever scientific, peer-reviewed evidence that Tasers can cause cardiac arrest and death.

The article, written by Electrophysiologist Dr. Douglas Zipes of Indiana University, is already generating a buzz among cardiologists in the Cincinnati area, according to Dr. Terri Stewart-Dehner, a cardiologist at Christ Hospital.

“Anyone in cardiology has heard of Dr. Zipes. He is very well respected,” said Dr. Stewart-Dehner.

Stewart-Dehner said any article published in “Circulation” has great significance and will be taken very seriously by cardiologists around the world.

“Peer reviewed is a big deal,” said Stewart-Dehner. “It means the article goes through a committee just for consideration into the journal. Then cardiologists review the validity of the research; it means it’s a reputable article.”

The conclusions of Dr. Zipes’ article, which looks at eight cases involving the TASER X26 ECD states: “ECD stimulation can cause cardiac electric capture and provoke cardiac arrest resulting from ventricular tachycardia/ventricular fibrillation. After prolonged ventricular tachycardia/ventricular fibrillation without resuscitation, asystole develops.”

To view the abstract of the article, click here or go to http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/recent.

Speaking on behalf of the American Heart Association, Dr. Michael Sayre with Ohio State Emergency Medicine, said, “Dr. Zipes’ work is very well respected. It’s a credible report. It’s a reminder to police officers and others who are using these tools that they need to know how to do CPR and know how to use an AED.”

Dr. Zipes has been discounted by the manufacturer of the Taser, Taser International, because he has been paid to testify against the weapon, but Dr. Zipes says the fact that his research has withstood the rigorous process of review by other well-respected cardiologists and was published in this prestigious journal proves his case.

“It is absolutely unequivocal based on my understanding of how electricity works on the heart, based on good animal data and based on numerous clinical situations that the Taser unquestionably can produce sudden cardiac arrest and death,” said Dr. Zipes.

Dr. Zipes says he wrote the article, not to condemn the weapon, but to properly warn police officers of its potential to kill so that they can make good policies and decisions as to the proper use of the weapon, and so that they will be attentive to the possible need for medical care following a Taser stun.

The Taser, used by law enforcement agencies across the Tri-State and by some 16,000 law enforcement agencies around the world, was marketed as non-lethal. Since 2001, more than 500 people have died following Taser stuns according to Amnesty International, which said in February that stricter guidelines for its use were “imperative.”

In only a few dozen of those cases have medical examiners ruled the Taser contributed to the death.

It was nearly nine months ago 18-year-old Everette Howard of North College Hill died after police used a Taser on him on the University of Cincinnati’s campus.

The Hamilton County Coroner’s Office has still not released a “cause of death,” but the preliminary autopsy results seemed to rule out everything but the Taser. The office is now waiting for results from a heart specialist brought in to review slides of Howard’s heart.

The late Coroner Anant Bhati told 9 News in an exclusive interview before he died in February that he had “great respect” for Dr. Zipes and that he too believed the Taser could cause cardiac arrest. He said he just wasn’t ready to say that it caused Everette Howard’s death until a heart specialist weighed in on the investigation.

Dr. Bhati also agreed with Dr. Zipes that the weapon should come under government supervision and be tested for its electrical output regularly.

Taser International has said that because the Taser uses compressed Nitrogen instead of gun powder to fire its darts, it is not regulated and testing of the weapon is not legally required.

The company also says the Taser fires two darts, which enter a subject’s skin and send electricity into the body in order to incapacitate the subject so that officers can get a subject into custody without a physical fight.

Research shows the Taser has saved lives and reduced injuries among officers.

Taser International has changed its safety warnings over the years.

An I-Team report in October showed that Taser International’s website stated in its summary conclusion on cardiac safety, “There is no reliable published data that proves Taser ECDs (Tasers) negatively affect the heart.”

With the publication of Dr. Zipes’ article, Dr. Stewart-Dehner says it can be argued that statement is no longer the case.

The new statement on Taser International’s website quotes a May Department of Justice study on deaths following Taser stuns. It states, “While exposure

to Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs) is not risk free, there is no conclusive medical evidence that indicates a high risk of serious injury or death from the direct effects of CED’s (Tasers).”

Here is Taser International’s complete response to Dr. Zipes’ article:

While our medical advisors haven’t had a chance to review the details, it is noteworthy that the sole author, Dr. Douglas Zipes, has earned more than $500,000 in fees at $1,200 per hour as a plaintiff’s expert witness against TASER and police. Clearly Dr. Zipes has a strong financial bias based on his career as an expert witness, which might help explain why he disagrees with the findings of independent medical examiners with no pecuniary interest in these cases as well as the U.S. Department of Justice’s independent study that concluded, “There is currently no medical evidence that CEDs pose a significant risk for induced cardiac dysrhythmia in humans when deployed reasonably” and “The risks of cardiac arrhythmias or death remain low and make CEDs more favorable than other weapons.”

Steve Tuttle

Vice President of Communications

Posted: 04/30/2012
By: Julie O’Neill, joneill@wcpo.com

Find this story at 30 April 2012

USA: Stricter limits urged as deaths following police Taser use reach 500

Tighter rules are needed to limit the use of Tasers by police across the USA.


Of the hundreds who have died following police use of Tasers in the USA, dozens and possibly scores of deaths can be traced to unnecessary force being used.

Susan Lee, Americas Programme Director at Amnesty International
Wed, 15/02/2012

The deaths of 500 people following police use of Tasers underscores the need for tighter rules limiting the use of such weapons in law enforcement, Amnesty International said.

According to data collected by Amnesty International, at least 500 people in the USA have died since 2001 after being shocked with Tasers either during their arrest or while in jail.

On 13 February, Johnnie Kamahi Warren was the latest to die after a police officer in Dothan, Alabama deployed a Taser on him at least twice. The 43-year-old, who was unarmed and allegedly intoxicated, reportedly stopped breathing shortly after being shocked and was pronounced dead in hospital less than two hours later.

“Of the hundreds who have died following police use of Tasers in the USA, dozens and possibly scores of deaths can be traced to unnecessary force being used,” said Susan Lee, Americas Programme Director at Amnesty International.

“This is unacceptable, and stricter guidelines for their use are now imperative.”

Strict national guidelines on police use of Tasers and similar stun weapons – also known as Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs) – would effectively replace thousands of individual policies now followed by state and local agencies.

Police forces across the USA currently permit a wide use of the weapons, often in situations that do not warrant such a high level of force.

Law enforcement agencies defend the use of Tasers, saying they save lives and can be used to subdue dangerous or uncooperative suspects.

But Amnesty International believes the weapons should only be used as an alternative in situations where police would otherwise consider using firearms.

In a 2008 report, USA: Stun Weapons in law Enforcement, Amnesty International examined data on hundreds of deaths following Taser use, including autopsy reports in 98 cases and studies on the safety of such devices.

Among the cases reviewed, 90 per cent of those who died were unarmed. Many of the victims were subjected to multiple shocks.

Most of the deaths have been attributed to other causes. However, medical examiners have listed Tasers as a cause or contributing factor in more than 60 deaths, and in a number of other cases the exact cause of death is unknown.

Some studies and medical experts have found that the risk of adverse effects from Taser shocks is higher in people who suffer from a heart condition or whose systems are compromised due to drug intoxication or after a struggle.

“Even if deaths directly from Taser shocks are relatively rare, adverse effects can happen very quickly, without warning, and be impossible to reverse,” said Susan Lee.

“Given this risk, such weapons should always be used with great caution, in situations where lesser alternatives are unavailable.”

There are continuing reports of police officers using multiple or prolonged shocks, despite warnings that such usage may increase the risk of adverse effects on the heart or respiratory system.

15 February 2012

Find this story at 15 February 2012

© Matt Toups/Pittsburgh Indymedia

Taser victim’s sister says brutality ‘can’t be ignored’

The sister of a Brazilian student who died after being tasered in Sydney’s CBD has told an inquest that the level of brutality police used on him cannot be ignored.

Ana Laudisio told Glebe Coroners Court that sitting through the two-week inquest into the death of her brother, Roberto Laudisio Curti, had been one of the hardest experiences of her life.

She gave a scathing assessment of police behaviour the night he died and criticised the lack of cooperation from officers involved in revealing the truth.

“It’s shocking police acted the way they did,” she said.

We have sat here and listened to all the officers involved describe in detail how our beloved Roberto was electrocuted for almost a minute. There were times we were angry, frustrated… and we felt sick.
Ana Laudisio

“Their lack of integrity disgusts me.”

Roberto Curti died in March after several officers discharged their Tasers 14 times and used capsicum spray, handcuffs and batons to restrain him after a chase through central Sydney.

He was suffering from an adverse reaction to a small amount of LSD. He had stolen two packets of biscuits from a convenience store but was unarmed.

Ms Laudisio said officers who gave evidence into what happened on March 18 were not concerned about her brother’s welfare.
Audio: Listen to Ana Laudisio (ABC News)

“They were worried about not getting their hands dirty,” she said.

“There was such a level of brutality that night that it cannot be ignored.”

Ms Laudisio said the inquest had been harrowing for her and her family.

“We have sat here and listened to all the officers involved describe in detail how our beloved Roberto was electrocuted for almost a minute, was hit with batons,” she said.

“There were times we were angry, frustrated… and we felt sick.

“What happened could have simply been avoided if some of these people had common sense.”

She also criticised the investigation into her brother’s death.
Photo: Roberto Laudisio Curti. (Facebook)

“After suffering all the devastation of our brother dying, we still had to deal with the frustration of not knowing what happened for four months, when we got the brief of evidence,” she said.

“Even more frustrating was to see the lack of cooperation among the police officers involved, their reluctance to help the family.”
‘Cowardly’

Ms Laudisio said officers had been “cowardly” in telling the truth about what happened on the night her brother died and she questioned why so many were allowed to carry Tasers.

“How can junior officers with only a few months’ experience be allowed to carry and use dangerous weapons at their own discretion?” she said.

“Wouldn’t it be better to have fewer officers well trained and able to respond appropriately.

“It could happen again, a young man’s life could again be taken simply because people are too proud and arrogant to change.”

Coroner Mary Jerram expressed her condolences to Ms Laudisio, her sister Maria and uncle Domingos Laudisio.

“Just know we won’t forget Roberto, and we won’t forget you,” she said.

The coroner gave permission for the family’s presentation to be recorded and broadcast.
Distressing testimony
Video: Tracy Bowden looks back at the events of the night Roberto Curti died (7.30)

Roberto Curti’s uncle, Domingos Laudisio, has told 7:30 that all along he has wanted the inquest to find the truth of what happened to his nephew.

“It is tough, believe me, I have been trained all my life to be very straight, very calm, but this is quite an experience. it is extremely distressful, extremely distressful,” he said.

Mr Laudisio insisted the inquest show graphic footage of Roberto’s final moments as police tasered him on the ground.

“The decision was to show everybody the difference between what was on that film and what was on the police reports,” he said.

“That was my personal decision even against some members of the family, I insisted on it.”

The footage shows Roberto Laudisio Curti on the ground and hand-cuffed when Senior Constable Eric Lim recycled his Taser and fired a second time.

Another officer had a knee on Mr Curti’s abdomen.

“Roberto was yelling in pain he was handcuffed they were still drive stunning tasering him,” Mr Laudisio said.

“I’m not saying [Roberto] was right, his behaviour was inappropriate but that film was unbelievable, unbelievable.”

The inquest heard that two officers applied Tasers directly to his body almost simultaneously in bursts of up to 14 seconds.

7.30 By court reporter Jamelle Wells and Tracy Bowden

Updated Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:23am AEDT

Find this story at 19 October 2012

Copyright © 2012 Fairfax Media

532 Taser-Related Deaths in the United States Since 2001

Today we added 60-year old Bill Williams (Everett, WA) as the 181st taser-related death in America since 2009. [NOTE: the full list is shown below].

According to Amnesty International, between 2001 and 2008, 351 people in the United States died after being shocked by police Tasers. Our blog has documented another 181 taser-related deaths in the United States in 2009-2012. That means there have been 532 documented taser-related deaths in America.

This blog has been pointing out incidents of police taser torture for quite awhile. The work done over the past few years by Patti Gillman and Cameron Ward continue to be the inspiration for our work. Gillman and Ward documented over 730 taser-related deaths in North America on their blog.

I wonder if anyone cares about the rising use of the taser as a lethal weapon? At least we know that the Department of Justice cares. They issued a report about the pattern of abuse against the mentally ill in Portland that included the frequent, unnecessary use of Tasers.

On the other hand, I think that something is wrong in America when the police electrocute folks on a WEEKLY basis with their taser arsenal … and the public is mute in its response. Sometimes it takes a lawsuit … like the one recently settled in Ohio … to get the police to cool it. The police in Cincinnati, Ohio took the hint … they changed their taser policy!

I encourage you to use our COMMENTS (‘Post a Comment’) option at the bottom of this blog post to let us know what you think about these weekly taser-related killings.

Jan 9, 2009: Derrick Jones, 17, Black, Martinsville, Virginia
Jan 11, 2009: Rodolfo Lepe, 31, Hispanic, Bakersfield, California
Jan 22, 2009: Roger Redden, 52, Caucasian, Soddy Daisy, Tennessee-
Feb 2, 2009: Garrett Jones, 45, Caucasian, Stockton, California
Feb 11, 2009: Richard Lua, 28, Hispanic, San Jose, California
Feb 13, 2009: Rudolph Byrd, 37, Black, Thomasville, Georgia
Feb 13, 2009: Michael Jones, 43, Black, Iberia, Louisiana
Feb 14, 2009: Chenard Kierre Winfield, 32, Black, Los Angeles, California
Feb 28, 2009: Robert Lee Welch, 40, Caucasian, Conroe, Texas
Mar 22, 2009: Brett Elder, 15, Caucasian, Bay City, Michigan
Mar 26, 2009: Marcus D. Moore, 40, Black, Freeport, Illinois
Apr 1, 2009: John J. Meier Jr., 48, Caucasian, Tamarac, Florida
Apr 6, 2009: Ricardo Varela, 41, Hispanic, Fresno, California
Apr 10, 2009: Robert Mitchell, 16, Black, Detroit, Michigan
Apr 13, 2009: Craig Prescott, 38, Black, Modesto, California
Apr 16, 2009: Gary A. Decker, 50, Black, Tuscon, Arizona
Apr 18, 2009: Michael Jacobs Jr., 24, Black, Fort Worth, Texas
Apr 30, 2009: Kevin LaDay, 35, Black, Lumberton, Texas
May 4, 2009: Gilbert Tafoya, 53, Caucasian, Holbrook, Arizona
May 17, 2009: Jamaal Valentine, 27, Black, La Marque, Texas
May 23, 2009: Gregory Rold, 37, Black, Salem, Oregon
Jun 9, 2009: Brian Cardall, 32, Caucasian, Hurricane, Utah
Jun 13, 2009: Dwight Madison, 48, Black, Bel Air, Maryland
Jun 20, 2009 Derrek Kairney, 36, Race: Unknown, South Windsor, Connecticut
Jun 30, 2009, Shawn Iinuma, 37, Asian, Fontana, California
Jul 2, 2009, Rory McKenzie, 25, Black, Bakersfield, California
Jul 20, 2009, Charles Anthony Torrence, 35, Caucasian, Simi Valley, California
Jul 30, 2009, Johnathan Michael Nelson, 27, Caucasian, Riverside County, California
Aug 9, 2009, Terrace Clifton Smith, 52, Black, Moreno Valley, California
Aug 12, 2009, Ernest Ridlehuber, 53, Race: Unknown, Greenville, South Carolina
Aug 14, 2009, Hakim Jackson, 31, Black, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Aug 18, 2009, Ronald Eugene Cobbs, 38, Black, Greensboro, North Carolina
Aug 20, 2009, Francisco Sesate, 36, Hispanic, Mesa, Arizona
Aug 22, 2009, T.J. Nance, 37, Race: Unknown, Arizona City, Arizona
Aug 26, 2009, Miguel Molina, 27, Hispanic, Los Angeles, California
Aug 27, 2009, Manuel Dante Dent, 27, Hispanic, Modesto, California
Sep 3, 2009, Shane Ledbetter, 38, Caucasian, Aurora, Colorado
Sep 16, 2009, Alton Warren Ham, 45, Caucasian, Modesto, California
Sep 19, 2009, Yuceff W. Young II, 21, Black, Brooklyn, Ohio
Sep 21, 2009, Richard Battistata, 44, Hispanic, Laredo, Texas
Sep 28, 2009, Derrick Humbert, 38, Black, Bradenton, Florida
Oct 2, 2009, Rickey Massey, 38, Black, Panama City, Florida
Oct 12, 2009, Christopher John Belknap, 36, Race: Unknown, Ukiah, California
Oct 16, 2009, Frank Cleo Sutphin, 19, Caucasian, San Bernadino, California
Oct 27, 2009, Jeffrey Woodward, 33, Caucasian, Gallatin, Tennessee
Nov 13, 2009, Herman George Knabe, 58, Caucasian, Corpus Christi, Texas
Nov 14, 2009, Darryl Bain, 43, Black, Coram, New York
Nov 16, 2009, Matthew Bolick, 30, Caucasian, East Grand Rapids, Michigan
Nov 19, 2009, Jesus Gillard, 61, Black, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Nov 21, 2009, Ronald Petruney, 49, Race: Unknown, Washington, Pennsylvania
Nov 27, 2009, Eddie Buckner, 53, Caucasian, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Dec 11, 2009, Andrew Grande, 33, Caucasian, Oak County, Florida
Dec 11, 2009, Hatchel Pate Adams III, 36, Black, Hampton, Virginia
Dec 11, 2009, Paul Martin Martinez, 36, Hispanic, Roseville, California
Dec 13, 2009, Douglas Boucher, 39, Caucasian, Mason, Ohio
Dec 14, 2009, Linda Hicks, 62, Black, Toledo, Ohio
Dec 19, 2009, Preston Bussey III, 41, Black, Rockledge, Florida
Dec 20, 2009, Michael Hawkins, 39, Caucasian, Springfield, Missouri
Dec 30, 2009, Stephen Palmer, 47, Race: Unknown, Stamford, Connecticut

Jan 6, 2010, Delano Smith, 21, Black, Elkhart, Indiana
Jan 17, 2010, William Bumbrey III, 36, Black, Arlington, Virginia
Jan 20, 2010, Kelly Brinson, 45, Race: Unknown, Cincinnati, Ohio
Jan 27, 2010, Joe Spruill, Jr., Black, Goldsboro, North Carolina
Jan 28, 2010, Patrick Burns, 50, Caucasian, Sangamon County, Illinois
Jan 28, 2010, Daniel Mingo, 25, Black, Mobile, Alabama
Feb 4, 2010, Mark Morse, 36, Caucasian, Phoenix, Arizona
Mar 4, 2010, Roberto Olivo, 33, Hispanic, Tulare, California
Mar 5, 2010, Christopher Wright, 48, Race: Unknown, Seattle, Washington
Mar 10, 2010, Jaesun Ingles, 31, Black, Midlothian, Illinois
Mar 10, 2010, James Healy Jr., 44, Race: Unknown, Rhinebeck, New York
Mar 20, 2010, Albert Valencia, 31, Hispanic, Downey, California
Apr 10, 2010, Daniel Joseph Barga, 24, Caucasian, Cornelius, Oregon
Apr 30, 2010, Adil Jouamai, 32, Moroccan, Arlington, Virginia
May 9, 2010, Audreacus Davis, 29, Black, Atlanta, Georgia
May 14, 2010, Sukeba Olawunmi, 39, Race: Unknown, Atlanta, Georgia
May 24, 2010, Efrain Carrion, 35, Hispanic, Middletown, Connecticut
May 27, 2010, Carl Johnson, 48, Caucasian, Baltimore, Maryland
May 29, 2010, Jose Martinez, 53, Hispanic, Waukegan, Illinois
May 31, 2010, Anastasio Hernández Rojas, 42, Hispanic, San Ysidro, California
Jun 8, 2010, Terrelle Houston, 22, Black, Hempstead, Texas
Jun 12, 2010, Curtis Robinson, 34, Black, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Jun 13, 2010, William Owens, 17, Race: Unknown, Homewood, Alabama
Jun 14, 2010, Jose Alfredo Jimenez, 42, Hispanic, Harris County, Texas
Jun 15, 2010, Michael White, 47, Black, Vallejo, California
Jun 22, 2010, Daniel Sylvester, 35, Caucasian, Crescent City, California
July 5, 2010, Damon Falls, 31, Black, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
July 5, 2010, Edmund Gutierrez, 22, Hispanic, Imperial, California
July 8, 2010, Phyllis Owens, 87, Race: Unknown, Clackamas County, Oregon
July 9, 2010, Marvin Booker, 56, Race: Black, Denver, Colorado
July 12, 2010, Anibal Rosario-Rodriguez, 61, Hispanic, New Britain, Connecticut
July 15, 2010, Jerome Gill, Race: Unknown, Chicago, Illinois
July 18, 2010, Edward Stephenson, 46, Race: Unknown, Leavenworth, Kansas
July 23, 2010, Jermaine Williams, 30, Black, Cleveland, Mississippi
Aug 1, 2010, Dennis Sandras, 49, Race: Unknown, Houma, Louisiana
Aug 9, 2010, Andrew Torres, 39, Hispanic, Greenville, South Carolina
Aug 18, 2010, Martin Harrison, 50, Caucasian, Dublin, California
Aug 19, 2010, Adam Disalvo, 30, Caucasian, Daytona Beach, Florida
Aug 20, 2010, Stanley Jackson, 31, Black, Washtenaw County, Michigan
Aug 24, 2010, Michael Ford, 50, Black, Livonia, Michigan
Aug 25, 2010, Eduardo Hernandez-Lopez, 21, Hispanic, Las Vegas, Nevada
Aug 31, 2010, King Hoover, 27, Black, Spanaway, Washington
Sep 4, 2010, Adam Colliers, 25, Caucasian, Gold Bar, Washington
Sep 10, 2010, Larry Rubio, 20, Race: Unknown, Leemore, California
Sep 12, 2010, Freddie Lockett, 30, Black, Dallas, Texas
Sep 16, 2010, Gary L. Grossenbacher, 48, Race: Unknown, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Sep 18, 2010, David Cornelius Smith, 28, Black, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Sep 18, 2010, Joseph Frank Kennedy, 48, Caucasian, La Mirada, California
Oct 4, 2010, Javon Rakestrau, 28, Black, Lafayette Parish, Louisiana
Oct 7, 2010, Patrick Johnson, 18, Caucasian, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Oct 12, 2010, Ryan Bain, 31, Caucasian, Billings, Montana
Oct 14, 2010, Karreem Ali, 65, Black, Silver Spring, Maryland
Oct 19, 2010, Troy Hooftallen, 36, Caucasian, Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania
Nov 4, 2010, Eugene Lamott Allen, 40, Race: Unknown, Wilmington, Delaware
Nov 6, 2010, Robert Neill, Jr., 61, Caucasian, Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
Nov 7, 2010, Mark Shaver, 32, Caucasian, Brimfield, Ohio
Nov 23, 2010, Denevious Thomas, 36, Black, Albany, Georgia
Nov 26, 2010, Rodney Green, 36, Black, Waco, Texas
Nov 27, 2010, Blaine McElroy, 37, Race: Unknown, Jackson County, Mississippi
Dec 2, 2010, Clayton Early James, Age: Unknown, Race: Unknown, Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Dec 11, 2010, Anthony Jones, 44, Race: Unknown, Las Vegas, Nevada
Dec 12, 2010, Linel Lormeus, 26, Black, Naples, Florida
Dec 20, 2010, Christopher Knight, 35, Black, Brunswick, Georgia
Dec 31, 2010, Rodney Brown, 40, Black, Cleveland, Ohio

Jan 5, 2011, Kelly Sinclair, 41, Race: Unknown, Amarillo, Texas
Feb 5, 2011, Robert Ricks, 23, Black, Alexandria, Louisiana
March 15, 2011, Brandon Bethea, 24, Black, Harnett County, North Carolina
Apr 3, 2011, Jairious McGhee, 23, Black, Tampa, Florida
Apr 22, 2011, Adam Spencer Johnson, 33, Caucasian, Orlando, Florida
Apr 23, 2011, Ronald Armstrong, 43, Race: Unknown, Pinehurst, North Carolina
Apr 25, 2011, Kevin Darius Campbell, 39, Race: Unknown, Tallahassee, Florida
May 1, 2011, Marcus Brown, 26, Black, Waterbury, Connecticut
May 6, 2011, Matthew Mittelstadt, 56, Caucasian, Boundary County, Idaho
May 11, 2011, Allen Kephart, 43, Caucasian, San Bernadino County, California
June 13, 2011, Howard Hammon, 41, Caucasian, Middleburg, Ohio
June 22, 2011, Otto Kolberg, 55, Caucasian, Waycross, Georgia
June 28, 2011, Dalric East, 40, Black, Montgomery County, Maryland
July 5, 2011, Kelly Thomas, 37, Caucasian, Fullerton, California
July 10, 2011, Joshua Nossoughi, 32, Caucasian, Springfield, Missouri
July 19, 2011, Alonzo Ashley, 29, Black, Denver, Colorado
July 21, 2011, La’Reko Williams, 21, Black, Charlotte, North Carolina
July 30, 2011, Donald Murray, 39, Caucasian, Westland, Michigan
August 4, 2011, Pierre Abernathy, 30, Black, San Antonio, Texas
August 6, 2011, Everette Howard, 18, Black, Cincinnati, Ohio
August 6, 2011, Debro Wilkerson, 29, Black, Prince William County, Maryland
August 6, 2011, Gregory Kralovetz, 50, Caucasian, Kaukauna, Wisconsin
August 12, 2011, Joseph Lopez, 49, Hispanic, Santa Barbara, California
August 17, 2011, Roger Chandler, 41, Caucasian, Helena, Montana
August 21, 2011, Montalito McKissick, 37, Black, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
August 24, 2011, Michael Evans, 56, Race: Unknown, Fayetteville, North Carolina
August 30, 2011, Nicholas Koscielniak, 27, Caucasian, Lancaster, New York
September 11, 2011, Tyree Sinclair, 31, Black, Corpus Christi, Texas
September 13, 2011, Damon Barnett, 44, Caucasian, Fresno, California
September 17, 2011, Richard Kokenos, 27, Caucasian, Warren, Michigan
September 24, 2011, Bradford Gibson, 35, Black, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan
September 24, 2011, Donacio Rendon, 43, Race: Unknown, Lubbock, Texas
September 29, 2011, Howard Cook, 35, Black, York, Pennsylvania
October 4, 2011, Glenn Norman, 46, Caucasian, Camden County, Missouri
October 9, 2011, Darnell Hutchinson, 32, Black, San Leandro, California
October 31, 2011, Chad Brothers, 32, Caucasian, Colonie, New York
November 6, 2011, Darrin Hanna, 43, Black, North Chicago, Illinois
November 13, 2011, Ronald Cristiano, 51, Caucasian, Bridgeport, Connecticut
November 15, 2011, Jonathan White, 29, Black, San Bernardino, California
November 22, 2011, Roger Anthony, 61, Black, Scotland Neck, North Carolina
December 16, 2011, Marty Atencio, 44, Hispanic, Phoenix, Arizona
December 22, 2011, Wayne Williams, 27, Black, Houma, Louisiana
January 15, 2012, Daniel Guerra, 24, Hispanic, Ft. Worth, Texas
February 29, 2012, Raymond Allen, 34, Black, Galveston, Texas
March 5, 2012, Nehemiah Dillard, 29, Black, Gainesville, Florida
March 12, 2012, Jersey Green, 37, Black, Aurora, Illinois
March 19, 2012, James Barnes, 38, Caucasian, Pinellas County, Florida
April 10, 2012, Bobby Merrill, 38, Black, Saginaw, Michigan
April 21, 2012, Angel Heraldo, 41, Hispanic, Meriden, Connecticut
April 22, 2012, Bruce Chrestensen, 52, Caucasian, Grass Valley, California
May 10, 2012, Damon Abraham, 34, Black, Baldwin, Louisiana
June 9, 2012, Randolph Bonvillian, 41, Caucasian, Houma, Louisiana
June 20, 2012, Macadam Mason, 39, Caucasian, Thetford, Vermont
June 30, 2012, Victor Duffy, 25, Black, Tukwila, Washington
July 1, 2012, Corey McGinnis, 35, Black, Cincinnati, Ohio
July 5, 2012, Sampson Castellane, 29, Native American, Fife, Washington
September 1, 2012, Denis Chabot, 38, Caucasian, Houston, Texas
September 14, 2012, Bill Williams, 60, Caucasian, Everett, Washington
You can see that we don’t know the race or national origin (RNO) for Ronald Armstrong, Kelly Brinson, Kevin Darius Campbell, Michael Evans, Jerome Gill, Gary Grossenbacher, James Healy Jr., Clayton Early James, Anthony Jones, Derrek Kariney, T.J. Nance, Phyllis Owens, William Owens, Stephen Palmer, Earnest Ridlehuber, Sukeba Olawunmi, Ronald Petruney, Donacio Rendon, Larry Rubio, Dennis Sandras, Edward Stephenson or Christopher Wright. We can use some research assistance from villagers to help us identify the RNO for these folks who died after being electrocuted by police taser guns.

We track the RNO information because we sense that these taser-related deaths are happening at a disproportionate level to people of color.

For example, we see that at least 74 (73 men and a 62-year old woman) of these taser-torture killings occurred against African Americans. Black people are only 13.6% of the total population, yet 41% of the 2009-2012 taser-related deaths in America are Black people.

At last count, there are more than 514,000 Tasers among law enforcers and the military nationwide. Tasers are now deployed in law enforcement agencies in 29 of the 33 largest U.S. cities. Some states, such as New Jersey, are loosening up their rules for taser use. Other states, like Delaware, seek to justify taser use in spite of rising death toll.

However, the tide may be turning. As taser-related deaths and injuries have continued to rise (as well as the amount of Taser litigation), many departments are starting to abandon the weapon in favor of other means of suspect control. Currently, Memphis and San Francisco have opted to ban the use of tasers by law enforcement. Charlotte (NC) pulled all the tasers off the street. Nevada revised their taser policy so that it would be more aligned to proposal from the ACLU.

South Carolina is beginning to question its use of tasers. Additionally, a federal court has ruled that the pain inflicted by the taser gun constitutes excessive force by law enforcement. The courts don’t want police to electrocute people with their tasers unless they pose an immediate threat.

Perhaps the idea of an electric rifle made sense when it was first invented. “Taser” refers to an electrical weapon trademarked by the Scottsdale, Arizona-based company known as Taser International. The word Taser stands for “Tom A. Swift Electrical Rifle.”

The Taser was developed by Jack Cover, a contract scientist on NASA’s Apollo moon program in the 1960s. Inspired by his favorite childhood book series – Victor Appleton’s Tom Swift – Cover drew up plans for a non-lethal weapon like the one the series’ main character used.

In 1993, Rick and Tim Smith, who launched Taser International, worked with Cover to improve his design and introduced the device the next year. Since then, use of the word Taser has became part of the common American language.

However, we now see too much taser abuse. First available to law enforcement in February 1998, now used by more than 14,200 law enforcement agencies in more than 40 countries. More than 406,000 taser guns have been sold since the product hit the market. It may be time for congressional hearings.

Some tell us that tasers are making America safer. Police kill about 600 people per year in shootings. So what?! Should we be we be happy that they are ONLY killing people once-a-week with taser guns?

How Do Tasers Work? When a Taser’s trigger is pulled, two wires shoot out of the device at the suspect from up to 35 feet away. At the ends of the wires are probes that either embed in a person’s skin or cling to clothing.
When the probes hit, an electrical pulse is delivered for five seconds, causing involuntary muscular contractions in the subject.
At the end of the first pulse, police tell the person to roll onto their abdomen, so they can be handcuffed. If they do not comply, they may be shocked again.
Once a person is arrested, police remove the barbs and call EMTs to the scene.
The person is taken to the hospital to be checked out. If the barbs remain in the person after police try to remove them, they are removed at the hospital.
The Taser is equipped with a chip that records information on each use, which can be used in court if someone alleges they were shocked multiple times.

Personally, I think that the ‘Use of Force Continuum’ needs to show tasers as ‘near-lethal’ … definitely an error to claim that they are ‘non-lethal’.

Many of us think that that immediate problem with Taser use is the lack of state and federal training standards for Taser certification. There are too many police officers with a taser on their hip and insufficient training on how … or when … to use it. Without set training standards (which includes a block on the liabilities of the weapons use in the event of bodily injury or death), officers are not fully aware of the ramifications of Taser use.

Find this story at 14 September 2012

Police Taser blind man mistaking his white stick for a samurai sword

The IPCC is investigating an incident in Chorley, where an innocent person was struck by a 50,000-volt stun gun

An innocent blind man was shot in the back with a 50,000-volt Taser by police after they mistook his white stick for a samurai sword.

Colin Farmer, 61, was hit after reports of a man walking through Chorley, Lancashire, early on Friday evening, with a sword. He said he initially thought he was being attacked by hooligans when he was struck by the Taser.

The matter is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) after Farmer made a complaint to the force.

Farmer, who used to run an architects’ practice, was on his way to meet friends at 5.45pm and was walking in Peter Street near a restaurant. “I was just walking along and I heard some men shouting really angrily and thought I’m going to get mugged. I didn’t know any police were here.

“The Taser hit me in the back and it started sending all these thousands of volts through me and I was terrified. I mean I had two strokes already caused by stress. I dropped the stick involuntarily and I collapsed on the floor face down.”

He added: “I was shaking and I thought ‘I’m going to have another stroke any second and this one is going to kill me. I’m being killed. I’m being killed’.”

Farmer, who has suffered two strokes, the most recent requiring two months in hospital in March, was fearful he would suffer another stroke.

“I walk at a snail’s pace. They could have walked past me, driven past me in a van or said ‘drop your weapon’.”

Lancashire Police apologised to Farmer for the “traumatic experience” but confirmed last night that the officer who fired the Taser has not been suspended and remains on duty.

Chief superintendent Stuart Williams, from Lancashire Police, said: “We received a number of reports that a man was walking through Chorley with a Samurai sword and patrols were sent to look for him.

“One of the officers believed he had located the offender. Despite asking the man to stop, he failed to do so and the officer discharged his Taser.

“It then became apparent this man was not the person we were looking for and officers attended to him straight away.

“He was taken to Chorley Hospital by officers who stayed while he was checked over by medics. They then took him to meet his friends in Chorley at his request.

Helen Carter
The Guardian, Thursday 18 October 2012

Find this story at 18 October 2012

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