taser safe?

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taser safe?

Postby Willy » Fri Sep 15, 2006 2:32 am

Public should be part of Taser discussion: Victoria police chief

VICTORIA (CP) - The continued use of Tasers by police in Canada needs to be discussed in a wider forum than just the policing community, Victoria's police chief says.
In a 2005 letter to Police Complaints Commissioner Dirk Ryneveld and copied to Vancouver Chief Const. Jamie Graham, Paul Battershill said he had "philosophical concerns about whether police 'by themselves' should be defining where the Taser (Nasdaq:TASR) belongs on the force continuum.

"As various studies rapidly evolve, it may be necessary to change placement in the continuum and I am not convinced this can be done by police 'by themselves," he said.

Battershill said he arrived at that view after comments by Los Angeles Deputy Chief Michael Berkow at the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police meeting in Ottawa on Aug. 22, 2005. Berkow stated the Taser will ultimately end up as 'only' a specific alternative to lethal force.

"This requires further discussion," Battershill said.

Lawyer Cameron Ward represents the family of Robert Bagnell who died after police used a Taser to subdue him while he was on a violent rampage in a burning hotel's washroom in Vancouver in June 2004.

Ward agreed with the Victoria police chief that the issue of Taser use should be discussed in the public arena because the device, which delivers an electric shock, has safety implications.

Questions about the safety of Tasers have come in the wake of several deaths. However, the makers of the weapon say they're safe and the deaths resulted from other factors.

The issue has been contentious in court cases across the country.

In Alberta, a police officer is on trial in Edmonton for assault over the use of a Taser.

Const. Jeffrey Resler said in a statement to the Edmonton police internal affairs unit that he feared that the men he found in a hotel room on Nov. 27, 2003, had recently smoked methamphetamines or popped prescription pills. He said he believed that firing his Taser at two sleeping men was a safe way to wake them up.

In Ontario, a Chatham-Kent police officer faces assault charges in connection with an alleged incident in the booking room of police headquarters in Chatham.

Sgt. Edmund MacLean, 58, is alleged to have assaulted and improperly used a Taser on a 33-year-old Chatham man who was being booked at headquarters on July 6.

Vancouver police say their officers unholstered their Taser weapons about once a week last year - a total of 52 times.

The number includes not only when Tasers were used to deliver an electric shock, but also when they were deployed to get a suspect's attention.

Police defend the use of the weapon, saying they're safe and effective - saving lives and preventing injuries.

Across Canada, at least six people have died after being shocked by Tasers, which fire two barbs attached to a wire that deliver a 50,000-volt shock on contact for up to five seconds.

The weapon is meant to immobilize aggressors by shocking their muscles.

Amnesty International has said the weapon should be banned until more tests are done to determine its safety. The human rights group said the guns can be deadly when someone is in a weakened state because of heart problems or drug use.

Manufacturers of the Taser guns, now used by more than 50 police and correctional services across Canada, say their weapons have never been held directly responsible for a death.

Taser International Inc. also says its weapons have saved more than 6,000 lives and are a safer alternative to police revolvers.

© The Canadian Press, 2006
What do you folks think?

Postby Stryke » Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:57 am

Arm the cops to the teeth , but make sure everyone who`s issued one gets tassered themselves first .

Postby Panther » Fri Sep 15, 2006 4:02 pm

Giving LEOs tasers without them having a through and intimate knowledge of the science, understanding of conditions and situations that can make the technology more lethal, and providing for consequences when the item is misused should cause the general public great concern.

There are many, many instances where technology has been implemented and used by law enforcement that are essentially a fraud on the general public. For example, while the science is correct and indisputable, the misuse, lack of understanding of conditions and situations, lack of concern over calibration and accuracy by most LEOs, and lack of consequences based on misuse to convict innocent civilians, the use of "traffic radar" is one of the biggest scams pulled on the travelling public by overzealous law enforcement. When properly used, the results are indisputable and the manufacturers of these devices refuse to admit their fallacies. Unfortunately, most officers have not been trained in the proper use of the devices or of conditions that they should avoid in order to prevent erroneous readings. Additionally, as the devices (especially handheld) are bumped, banged around, jarred and otherwise abused in everyday usage, the calibration is quickly and easily lost. Such devices should be checked and recalibrated by a professional laboratory at least once a year and preferably once a quarter. This is almost never done, especially in smaller departments or places with revenue problems. Therefore, the courts have been sold a bill of goods about the infallability of these devices and the public is at the mercy of officers who don't understand these devices. Why are things like this important to point out? Because with RADAR, the worst case is probably the lose of money to the civilian... with the Taser, it has been and always has the potential to be lose of LIFE! I for one, would never allow myself to be tasered with the newer versions. They have cranked up the voltage and the power meaning that the potential for electrocution has increased dramatically.

Tasers should not be advertised as a non-lethal alternative. Under the right (or wrong depending on how you look at it) circumstances, they are just as lethal and a more painful means of death. Misuse of "non-lethal" alternatives have caused more than one lawsuit won by the victim's family. The very famous case here in Boston during the Red Sox celebration comes to mind. In fact, the officers involved had all been "properly trained" and IIRC found to be not at fault even though the family was paid millions in hush money. The truth is that the officers KNEW they weren't supposed to use these deadly weapons in the manner that they used them and should have been found guilty of 2nd degree murder. Those were the "Hi-Tech" bean-bag guns that were touted to the public as the safe, non-lethal alternative. Riiiiiiight...

Personally, if someone pulled a taser on me, I would consider it just as lethal a weapon as a knife or gun.
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