Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Death by Taser

As I have blogged before ( see links below) Tasers should be outlawed, period. Here is another case in point, Christmas Eve in Edmonton and the Police used a taser and killed an unarmed man who had gone looney tunes on the street.

What they don't have enought 'deadly force' weapons in their arsenals, billy clubs, mace/pepper spray, guns, they need killer tasers too. There have been more deaths at the hands of police in Canada using tasers than using guns. And some will say they were only trying to subdue him, well he's dead now.

Since capital punishment is banned in Canada I didn't know going nutz was a capital offense. If that was the case then a good number of the Blogging Torys would be on death row.

Witnesses said police tried to calm him. For a few seconds he complied, placing his hands on the hood of a parked police car.He then stepped back and began pacing. Some witnesses said the man yelled out that he was being attacked by insects. Within a few seconds, still in a highly agitated state, he began approaching a police officer who had drawn his Taser .The officer raised his Taser and fired its twin darts, Wylie said.

And in a realted incident in South Carolina a man died after languishing in hospital after being shot twice with a Taser. A Florence man who died after being arrested was shot twice with a Taser, including once after deputies had him in custody, according to an incident report. Howard Starr, 32, died at a hospital Dec. 17 after a car chase in Florence.

Taser cop 'distraught' And well he should be. He killed someone. At least the Edmonton cops didn't shoot their guy while he was in custody. Thats murder, or manslaughter at least. But its actually business as usual with Tasers and cops.

The man joins a growing list of people who died after being jolted by a 50,000-volt surge of electricity from a Taser stun gun. Earlier this year, Amnesty International said the death toll has now surpassed 100 and called for a ban on the devices.

Make that 102. Tasers are too unpredictble despite the companies protestations to the contrary.

The company began selling Tasers to law enforcement in 1998, and more than 8,000 U.S. law-enforcement agencies have since armed their officers with them. Taser has consistently denied its products solely are responsible in the deaths, arguing that none have been directly linked to Tasers. The company also contends Tasers have saved thousands of lives, giving police an option short of deadly force when confronted by combative suspects.

Yep short of deadly force tell that to the families of the men killed in Edmonton and Florence.

The Market Fazers Taser
Cops Clear Killer Tasers
Killer Taser Strikes Again
Killer Taser



Teddy said...

I'd rather take my chances with a taser than a glock.

But then again, I'd like to think I'd listen to the instructions of the police. Or stay on my meds. Or stay off the illegal ones.

Policing isn't an easy business, you know. Your comments are inflammatory for no good reason. Capital punishment, indeed.

from the EJ:

A medical report published in May 2005 said 40 people have died since 1999, but that report says there were other factors and the deaths couldn't be attributed to the Taser alone. Most often those deaths are due to illicit drugs such as PCP or methamphetamine, or a failure to take prescribed anti-psychotic drugs, the Journal of Emergency Medical Services said.

eugene plawiuk said...

For no good reason a man is dead because the police used deadly force on him. Tasers are deadly weapons but the cops want to use them. As they do all weapons. Why not disarm the cops since having weapons causes others to escalate the weapons they have. Hmm didn't the British Bobbies go for years unarmed, except for the 'billy' club.
In New Orleans twenty officers surrounded another guy off his meds last weekend, he was waving a knife when he didn't get down they shot him.
As for the EJ report AI gives it as 100. As for other factors, interesting is that no study has been done on Tasers except after the fact.
Why do the cops need tasers, you have yet to answer the question.

patti said...

Fourteen Canadian men are dead. One of them was my brother. How many more of our beloved brothers, sons and fathers must die before Canada acts to impose a moratorium on Tasers? Too many are unnecessarily dying and we urgently need to find out how Tasers kill and under what circumstances. The need for rigorous and unbiased study into the weapon’s safety is beyond debate. There have been no independent studies performed in Canada.

A very disturbing pattern is emerging. Most of the more than 170 deaths in North America since 1999 have occurred in the last two years as more police departments arm themselves with these supposedly “non-lethal” weapons, the manufacturer’s fuzzy definition of “non-lethal” notwithstanding. Five deaths in Canada since May, including the one in Edmonton on Christmas Eve, have increased the Canadian total to 14. ALL of the deaths in Canada have occurred in the last two years. Most followed Taser use, often repeatedly, on unarmed men between 25 and 51 years old, very few of whom were involved in violent criminal activity and who posed little or no immediate threat to trained police officers.

The weapon’s manufacturer and law enforcement officials are quick to point to a condition they refer to as “excited delirium” as the cause of death and they say that these people would have died with or without the Taser. I have been unable to find any reported cases of people dying of excited delirium in the last two years where the Taser was NOT used.

These deaths are no coincidence. The more the Taser is used, the more people are dying. A medical examiner in Chicago recently named the Taser as the cause of death in a case there and as many as 18 other medical examiners have stated that Tasers were the cause of death, a contributing factor, or could not be ruled out. In other cases, autopsy reports have not yet been released publicly.

It is reasonable to believe that police officers do not intend to kill these people when they Taser them, since they have been so artfully sold a "non-lethal" bill of goods with built-in incentive for abuse. Excessive force is increasing wildly and documented reports of Taser abuse in North America are abundant. Amnesty International recently reported upon hundreds of instances in which the use of a Taser was at best a poor choice of force, at worst criminal. These weapons are being used not as an alternative to deadly force, but rather as a brutal means of subduing petty offenders. They are being used not as serious, life-threatening weapons, but as bullies' tools of compliance. The police have come to rely too readily on the Taser and are too quick to use it. Tasers have become the weapon of first resort and are fast becoming a substitute for communication.

If, after unbiased and thorough study, Tasers are here to stay then, at the very least, stricter rules of engagement and a higher standard of necessity must be imposed, as well as a national uniform code for the use of Tasers and consistent training standards. Only then will police officers be better able to predict the potential for severe unintended – and very possibly deadly – effects, and consider their force options more carefully.

Patti (sister of Robert Bagnell, died in Vancouver on June 23, 2004)