Mission Statement - De-Spinning the Pro-Taser Propaganda

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

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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.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Taser International - playing 'Chicken' with the US legal system

Quoting from:

Document 284
Filed 03/29/10 USDC Colorado
Judge Philip A. Brimmer
Civil Case No. 07-cv-01844-PAB-KLM
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT TASER’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

In other words, Taser not only contends that the TASER did not cause a particular death, but also that it is not capable of so causing a cardiac arrest. ... (“[T]here is no proof that the Device could cause Wilson’s death and, thus, that there was a need to warn Officer Harris or Wilson of a purported lethal characteristic with the Device.”). To the contrary, as already discussed, there is at least some evidence that the device caused Mr. Wilson’s death. ...

If the jury is convinced that the TASER did cause Mr. Wilson’s death, that implicates the sufficiency of the warning which accompanied the X26 TASER device, which read:

WARNING: READ BEFORE USING
The X26 is a non-lethal weapon. It is designed to incapacitate a target from a safe distance without causing death or permanent injury. While the extensive medical evidence strongly supports the TASER X26 will not cause lasting aftereffects or fatality, it is important to remember the very nature of physical confrontation involves a degree of risk that someone will get hurt or may even be killed due to unforeseen circumstances and individual susceptibilities. ...

...The warning could be read to capture the events of this case, insofar as it refers to the risks attendant to physical confrontation under “unforeseen circumstances” and in light of “individual susceptibilities.” But these caveats imply that a TASER will not eliminate the risks inherent to the application of force while assuring police officers that the TASER will not cause fatality” independently of preexisting risks.


Geesh. It's almost as if Taser International was being managed by children. (Ah, oh, sorry...) They're running their company the same way that a 19-year-old male would operate a high-performance motorcycle. They're playing 'Chicken' with the American legal system. Dumb. Dumb dumb dumb.

How much ink would it have required to properly warn the users?

Judge Brimmer marks Taser International's Philosophy-101 term paper

FAIL


Quoting from:

Document 284
Filed 03/29/10 USDC Colorado
Judge Philip A. Brimmer
Civil Case No. 07-cv-01844-PAB-KLM
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT TASER’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT



Moreover, Taser’s argument that temporal proximity may not be considered as evidence of causation is unavailing. As the Court has already stated in resolving Taser’s motion to exclude the testimony of Dr. Rosenbaum, to so find would mean that Taser would be entitled to a special causation rule by which the default assumption is that TASERs cannot cause cardiac arrest, not only as a matter of science, as it would argue to a trier of fact, but as a matter of law, somehow barring consideration of otherwise reliable evidence supporting causation.

In an effort to achieve the adoption of such a rule, Taser applies an overly broad and logically flawed interpretation of post hoc ergo propter hoc, the logical fallacy that because an event follows another, it was necessarily caused by the earlier event. Taser is correct that application of such false reasoning can blind one to alternative possibilities, many of which will be as or more plausible. In this case, for instance, such a fallacy would be at work if plaintiffs’ theory of causation was that, because Officer Harris opened his patrol car door not long before Mr. Wilson’s death, the opening of the door must have caused his death.

Taser, however, is seeking to have this Court apply a rule of logic that may also yield inaccurate results, i.e., that sequence is not relevant to causation. That is not necessarily true. This is not a case of mere temporal proximity, but rather of near temporal synchrony: Mr. Wilson collapsed at the same time he was struck by at least one TASER probe. To the extent certain events occur nearly simultaneously – for instance, a baseball bat making contact with a person who immediately falls over – the causal connection between them becomes quite strong.



The Judge is applying the simplest, and yet most devastating, counter-argument, a form of Reductio ad absurdum (Latin: "reduction to the absurd").

 For those keeping score, this isn't going well for Taser International.

Taser International - batting zero for two

Quoting from:

Document 284
Filed 03/29/10 USDC Colorado
Judge Philip A. Brimmer
Civil Case No. 07-cv-01844-PAB-KLM
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT TASER’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT


Taser also argues that the jury will require expert testimony to reach a conclusion regarding proximate causation. Such testimony will be available to it, as the Court has denied, in whole or in part, Taser’s motions to exclude the testimony of plaintiffs’ experts Dr. David S. Rosenbaum, Dr. Kelly Lear-Kaul, and Dr. John G. Webster.

Attempted Daubert motion quashed.

Taser International - the world's dumbest motion

Quoting from:

Document 284
Filed 03/29/10 USDC Colorado
Judge Philip A. Brimmer
Civil Case No. 07-cv-01844-PAB-KLM
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT TASER’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT


Taser argues that “there is no evidence that the TASER Device properly connected to Wilson to deliver electricity to his body.” ... However, in what appears to be an attempt to have its cake and eat it too, Taser also argues that the “Device functioned as intended, as it immediately incapacitated Wilson – effectively restraining Wilson so that he would not be a threat to himself or others.

Wow. Taser's motion was self-contradictory. Duh.

I've said it before. Each of their claims is perhaps (in some insane world) believable when viewed alone. But when all their arguments are laid on the table and examined at once, the self-contradictions start to reveal themselves.

The extracts from their motion almost give the impression that they've resigned themselves to their fate. They're not even trying. Either that or they're idiots.

Anyone  know who underwrites their corporate liability policies?

"Dismissed with Prejudice" Conference ??

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF COLORADO
...
Perry v. Taser International, Inc.
Case No. 08-cv-02344-RPM-MEH
Settlement Conference
Wednesday, September 9, 2009, 10:00 AM


I'll dig into this one later...

No wonder their products are rubbish, they spend all day in court...

Another Taser 'Motion to Dismiss' shot down in flames...

So, do you own any TASR stock? Life's just one IQ test after another, isn't it... LOL.


From here [LINK].

Ryan Wilson's Family Will Get It's Day in Court

Today (30 March 2010), a Federal District Court Judge denied a Motion for Summary Judgment filed in Wilson v. Taser International et al... [Case No. 07-cv-01844-PAB-KLM] 


From Daily Camera [LINK]

A wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the parents of a Boulder man who died after a Lafayette police officer shot him with a stun gun can move ahead to trial after a federal judge rejected Taser International's request to throw out the case.

Ryan Wilson, 22, died Aug. 4, 2006, after being stunned by a Taser while running from Lafayette police, who were investigating a report of marijuana plants growing in the area. The Boulder County Coroner's Office ruled that Wilson died of an irregular heartbeat caused by a combination of the exertion from running, the Taser shock and a heart condition present since birth.

The stun-gun company denied the Taser caused his death. It argued that there's no proof the Taser properly connected to Wilson in the first place, while also arguing that the device worked appropriately by immediately incapacitating him.

U.S. District Court Judge Philip A. Brimmer, in a written order filed Tuesday, accused the company of trying to "have its cake and eat it too."

"The court is satisfied that a jury, relying upon the evidence of what occurred upon the discharge of the Taser and the expert testimony .., could conclude that the Taser contributed to Mr. Wilson's death," he wrote.

...



Comment on Daily Camera from roark4:

"... the ignorance of these Taser International folks is absolutely mind-boggling. Of the countless cases I've read about in which someone was shot dead by a Taser, the company has yet to admit its product played any part whatsoever in the deaths. It seems like a common denominator to me. ..."

The rest of his comment deteriorates into the better than a gun fallacy, but the part quoted above is a good reaction.


 Another (previous news) about another case where Taser International's stale old legal tricks are failing them. [LINK][LINK]

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lawyer fails Law 101

The officers' lawyers, Ted Buck and Karen Cobb, said the officers made the right decision under the circumstances they faced. "Police officers have to have the ability to compel people to obey their lawful orders," Buck said. ... [LINK]

It's a true statement - assuming it's a "Police State".

In fact, what he said is the perfect definition of a "Police State". Where the police can march around in their jack boots and force people to obey. The vast majority of even the police wouldn't want to live in such a land.


In jurisdictions where The Rule of Law applies, then the police would simply add "Failure To Obey A Lawful Order" to the list of charges. But they'd still have to limit themselves to minimal lawful force ('force - the noun').

Compel is 'force - the verb'.

And that's pure and unadulterated evil to its very core.

It's also exactly what the taser is used for when it is used to force (the verb) people to obey by way of electro-torture.

In the incident in question here, the taser was used to electro-torture a 7-months pregnant woman that refused to sign a traffic ticket. Marketing nause about sword-weilding lunatics that can be saved are the minority - the more common application of tasers is to electro-torture citizens that fail to obey.



By the way - Many jurisdictions do not require motorists to sign traffic tickets and their traffic court systems appear to function effectively. But other jurisdictions (the STUPID ones!!) demand that motorists sign the ticket for some officious purpose. It's obviously not really an essential step since many jurisdictions don't need it. Obviously it is simply not worth the down-sides. You'd need to be in a "Police State" to enforce such silly procedural rules. "Sign the ticket or we will taser-torture you half-to-death!" Idiots!

"Tasers-R-Fun!" training costs Police Sgt his job

A sergeant with the Nogales (Arizona, natch...) Police Department has resigned after allegedly using a taser on a fellow officer last month. Nogales Chief of Police Jeff Kirkham said that on Feb. 8, Sgt. Sergio Bon had "some sort of issue" with a subordinate, at which point Bon pulled out a Taser and used it on the officer.

There may have been some "kidding" involved, Kirkham said. ... [LINK]


This is exactly the sort of attitude that you would expect based on the so-called training. If this is what happens within the police department, magine what happens on the street! It's a tip-of-the-iceberg sign of much deeper and more-widespread very serious problems...


The first step to reducing the evil of tasers would be to examine the so-called training and make sure that the attitude being passed along is aligned with common sense (it's not a harmless toy, it is a weapon that is potentially deadly).

Taser International admits tasers can accidentally fire from "static"

File under - Moronic design flaws
Cross-file under - Dangerous design flaw

Utica, NY - The Oneida County Sheriff's Office is investigating how an Oneida County Family Court judge came to be accidentally shocked with a Taser during a conversation with a courtroom deputy last week. Judge Randal Caldwell was talking with one of his staff members inside the hallway of his chambers around 2:30 p.m. Thursday, March 18, when one of the Oneida County sheriff's courtroom deputies joined in the conversation, Caldwell said. Then, Caldwell felt a sudden “thud” in the back of his leg right above the knee, as well as a painful tingle of electricity, he said. ...

On Friday, TASER International Inc. spokesman Steve Tuttle said ... certain circumstances could result in a misfire, he said. "If there's static, it could possibly go off." Tuttle said.


Stupid design, to say the least.

Taser International's legal woes to continue...

Winnipeg, MB - The family of a Winnipeg teen, Michael Brian Langan, 17, who died in July 2008 after police stunned him twice with a taser plans to sue the weapon-maker after an autopsy linked his death to the weapon. [LINK]

The suit should seek a relatively large amount of money so that death-by-taser judgments and settlements do not simply become the cost of doing [evil] business. Taser International is a $400M company. Any judgment or settlement in the high 7-figure range would take a large chunk out of their market value (there's a good multiplying leverage, about ten-to-one, from the judgment value to the resultant affect on their company valuation).

Also - non-disclosure agreements are worth potentially hundreds of millions of dollars to them (a guess). Make them pay something close to fair market value, even ten cents on the dollar, for any such agreements.


I'm sorry that it is all about the money. It's not me, it's them. Appeals to improve their corporate behavior based on ethical or moral arguments haven't had any effect. Attempts to apply logic and common sense are smothered by their deception. The only language they understand is money. Sue them into oblivion.

And then, later, someone needs to go after the personal fortunes of those involved.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The old "Just obey and you won't be tasered" myth

Jimmy Albert Wyatt, 45, was fast asleep in his car, parked in a spot in front of a Walmart. Port Richey police were given a false report that Wyatt was a fugitive. They attempted to confirm the report but they were unable to find any firm evidence that the report was true (ah, perhaps because it was false). But in spite of this, three police arrived and tried to wake Wyatt.

Please keep in mind that as we join the report, Mr. Wyatt is fast asleep.

...the officers stood at Wyatt's window, trying to wake him. He didn't stir. They opened his car door and shook him. That's when ... Wyatt said, "F--- you," and struck his palm into Sgt. Kern's chest. [LINK]

Now, wouldn't any rational person immediately jump to the conclusion that Mr. Wyatt perhaps wasn't expecting to be rudely awoken from his deep slumber at oh-dark-hundred in the middle of the night? Obviously the officer should step back and protect himself, but an instinctive reaction and movement under these circumstances hardly constitutes intentional action. And that should be bleedingly obvious to anyone.

But no...

The officers ripped Wyatt from the car. Officer Donald Velsor fired a taser into his lower abdomen. Officer Justin Lee fired at Wyatt's stomach and collarbone. Kern issued a "drive stun" shock to his hip. All told, Wyatt was struck with three taser shocks within three minutes of the officers' arrival. They charged him with battery on a law enforcement officer after the palm strike...

Perhaps this department should invest $20 in a large wind-up alarm clock with the two old-fashioned bells on top. Set it to ring in a minute or two, place it on the dashboard of the subject's car, and then (this is important) back away out of arm's length before the alarm clock rings.

More seriously, it's plain stupid to:

1) Be within an arm's length when waking a stranger from a deep sleep. You don't know what their reaction may be; perhaps they're in the middle of REM sleep and are vividly dreaming about 'who-knows-what?'. Use common sense...

2) And equally stupid to interpret the reaction to being awoken as anything more than what it is - a probably unintentional response. The correct reaction by the police Sgt (having put himself into this situation) should have been to step back and say, "Whoa there fella! Police."


Anyway, the department is reviewing the actions of the police officers involved in this incident. [ibid]

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Police "acted professionally" - oh puhleeze...

Mobile, AL - Antonio Love, a deaf and mentally disabled man whom Mobile police forced from a Dollar General restroom wielding pepper spray and a Taser, sued Tuesday alleging that officers weren't properly trained and used excessive force to falsely arrest him. ... "The officers had no way of knowing that the person who [was] in the Dollar Store bathroom and refused to come out for almost an hour was physically challenged. They acted professionally and with restraint based on the information available to them at the time." ... [LINK]

So, given the bleedingly-obvious absence of any information whatsoever (!), they went on the attack.

And then the city spokespuppet has the nerve to characterize this blatant lack of restraint as that they "acted with restraint"?

You gotta admire the utter BS skills of some folks. It's all 1984-(the book)-speak.

'Undetermined Cause' International, Inc.

Patrick Burns - tasered_and_died of "excited delirium" (a.k.a. "undetermined cause")...


The State Journal-Register (24 March 2010) - After hearing testimony that Patrick Burns, who died after being tasered multiple times by Sangamon County sheriff’s deputies, died of excited delirium, a coroner’s jury has ruled his cause of death as “undetermined.” An inquest into Burns' death took place this afternoon. Burns, 50, lost consciousness and died Jan. 23 after being stunned with a Taser by sheriff's deputies. [LINK]


Quite a while ago I described the postmortem, far too convenient, explanation-for-death "excited delirium" as being (at best) a place-holder for ignorance. And with that, I was being extremely generous...

It's nice to see that a coroner's jury has formally made the same logical interpretation

Saturday, March 20, 2010

More details on Taser International's $15,000 "fine"

... TASER filed a Motion for Summary Judgment in an attempt to end the litigation, asking the court to find, as a matter of law, that ECDs do not cause cardiac arrest, and that TASER had no duty to warn users of its products about such a risk.

In denying TASER's Motion for Summary Judgment, Judge Almquist found the evidence sufficient for a jury to determine: 1) whether the TASER Model X26 caused Butler's cardiac arrest, 2) whether TASER is strictly liable for failing to warn of cardiac risks associated with its ECDs, 3) whether TASER intentionally deceived police officers concerning the cardiac safety of its ECDs, 4) whether TASER negligently misrepresented the cardiac safety of ECDs, and 5) whether TASER should pay punitive damages based on fraud and malice.

Judge Almquist also found that a portion of TASER's motion was "substantially immaterial and irrelevant to the substance of the motion and created unnecessary time and expense for the parties and the court" and was filed in "bad-faith" (*).  He ordered TASER to pay plaintiffs' counsel the sum of $15,000 in attorneys' fees to compensate them for the time spent responding to TASER's motion.
[LINK]

To repeat, Taser International has to pay the plaintiffs' counsel $15,000.

Excellent.

* Wiki: Bad faith (Latin: mala fides) is a legal concept in which a malicious motive on the part of a party in a lawsuit undermines their case. ...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Using a taser on an 85-year-old veteran - who's next?

Last month, a Waupaca County Sheriff's deputy used a taser on 85-year-old Edward Brunner, a World War II veteran who has dementia. ... A witness said, "This gentleman was walking very slowly, very stiff. He's an 85 year old man. What is he going to do to an officer, a young officer? It was totally appalling. Very appalling. ...I had to fight back tears because this man was abused." ... [LINK]

There is no possible excuse. None. Simply appalling.


Since this incident, the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs has been working with the Alzheimer's Association and the Waupaca County Sheriff's Department to schedule joint training sessions "specific to handling challenging situations involving people with dementia."

In other words - corrective action.

Because tasering the elderly is stupid and evil.

Electro-torture sadism runs deep

BBC News - A French TV documentary features people in a spoof game show administering what they are told are near lethal electric shocks to rival contestants. ... 82% of participants in the Game of Death agreed to pull the lever. ... Christophe Nick, the maker of the documentary, said they were amazed that so many participants obeyed the sadistic orders of the game show presenter. "They are not equipped to disobey. They don't want to do it, they try to convince the authority figure that they should stop, but they don't manage to." ... The results reflect those of a similar experiment carried out almost 50 years ago at Yale University by social psychologist Stanley Milgram. "With Milgram, 62% of people obeyed an abject authority. In the setting of television, it's 80%." [LINK]

The dark side of humanity. Almost Satanic.

See also [LINK].

New Zealand going taser-stupid

Despite the Independent Police Conduct Authority ["Authority"? LOL] thinking it should be standard practice, incidents of police firing the Taser device will no longer be routinely reviewed. Police Minister Judith Collins actually said, "We're not going to have investigations every time a Taser is used. Blah blah blah. We get police officers shot, beaten up, eaten by lions. Blah blah blah. I don't want these Tasers to be such a problem for police that they don't use them because they're worried they're going to get hauled through a huge IPCA investigation. Blah blah blah..."
[LINK]

Ms. Collins is something of an expert [LOL] on the subject: "...If the alternative is the gunshot, I would say even a 50,000-volt electric shock from a Taser is a better result than a gunshot."

All together now: Here's yer badge...

Suit alledges sadistic behavior

Michael J. Daniels claims he was shot with a taser for no reason and then handcuffed in a way that forced the taser prong further into his arm, penetrating a tendon and cutting through the top part of a nerve in his left wrist. ... Daniels was arrested, purportedly for resisting officers and disturbing the peace, but no charges were filed. ... "Without any reason to believe that … Daniels posed a threat to anyone or had engaged in any illegal activities, and without provocation or warning … Folsom Police Sgt. Andrea Chapman tasered … Daniels," the suit alleges. A completely debilitated Daniels fell against a car and then to the ground, and hit his head, the suit says. The officers gratuitously subjected him to hours of excruciating pain by placing handcuffs directly on the embedded prong and then refusing, despite his pleas, to remove or adjust them, even while he was at Folsom's Mercy Hospital waiting to be seen by a doctor, the suit says. "The officers disregarded his complaints and mockingly accused him of faking" the pain, the suit recounts. [LINK]

The veracity of the claims will be very simple to prove by way of the testimony of the attending physician(s) and surgeon(s).

Assuming the claims of this suit are true, then a six-figure settlement or judgment would seem to be perfectly reasonable and appropriate. If Mr. Daniels is unable to work and suffers permanent harm, then there's an argument to be made for seven-figures.

A sadistic police officer is bad for everyone, including other police officers. Such behavior should not be condoned by anyone, ever.

Taser ignoramus of the week

Common sense, and the 9th Circuit Court (USA), make it clear that tasers are the "most intrusive" form of force.

Obviously, applying an electric shock into someone's central nervous system, so strong that it occasionally overlaps with the bell curve of lethality, is extremely painful (computed to be about 2000 times more than intense pain). It is also effectively indistinguishable from electro-torture applied with booster cable and damp sponges.

Use of tasers is obviously at, or very near, the top of the list of possible forms of  'force' (lawful or otherwise...).

This self-evident conclusion has been reached time and time again by any thoughtful reviewers.

Compare to this:

Police Association of Ontario president Larry Molyneaux, who sits on the police standards advisory committee... "They save lives," said Molyneaux on Thursday. "It’s another option they will have on their tool belt to use rather than force."
[LINK]

"...rather than force."

Read that again. He's somehow got into his little head that using a taser is another option somehow different than using force.

This is one of the most revealing statements showing how The Church of Taser has infiltrated the law enforcement community. And this from the President (!) of the Police Association of Ontario. He thinks that tasers are somehow different than other forms of (police officer) 'force'.

His statement, and the attitude it reveals, is indefensible.

This attitude demands corrective action from our elected political leaders.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tom Smith, President, bailing out of Taser International (TASR)

Name: SMITH THOMAS P
Title: (el) President(o)
Remaining Shares: 221,081
Trade Date: 02/23/10
Transaction: Sell! Sell! Sell!
Quantity: 300,000 (i.e. "most")
Price: $7.19 (essentially the peak of the market after the recent press blitz)
Value: $2.16 Million

[LINK]

Taser company being sued over teen's death

Darryl Wayne Turner, 17, was tasered directly in the chest for 37 seconds, and died of cardiac arrest. The taser shock was implicated as a cause of death. See [LINK].

Taser International would claim that the taser has a statistically-huge 15-to-1 safety margin and therefore couldn't possibly have anything to do with the death. Too bad they're wrong. Now they're up to their neck in serious legal doo-doo.



At the above-linked webpage I noticed a box titled "Related Stories":
  • N.Y. man shot with Taser by deputy dies
  • Mental patient dies after Taser shock
  • Police: Officer on leave after Taser use
  • Deputy gets probation for drunken Tasering
  • Appeals court ruling curbs use of Tasers
  • Officer fired for misuse of Taser
  • Man Tasered by police dies
  • Mounties said too hasty in stun gun death
  • Arkansas police stun 10-year-old girl
  • Tennessee man dies after Taser arrest
  • Police Taser 19-year-old man, who dies
  • Man dies after being hit by police Taser

Geesh, this sort of press makes Genghis Khan and Hitler look like 'Public Relations' success stories.

Family of teen killed by Taser shock sues gun maker

Suit accuses Taser of failing to tell officers about danger of using device near chests. [LINK]

The civil suit, filed in federal court on Tuesday, says Taser International didn't warn its customers that the weapon could be lethal if deployed near the chest, which happened in Darryl Wayne Turner's case. ...

Tuesday's suit against Taser points to a 2006 study funded by the company that concluded that users should avoid discharging the Taser in the chest area. The suit alleges that company didn't warn its users to avoid shocking people in the chest.

"There was a wealth of information, from our perspective, available to Taser that indicated that there was an inherent problem related to deploying the Taser to the chest area," Harris said. "Despite the wealth of information available, they failed to warn their customers and those using the Tasers of the dangers."


Taser International is so screwed.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Allison Kilkenny on tasers

"Tasers are dangerous weapons that are capable of inflicting great bodily harm on their victims. ... An electronic control device that occasionally kills and permanently wounds people. ... These types of lawsuits are going to keep coming, and will probably increase now that the word has gotten out that tasers are lethal, barbaric weapons, which are more often used to suppress non-violent dissidents, mildly disagreeable citizens, and the mentally ill than as a safe way to subdue violent criminals." [LINK]

Ms. Kilkenny points to the taser trade-in program. But she doesn't mention anything about the new Taser X3 emitting about 40% less output (electrical charge) than the most-dangerous taser ever made - the X26.

And if the X26 Taser is "safe", then why wouldn't the newer X3 Taser emit the same or more electrical output?

Hey, I'm just asking...

From Nov 2008 - Cops Raise Taser Safety Claims

Some interesting background info: [LINK].

BREAKING NEWS - Taser fined for delaying tactic in Butler trial

SANTA CRUZ - A Santa Cruz County Superior Court judge denied a motion by a stun-gun manufacturer to dismiss a civil lawsuit filed by a man who claims he suffered permanent injuries after being shocked by one of the weapons in 2006. Monday, Judge Jeff Almquist turned down the request by TASER International that would have ended the case. Almquist also fined TASER International $15,000 for delaying the court process, according to court documents. Watsonville resident Steve Butler, now 51, is seeking lifetime medical costs in the suit. The trial is set for Aug. 2. [LINK]

Taser International's cozy little world of seeming-immunity is slowly being cracked open.

"Other officers laughed at what was happening..."

The Advocate - Baton Rouge Police Cpl. Charles O’Malley, right [see image at link], uses a Taser on a handcuffed man in 2008. O’Malley was later fired for the incident.

Three years earlier, he was accused by a New Mexico trooper of kicking and choking a handcuffed teenager. After an Internal Affairs probe, O’Malley was not disciplined.
[LINK]

Other officers laughed at what was happening, and supervisors did nothing to stop the actions taken "...while dealing with a 16-year-old black male that they had no probable cause to stop, was illegally searched and had nothing in his (possession) that was illegal."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Background on former member Taser International's Board of Directors, Bernie Kerik

Now-convicted, multiple-felon Bernard ("Bernie") Keirk was on the Board of Directors of Taser International for several critical years, partially overlapping the development of the most-dangerous taser, the X26.

Mr. Kerik was recently sentenced to 48 months in prison. His various crimes reportedly had no direct connection to Taser International, but they did span approximately the same time frame.

Here is some interesting info about his supposed 9/11 heroics: [LINK]

Background on Taser International losing the San Francisco sale

Taser Death Not an Issue in San Francisco [LINK]

The Chronicle reported that one of Taser's own scientific advisers has attributed at least one fatal heart attack in an otherwise healthy person to the Taser. The company has since recommended that police avoid firing the Taser at a suspect's chest.
Zian Tseng, a researcher at UCSF ... cautioned against targeting the chest or firing multiple times and advised that heart defibrillators be made available to revive suspects.
Dr. Byron Lee, a UCSF cardiology professor... warned "That's where the risk happens, where you don't realize these are potentially lethal and they are used in a haphazard manner."

Minnesota Taser fanboys very concerned...

Blog direct hits this morning:

07:54 - Chanhassen, Minnesota arrived from email01.secureserver.net on post "Taser International is so screwed...".

08:06 - Minneapolis, Minnesota arrived on post "Taser International is so screwed...".

09:08 - Minnetonka, Minnesota arrived from us.mc622.mail.yahoo.com on post "Taser International is so screwed...".

That whole "less-lethal" (than what?), tasers vs. guns, ~100-to-1 use ratio issue

Ref.: Tasers a controversial tool for police departments [LINK]

Tasers are marketed as "less-lethal", raising the obvious question, less-lethal than what?

The obvious answer is: less-lethal than guns. So replacing gunfire with a taser deployment is nothing but pure good, right? Yes of course, but too bad that tasers replacing guns is such a rare event.

[There's also the issue that tasers are actually "less-than-or-equal-to-lethal".]

Fontana police Sgt. Doug Wagner says... "A Taser is used probably 100 (times) to one," (compared to guns and bullets). Since the beginning of this year, Wagner said he believes there has been one officer-involved shooting compared to 30 to 40 deployed Tasers, a number based on empty cartridges.

Anyone following this blog will realize that I have repeatedly pointed out this approximate 100-to-1 use ratio (tasers/guns) many times over the past couple of years. But this is the first time that I've seen it independently confirmed as a good approximate ratio.

The point is that it's not reasonable to use the argument that tasers are safer than guns, while at the same time standing by and allowing tasers to be used about one hundred times as often, and most often in situations where gun fire would never be acceptable.

Even if it is obvious that tasers are less-lethal than guns, that still leaves the other 99% of the entire taser debate unresolved.

It's a duh-obvious point that should be instinctive to anyone, but it's still a leap of logic that many miss.

Taser International is so screwed...

A good friend of the Excited-Delirium blog sent me a copy of the "DECLARATION OF DOUGLAS P. ZIPES, M.D., IN OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT", dated February 19, 2009.

This document is in relation to the case BUTLER v. TASER INTERNATIONAL, INC. et al.

It's a 36-page document that defies summarization.

Let's start with the C.V. of Dr. Zipes:
  • BA cum laude Dartmouth College 1961
  • M.D. cum laude Harvard Medical School 1964
  • Distinguished Professor, Indiana University School of Medicine 1994
  • Director of the Division of Cardiology Krannert Institute of Cardiology, 1995-2004
  • Published over 800 medical articles and 21 textbooks
  • Co-editor Cardiology Electrophysiology, From Cell to Bedside (2009, 5th ed)
  • Co-editor Braunwald’s Heart Disease, (2008, 8h ed)
  • Co-author Clinical Arrhythmology and Electrophysiology (2008)
  • Past president of the Association of University Cardiologists and Cardiac Electrophysiology Society
  • Founding member (1980) & President (1989-1990) Heart Rhythm Society (HRS)
  • American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Chair of the Clinical
  • Cardiac Electrophysiology Test Committee
  • Co-Chair of the ACC/AHA/ European Society of Cardiology (ESC)/HRS Ventricular Arrhythmia and Sudden Cardiac Death Guideline Committee
  • etc. (...it just goes on and on from there...)
Let's just say that qualifications of Dr. Zipes whistled past the qualifications of "Dr." Mark W. Kroll, (not a real doctor, an electrical engineer) about ten or eleven lines back.

Dr. Zipes:
I became concerned that TASER was misrepresenting that there are no cardiac risks posed by its ECDs. Accordingly, I delivered a PowerPoint presentation on those risks at the May 2009 Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) meeting in Boston. ... At the end of my presentation, Mark W. Kroll, Ph.D., an electrical engineer and the head of the TASER Scientific [sic] and Medical Advisory Board, was in the audience [!] and spoke in opposition to my remarks. Further, I told the president of TASER, Rick Smith, who was also in the audience [!], that TASER needed to issue a warning that its products might cause cardiac effects. We had sharp disagreements, and I left more concerned than ever about the undisclosed cardiac dangers of ECDs. ...
After the debate finished, the moderator polled the audience, and found that more than 90 percent of the audience supported my side of the debate that TASER ECD shocks could produce ventricular fibrillation. (TASER issued warnings to avoid chest shocks about four months later.) ...

Funny how Taser International sends all their high priced help [Pinky and The Brain] to attend meetings of the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) while maintaining the ludicrous position that tasers have no significant effect on heart rhythm. Tasers probably don't affect the orbits of the planets, but I assume that Taser International doesn't send their unwashed hired help to attend meetings of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to make sure... 

Anyway...

Dr. Zipes states his opinion:
...that, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, the electrical impulses from a device manufactured by defendant TASER International, Inc., (TASER) caused Steven Butler’s cardiac arrest of October 7, 2006.
and
...that TASER’s representations of safety made to the involved police agency and officer prior to this incident were not correct, that the risk of causing cardiac arrest was well known prior to this incident, and that the risk could have been minimized had TASER issued proper warnings and training materials rather than false and exaggerated representations of cardiac safety. Finally, I address the inadequacies of TASER’s pre-release testing, and therefore the recklessness with which it marketed products for law enforcement officials to use on human beings.

The trial (Case No. CV 161436) resumes 22 March 2010.

Note - I don't have Internet links to this document at this time.

--

UPDATE: Taser International caved-in like a house of cards and settled with Butler for about $3 million. They then attempted to keep the settlement under wraps, but the judge thought that public knowledge might be a better way forward. [LINK]

Note the implications. Although Mr. Butler survived his experience, this case indicates that tasers can cause cardiac arrest. The case was so clear that the defendant settled. The fact that they tried to hide the settlement also fits with their "Prevent Truth" company motto. Slime.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A crystal clear admission of wrong-doing

The City of Minneapolis will pay Rolando Ruiz $75,000, and cover his legal fees, to settle his lawsuit against the city and Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan. As part of his deal, Ruiz will drop his lawsuit against the city and Dolan, but not against Officer Todd Lappegaard, who was fired in January. ... [LINK]

Sweet!

Stupid taser QotW: "no clear indication"

Despite the fact that a Taser was used to subdue an unruly man in Rhinebeck Wednesday morning, “there is no clear indication at this time that the taser was responsible for Mr. Healy’s death,” Dutchess County Sheriff’s Lt. John Watterson said Thursday. James Healy, 44, refused to leave a woman’s home during a domestic dispute early Wednesday. That’s when she called police and Dutchess County Sheriff’s personnel and State Police from Rhinebeck responded. Healy would not follow orders from the officers and after he fought violently with them, a sheriff’s deputy hit him with a Taser to subdue him. It was after that, that Healy had difficulty breathing, according to troopers, and was taken to the hospital where he died. [LINK]

What exactly would such clear indications look like?

Tasered, difficulty breathing, died - it's a very common pattern in taser associated deaths.

A taser, even if it was the sole cause of a person's death, leaves little in the way of postmortem clues.

The larger meta-pattern indicated by the taser's Curious Temporal Asymmetry [LINK] is worth considering.

If Sheriff Watterson knows of a reliable postmortem test for a taser death, then perhaps he should write a paper for the New England Journal of Medicine.

The coroner should certainly perform the postmortem test for VF (see [LINK]). But lack of clear evidence is a common trend with taser associated deaths. And given the possible death mechanisms (some essentially new to science), that's not surprising.

If they try to attribute it solely to drug use, then the lethal overdose and exact timing had better line up perfectly. Otherwise it is more then likely a whitewash.


By the way - the justifiability (legal and moral) of this death is an entirely different matter than the possible cause(s) of death.

Victoria's smoking gun (an 85% reduction)

Victoria, BC - An audit of the Victoria police concluded that, "It appears there was a strong effect in the aftermath of the death of Robert Dziekanski," in October 2007. The use of tasers dropped 85% after Dziekanski's death. [LINK]

The correct response to this observation of a post-Dziekanski 85% reduction in taser use is "WTF?".

Here's some of the background:
  • Victoria is where the Canadian distributor for Taser International is based.
  • Victoria is where the infiltration of Taser International moles into the Canadian law enforcement community first occurred.
  • Victoria is where, in a city famous for elderly folks and lawn bowling, the rate of taser deployments per population was about eight (8) times that of Toronto.

Combine these facts and the simplest and most rational conclusion is that Victoria's use of tasers was clearly (statistically obvious) out-of-control. They demonstrated a crystal clear pattern of clear-cut taser overuse. I could see it before, now it is self-evident to all.


At this point, the dung4brains taser fan-boys will suggest that tasers replace other, "more dangerous" forms of force. And that if taser use went down by such a huge ratio, then other "more dangerous" use of force must have increased.

Unfortunately for their logic, the same audit revealed that the overall use of force by Victoria police decreased 10% during the same period.

These simple statistics reveal many taser lies and myths for what they are - lies and myths.


A long time ago, I suggested that the appropriate goal for taser rate-of-use would be about a 95% reduction compared to what we were seeing in the available evidence at that time.

I based this proposed 20-to-1 reduction on the obvious 100-to-1 rate of taser overuse, combined with a very generous assumption about marginal deployments (not replacing lethal gun play).


And so here we are...

Victoria, ground zero of Taser deceptive marketing and resultant overuse in Canada, has proven that my suggestion for a 95% reduction in taser use was not only a perfectly reasonable suggestion, but also very easily achievable without any of the nightmare predictions about the risk of a wholesale slaughter of citizens.

There are a hand-full of well-known people in senior leadership positions in Canadian law enforcement (hey!, you know who you are) that have now been shown to have been oh-so very very wrong.

Example of Tasers-R-Fun moronic attitude during demos & training

The two morons left and right are actually smiling while the idiot volunteer suffers a shoulder-to-shoulder clip-on demo. You can watch the video here [LINK].

This tasers-R-fun propaganda, and misleading tasers-R-safe deceptive marketing, is pure evil because it directly encourages taser overuse.

Given the sort of attitude on display here, I'll bet that they also wear sick smiles while tasering citizens.


Eugene police Civilian Review Board a toothless tiger

Eugene, OR - The controversial case in which a non-English speaking University of Oregon student was tasered by a Eugene Police officer will remain closed for good. In September, an officer used a taser on a college student mistaken for a trespasser in the student's [very own] home. The City Attorney found the Civilian Review Board does not have the authority to force the Police Chief Pete Kerns to re-open the alleged misconduct case... [LINK]


In general, City Attorneys and similar are far too friendly with their local police. It's typically one of the many impenetrable lines of defense surrounding police and protecting them (sic) from anything resembling true accountability.

It's a form of evil that is actually very serious and works against the greater good of society.

In an ideal world - cases like this would result in the Feds stepping in and investigating to make sure that everything is on the level. And if they happened to discover that a local City Attorney was working to pervert the course of justice, then they'd prosecute him.. ...too.

A familiar pattern: tasered, "trouble breathing", dead

Hudson Valley man dies after being tasered by police

A Rhinebeck man died Wednesday after police used a taser to subdue him after responding to a call for a potential drug overdose and domestic dispute. James J. Healy, 44, was pronounced dead at Northern Dutchess Hospital shortly after the incident, according to State Police [via the Kingston Daily Freeman]. Healy, who doesn’t live at the home on Stone Quarry Road, was asked to leave, but was uncooperative, police said. A struggle ensued and Healy was tasered by a Dutchess County Sheriff’s deputy. Once he was in control, Healy was having trouble breathing and was taken to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead. A cause of death is still pending. [LINK]

Taser International has claimed a statistically-massive safety margin of at least 15-to-1. At one point there was even a so-called "study" that claimed that cocaine use made tasers safer. So if tasers in combination with drugs are even more deadly than drugs alone, then Taser International has some explaining to do...

"Tasers-R-Fun" OEM-origin propaganda terminates 3 careers

A life-lesson that one is supposed to have learned while still a child is to choose one's friends very carefully. Carried forward in adult (?) life, this should cause a thinking person to pause and think when confronted with a weapons manufacturer that brings an attitude of fun-and-games into the associated training.

Three Tulsa County Sheriff's Office employees have resigned and three others have been disciplined after an internal investigation revealed employee-on-employee use of Taser stun guns. Undersheriff Brian Edwards said he could not give the names of those involved or elaborate on the discipline they received, citing the county's personnel policy. However, according to Tulsa County records and a source who asked to remain anonymous, the employees who resigned were Sgts. Joel Pence and Stephanie Hatter and Deputy Bradlee Odom. ... [LINK]

I'm making an assumption that these incidents (that "...had been occurring over a period of months...") were a playful (sic, and sick...) off-shoot of the tasers-R-fun training propaganda. As opposed to an internal dispute based on true anger.


"The whole key to this story is that it was always employee-on-employee — not on citizens or inmates."

Oh puhleeze... If this is the attitude, then you would have to be an empty-headed moron not to instantly realize that this is an accurate indicator of probably taser misuse and abuse. And taser overuse is thereby incorporated.


Questions:

1) Nobody bothered to check the tasers' deployment counters?

2) What is the rate of taser use in this facility? Anybody tracking?

3) Have you fired the Taser Certified trainers?



Applicable legal concept: "...known, or should have known..."

A spin of the wheel...

From one extreme...

Barre woman arrested after laughing off Taser shot [LINK]


...to the other...

Man Tasered in Midlothian dies

Jaesun Ingles, 31, died just after midnight at MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island after fighting with police and fleeing from the parking lot of a Midlothian Dunkin' Donuts. An autopsy Wednesday failed to pinpoint Ingles' cause of death, and toxicology results will not be available for at least a week, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. According to police, a Midlothian officer smelled marijuana smoke emanating from Ingles' car after pulling him over for traffic violations. The incident remains under investigation... ...did not know whether more than one officer used a Taser or how many times Ingles was struck by an electric charge. [LINK]

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Taser International makes Toyota pedals look Space-qualified

The stungun salesmen will tell you that tasers are "safe and effective".

Officer Michael Decocq fired his Taser at Paul J. Sutton with no effect. Jason M. Parsons, a mental health counselor, said in his statement, "Even the Taser had minimal effect. I heard Paul laugh after that was activated."
[LINK]

Taser QotW: "The bull was angered even further..."

Taser-trained moron at work:

A rodeo bull got loose in Houston.

The bull was angered even further when security shot it with a Taser. [LINK]

His Taser training led him to think that this was a good idea? Taser the 1200-lb bull long enough to get it in cuffs?

These people aren't exactly spending their weekends splitting atoms.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Vancouver's Transit Police release taser videos and pathetic 'backgrounder'

Vancouver Transit Police:

During 2007 and 2008, these taser-happy morons (remember: these are Transit Police, working amongst the traveling public, not exactly a crack SWAT team on dangerous missions) tasered ten (10) people. At least four (4) of the incidents involved cases of suspected fare evasion.

In May 2008, the "brain trust" running this outfit made a supposedly-minor adjustment to the wording in their taser policy. Since that time (almost two years) the Transit Police have tasered just one (1) individual.

See CBC News [LINK] and the Transit Police taser backgrounder [pdf].


Please note - their backgrounder report does not mention anything about them having had to shoot to death (with bullets) the delta of nine (10 subtract 1 equals 9), according to the "tasers save lives" myth.

It's not a coincidence that this policy change, and the dramatic drop in the rate of taser use, both occured at pretty much exactly the same time (early-2008) when the rage of Canadians peaked after the taser-assisted killing of Mr. Dziekanski at Vancouver airport in late-2007. But it doesn't follow that the wording change was the actual cause of the dramatic reduction in the taser overuse rate.

Here's the (time-aligned) pathetic reasoning offered up by the Transit Police BS department:

It is acknowledged that the term 'non-compliant' could have been reasonably judged to be somewhat vague. Consequently, Transit Police policy has since been revised (in May 2008), and the term 'non-compliant' has been replaced by 'actively resistant'.

The probably-more-accurate explanation is that these naive morons bought into the entire Church of Taser worldview suggested by the slick-talking stungun salesmen. They probably cut-and-paste their taser policy from the manufacturer's so-called training material, and thereby repeatedly violated Canadian laws (no matter what the whitewashing may have concluded). Then, when that sort of approach was shown to be stupid and potentially deadly, they had to not only change their policy, but also (separately) had to back off on the utterly-stupid trigger-happy approach.


They can dress-up this change with any decorative wording they want. The fact is that they've reduced their tasering rate by about a ten-to-one ratio. And, no matter what they pretend to believe, it's not due to some minor adjustment to some confusing wording. It's obviously a larger attitude adjustment (stupidity reduction), perhaps due to them slowly coming to their senses, as they watch the nightly news.

Don't get me wrong - it's a very good first step.

But it is absolutely dripping with whitewash.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Collier sheriff settles another Taser lawsuit for $95,000

Sigh, it's like an on-going IQ test...

COLLIER COUNTY - A 48-year-old North Naples man tasered while handcuffed in a jail cell after an unlawful arrest in 2005 settled his federal lawsuit against Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk and four deputies for $95,000.

The settlement came a day after the agency’s attorney agreed to a $50,000 settlement in another taser case involving a teen who died, which deputies blamed on a drug overdose. ... [LINK]


Let's review some key points from the taser sales pitch:
  • Tasers save money.
  • Tasers are effective.
  • Tasers are safe.


There's a sucker born every minute. LOL.

San Fran Police Chief Gascon's taser dreams "tasered"

The San Francisco Police Commission came to its senses last night, and voted 4-3 not to move forward with a plan for giving the cops Tasers. [LINK]

See also: [LINK]


Previous related posts: [LINK] [LINK] and especially [LINK].

CNN's Dan Simon reports...

CNN's Dan Simon reports on a new controversy surrounding the use of Taser devices. [LINK]

See also: Tasers under scrutiny after claims of death and injury [LINK]

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Traffic incident escalates via ineffective taser to deadly shooting

A Sandusky Police Department patrol officer fatally shot and killed Kent Kramer, 30. The officer first discharged the taser, but it had no effect. The officer then resorted to using their gun, killing Kramer. ... [LINK] [LINK]

A police spokesman explained that the taser was probably ineffective due to Mr. Kramer's "heavy coat".

No word if this explanation will lead officers in cold climates to consider first trying other approaches before relying (life and death) on the randomly-ineffective taser.