Mission Statement - De-Spinning the Pro-Taser Propaganda

Yeah right, 'Excited Delirium' my ass...


The primary purpose of this blog is to provide an outlet for my observations and analysis about tasers, taser "associated" deaths, and the behaviour exhibited by the management, employees and minions of Taser International. In general, everything is linked back to external sources, often via previous posts on the same topic, so that readers can fact-check to their heart's content. This blog was started in late-2007 when Canadians were enraged by the taser death of Robert Dziekanski and four others in a short three month period. The cocky attitude exhibited by the Taser International spokespuppet, and his preposterous proposal that Mr. Dziekanski coincidentally died of "excited delirium" at the time of his taser-death, led me to choose the blog name I did and provides my motivation. I have zero financial ties to this issue.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

More on the $6.2M judgment

San Jose, CA (PRWEB) June 8, 2008 -- A Federal Jury returned a verdict late Friday afternoon in the amount of $6,221,000.00 against TASER International Inc., for the wrongful death of a 40-year-old Salinas, California, man, who died following repeated shocks from three TASER electronic control devices ("ECDs").

The jury of five women and two men found that TASER International knew or should have known that its M26 model ECD was dangerous because prolonged exposures to the device pose a substantial risk of cardiac arrest to persons against whom the device is deployed. The jury also found that TASER International failed to adequately warn purchasers of its device of the risks associated with its use. It awarded the parents of Robert Heston $1,000,000 in compensatory damages and $5,000,000.00 in punitive damages. The jury also awarded Heston's estate $21,000.00 in compensatory damages and another $200,000.00 in punitive damages. However, it also found Robert Heston 85% comparatively negligent for the incident which ultimately resulted in his death. Only the compensatory damage award will be reduced by his percentage of comparative negligence.

On February 19, 2005, Robert C. Heston began acting erratically inside his family's Salinas, California home. Believing his son might be under the influence of drugs, Heston's father called the police reporting his son's bizarre behavior and asked them for help in removing his son from the home. Officers from the Salinas Police Department responded to the Heston home and confronted Mr. Heston. Three police officers used their TASER ECDs repeatedly subjecting Mr. Heston to nearly 75 seconds of continuous TASER discharges as other officers attempted to handcuff Heston on the living room floor. While being subjected to the TASER discharges, Heston suffered a cardiac arrest causing irreversible brain damage. He was removed from life support the following day and died shortly thereafter.

In their lawsuit, Heston v. City of Salinas, et al., N.D. Cal. Case No. C 05-03658 JW, Heston's parents alleged that TASER ECDs are unreasonably dangerous and defective for use on human beings because they are sold without adequate testing and without sufficient warning about the effect of multiple shocks for extended durations, particularly on people who are under the influence of drugs. They further claimed that the weapon, when used repeatedly, causes cardiac arrests and unnecessary deaths. [LINK]

Interesting that the device in question was the older (safer?) M26 taser. I can hardly wait until we have a lawsuit about the X26.

Update - Part of the judgment was later reduced on appeal on the basis of what amounts to a technicality. Not on anything to do with the taser contributing to the victim's death.

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1 comment:

Able Mom said...

I am the mother who made a submission to the Braidwood Commission in Canada, saying that four Saanich Police officers tortured my son in his bedroom, in January of 2005. I swear before God, that to the best of information and knowledge provided to me - that is true, because I subsequently saw the burns on my son’s body and read the statements made by the officers. I was in Alberta, far from my son in Victoria when this happened, but the witnesses I spoke to shortly afterward, who were told to wait outside the house by the officers, all told me they did not really think, or know if my son needed or wanted to go to a hospital, even though they saw an ambulance arrive at his house about the same time as some police. I know my son did not call 911 - because BC Emergency Services made him pay $50.00 to get a transcript of the call, and in that transcript we could not read a blanked-out name, to identify who claimed to be calling from a cell phone. Three witnesses told me they did not think it was necessary for him to be Tasered. One of them said he heard a zapping sound and my son screaming - he called me shortly afterward. My son survived 5 jolts from an M26 Taser, and the police officers who eventually coughed up what they could remember of what they said to him, evinces proof that they, similarly as everyone outside his house, possessed no reason beyond unstated suspicion, for insisting he go with them to a hospital. My husband inspected our son’s bedroom and house later that day - other than some laundry on the floor - there was no evidence of any “rampage”, or destructive behaviour, and our son told us he was lying on his bed when “strange men in uniforms” came in. They did not have a warrant and their statements written by an Saanich PD Staff Sargeant, confirmed what our son told us - that they did not identify themselves to him as police officers, by name, nor rank, or badge number.

My son, like we, may have thought their insistence that he go to a hospital, was based on some unstated false "beliefs" that he "might" have dangerous drug toxicology, which in fact, he did not. However, since they injured him in a way that then required that they take him to a hospital, I deem them, and Taser International guilty of torture to obtain private information, because everyone has a right to privacy, self-defense, and legal representation as advocacy on any charges - even if it's only allegations of an assumed "mental disorder". My son has never been charged with a crime. He was never diagnosed as mentally disordered before this incident, and I believe he never did anything destructive to himself, or threatening to anyone. He is well now. I would invite anyone else who has claims as he has, against Canadian police officers (RCMP) or others, for torture contrary to Section 269.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada, that have yet to be heard by a Judge, to contact me so that class action may be initiated against whoever assumed that "Royal Assent" for Tasers in Canada was sufficient to overrule the terms of the Criminal Code. I think that, if the Government of Canada or the Government of any province can not afford to be accountable for these injuries, then they can sue Taser International in turn, in an international court of appeal. I say that because to the best of my knowledge, patents are supposed to be granted only for things that are USEFUL to people in general, on a basis of demonstrably TRUE scientific information. Anyone who wants to should inquire with the RCMP - I have attempted to do so in Stony Plain, Alberta. I hope to gain their assistance to file charges against the men who Tasered my son, as a non-police act, using a weapon provided to them by the Saanich Police Department in Victoria, BC. According to what I’ve learned from this website, and from the criminal code, and from a crown prosecutor - they have to, even though the Governor General, my MP, and MLA, gave me incorrect advice and incomplete information.