An example of obvious misuse. Where is Taser on this incident?
A Lancaster County Sheriff's deputy shocked a jail inmate for an uninterrupted 2 minutes, 49 seconds before he collapsed and died during a fight with four officers in July, according to an autopsy report the Observer obtained Tuesday. Tasers are designed to paralyze a person's muscles for five seconds by firing two probes into the clothing or skin that deliver a single electrical blast. But the devices can shock a person longer if the user continues to hold down the trigger after the probes embed.
WHY? What moron designed such a stupid system?
The minutes-long jolt came after Maurice Cunningham was shocked five other times, ranging in length from five to nine seconds each, the report said. Tasers are equipped with a device that records [but doesn't control? Why not?] the time and duration of each shock.
The probes that embedded in Cunningham's left thigh and left arm completed a circuit in his body that disrupted the electrical system that controls the heart, the report said. Pathologists at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, who conducted the autopsy and wrote the report, found Cunningham's heart suffered damage at a cellular level, said cardiologist Michael Rinaldi of the Sanger Clinic in Charlotte. Rinaldi explained the findings after being read portions of the report.
The autopsy report said Cunningham, who'd never attacked officers before, had been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, possibly schizophrenia. The night before the attack, Cunningham complained that he was seeing snakes in his cell, the report said.
Cunningham had been prescribed Abilify and Risperdal, two drugs used to treat psychiatric disorders, the report said. Pathologists also examined jail records that showed Cunningham was given the drugs as prescribed through the day of the incident. Neither of the two drugs, however, were found in his system, the report said.
Officers tried to subdue Cunningham July 23 after he stabbed two officers in the eyes with pencils and lunged at two others, according to the Sheriff's Office and two inmates who witnessed the attack.
The Observer obtained the autopsy report via mail from the Lancaster County Coroner's Office after filing a request under South Carolina's Freedom of Information Act. Coroner Mike Morris has ruled that the Taser caused the 29-year-old's death. He could not be reached for comment.
Tasers says the Taser has never been shown to be a factor in deaths. Lies.
Cunningham's family declined to comment.
The Sheriff's Office has declined to comment further on the case and has declined to release the names of officers.
Cunningham was in jail awaiting trial on a charge of assault and battery with intent to kill. Three days before his arrest in September 2004, his mother asked a judge to have him checked into a mental health clinic, according to a city police report. Deputies said they could not find him before he was arrested on the assault charge.
Ed Jackson, an Amnesty International spokesman who follows Taser-related cases, said a two-minute, 49-second shock would be the longest he'd heard. The only other death attributed directly to a Taser was a case in Chicago in which a suspect was shocked for a little more than 50 seconds straight, he said.
That makes AT LEAST two.
Jackson said the shocks are consistent with the way many officers across the country are trained.
"They train officers to shock them until they comply ... Officers think that as soon as you turn the electricity off, that people will be fine," he said. "There needs to be a serious examination of training programs to make sure they're consistent with what we now know about Tasers."
Taser International has said its devices are safe and cannot cause heart problems.
In June, though, the company released a bulletin warning officers to avoid uninterrupted and multiple shocks. The warning said certain people could suffer from "potentially fatal health risks" as a result of over-exertion or impaired breathing.
It's unclear whether Lancaster County deputies received that update and what their training entails. Officials there say they'll answer questions about their training when they respond to an Observer FOIA request filed Sept. 26. By law, they have 15 business days to respond.
Officers at some departments in the Charlotte region say they try to limit multiple shocks. Rock Hill and Gaston County police said they train officers to try to physically restrain suspects before resorting to multiple Taser blasts.
Link= Design Defect
Do you think that Taser would have something to say about this incident?
Your search - Cunningham site:www.taser.com - did not match any documents.
Your search - Morris site:www.taser.com - did not match any documents.
Shhhhh! Maybe it'll just blow over...
Fast forward to late-2007:
Cunningham v. Taser International, Inc.
Plaintiff: Corrie Cunningham
Defendant: Taser International, Inc.
Case Number: 1:2007cv06927
Filed: December 10, 2007
Court: Illinois Northern District Court
Office: Chicago Office
County: XX US, Outside the State of IL
Presiding Judge: Honorable Marvin E. Aspen
Nature of Suit: Torts - Injury - Personal Injury- Product Liability
Cause: 28:1441 Petition for Removal- Wrongful Death
Jury Demanded By: Defendant
Amount Demanded: $75,000.00
Prediction: Taser will settle out-of-court for the bargain basement price of $75,000 and there will be an airtight non-disclosure agreement. No admission will be made that the design of the device is defective.
If you arrived here on direct link to a specific post, then you may click here if you wish to view all the latest posts on the Excited-Delirium blog.