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.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

TED.com - Peter Donnelly on the dangers of expert witnesses

BACKGROUND INFO

An interesting TED.com talk about how common errors with subtle statistics and simple logic can lead to so-called "expert" witnesses providing testimony that is completely and utterly incorrect. There are several very important lessons here.

TED.com video - Peter Donnelly on stats, 'experts', and fooled juries [TED.com].

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Professor Sir Samuel Roy Meadow, "expert witness" [WIKI]

Sally Clark, victim [WIKI]

New Research Finds Danger of Death in Electric Shock Weapons

Dr. Marjorie Lundquist, a scientist from Milwaukee, Wis. presented her research at the meeting of the American Physical Society Monday, which identifies four different ways people can die from the administration of an electronic control device such as the Taser. ... [LINK]

This will eventually catch-up to Taser International and corner them.

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See also "Groups debate potential dangers of Tasers" [LINK].

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Keltron Charles Singleton - taser, sickle cell anemia, death

"Lawsuit filed over stun gun death" [LINK]

"...Singleton did have the sickle cell trait..."

Keltron Charles Singleton, who had somehow miraculously (sic) made it to 30 years of age in spite of his precarious and delicate condition [I guess he never ran a block in 30 years, not once...] (sic), died Oct. 30, 2009 [LINK], after being shot with a stun gun. Autopsy results, as with many taser stun gun-associated deaths, were "inconclusive" (as would be expected since a taser-death would leave few postmortem clues). Mr. Singleton was initially approached by officers with the Baton Rouge Police Department because he was wearing clothing similar to a suspected robber...

Upon arrival, EMS workers did not immediately tend to Singleton and instead talked with police officers on scene, the lawsuit claims. "EMS knew or should have known of Mr. Singleton’s declining condition and were negligent in not addressing his condition immediately upon arrival," the lawsuit says.

The workers specifically should have determined whether or not Singleton had sickle cell anemia, "which would have rendered him exceptionally susceptible to severe medical complications relative to tasing," the lawsuit says.

Robert Tucker, who represents the women in the lawsuit, said Singleton did have the sickle cell trait. Tucker also said the use of the stun gun contributed to Singleton’s death.
...
The lawsuit was filed late Thursday in state District Court against East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Kip Holden, Police Chief Jeff LeDuff, Coroner Shannon Cooper and Emergency Medical Services.

Not a Federal court? State? What state?...

...Louisiana.

Snowball, meet Hell.

Russia's justice minister urges ban on stun guns

Russia's justice minister urges ban on stun guns [LINK]
Russia’s Minister of Justice Alexander Konovalov has called for a ban on stun guns. As he commented on the recent incident in which a Russia Today employee sustained traumatic gun injuries, Konovalov made it clear that stun guns were powerless against the criminals. Under the current legislation, any Russian who has come of age, is not under investigation and is not pronounced mentally ill can purchase a stun gun.

According to the Interior Ministry, 1,500 crimes involving the use of stun guns have been committed in Russia in the past 5 years. 60 of them caused death.

I assume he means for members of the public.

But at least he seems to realize that claims that stuns guns and tasers are inherently incapable of causing death are not true.

Scott Nugent following in the footsteps of O.J. Simpson?

[The Not Guilty verdict] does not, however, end the case. The mother of Pikes' 4-year-old son has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court against city officials and Nugent. [LINK]

I'm almost positive that Federal Courts have an anti-clown rule that may preclude certain "expert" witnesses from presenting their expensive opinions. ;-)

Nugent found Not Guilty

Jurors find ex-officer not guilty in Taser case [LINK]

It's not clear why the jury reached this decision. It not necessarily that they accepted the crazy theories proposed by the clowns from Taser International.

A Federal Court wrongful death lawsuit is pending.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Nugent taser-manslaughter case in jury's hands

The case is with the jury. [LINK]

The reporting from the trial was so sparse that I can't predict the outcome.

If not this one, there are dozens more cases in the pipeline.

Taser International is defending *itself* in Winnfield

Realize this. Taser International is not in Winnfield to defend Scott Nugent. I'm confident that the management of Taser International couldn't possibly care less about the legal fate of ex-bad-cop Scott What's-his-face?.

Make no mistake, Taser International is in this because they're fighting for their own survival.

See the Truth ... Not Tasers blog [LINK] for a good description of what Taser International is doing in Winnfield.  See extract:

I couldn't MAKE THIS STUFF UP if I tried!!!

One of today's "expert witnesses" was Dr. Jeffrey Ho. According to the publication, Mother Jones, Taser International pays Dr. Ho to conduct studies and testify — he got $70,000 during one 12-month stretch (see Mother Jones - Taser's Delirium Defense). According to sources, Dr. Ho got a ride to the Canadian Braidwood Inquiry, where he admitted he is not a heart specialist, in a Taser jet. Ho also admitted some of his research was co-authored by a former Taser employee who has no medical expertise. Ho is apparently a shareholder in Taser International and some of his research is funded by the company.

According to the news report that follows, the expertise of today's other "expert witness", Dr. Charles Wetli, is sudden death caused by "sickle cell trait". In an article called "Is excited delirium killing coked-up, stun-gunned Miamians?" Dr. Wetli was described as the world's leading expert on excited delirium. Another article said that Wetli is paid to testify as an expert on the "excited delirium" syndrome in "four or five" cases each year, often to defend the police ... Wetli, who said he does not fully understand how excited delirium causes death, said he has cited it "once or twice a year," mostly in police custody deaths. So, in the case of Barron Pikes, it seems Dr. Wetli avoided the very controversial "excited delirium" defense in favour of the "sickle cell trait" defense. WTF??

And then we have the rest of the merry band of Taser-friendlies who have had input into this trial:

Jerry Glas, one of the attorneys defending former Winnfield Police Officer Scott Nugent against manSLAUGHTER, represents Taser International.

"Expert witness" Mark Kroll, Taser shareholder, serves on the corporate board of Taser and has been paid more than $800,000 over the past three years as he has been used as a witness in cases involving Tasers

"Expert witness" Hugh Calkins is a paid consultant for TASER International and sits on one of their Boards.

Taser International is apparently paying for their appearance at the trial.

Renowned New York City medical examiner Michael Baden testified that Pikes, 21, died from cardiac arrest suffered from the repeated Taser shocks. "He was healthy. He was Tasered. He died," Baden testified. "There was no other reason for his death."

Dr. Jeffrey Ho... ...testified...

The line-up is complete... [LINK]

In my opinion, Dr. Ho is an apologist for Taser International.

His "expert" testimony at the Braidwood Inquiry was utterly rejected as being an insult to the intelligence. [LINK] Read that again. Rejected! It has to be pretty fricken bad to have the judge not only discount your expert testimony, but to actually take the time and ink to explicitly reject it and to explain why. Embarrassing!!!

Ho et al also stumbled across a highly-revealing case of taser-induced Cardiac Capture, and rather than running to publish this highly-significant finding, he FIRST runs back to Taser International and allows them to make a few minor adjustments (another obviously-BS claim) before continuing with his study. [LINK] At least he was honest enough in this case to publish a mention of the Cardiac Capture, but his too-cozy relationship with Taser International was revealed and confirmed. And his statement that the manufacturer merely adjusted the taser to restore the obviously-BS 15-to-1 safety margin would seem to be mathematically impossible.

He's been caught on camera downplaying any negative findings. [LINK]

He's been paid a lot of money by Taser International over the years... Is this a surprise? Money influences results - period. Let me repeat that. Money influences results - period. It doesn't matter about anything else, money buys results.

He repeatedly mentions "2.1 mA average" and thereby implies that an 'average' measurement would be applicable (sadly, it isn't). [LINK]

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What I'm not seeing in the rather limited news coverage is any indication that the prosecution lawyer(s) are drawing blood from these clowns.

Dr. Ho, please tell me about your involvement in the Braidwood Inquiry, and the words used by Justice Braidwood to describe your so-called expert testiMONEY... Excuse me, testimony.

Dr. Ho, please explain to the jury the technical difference between misleading 'average' and more-reasonable 'effective' current measurements for complex waveforms...

Dr. Ho, if a test subject suddenly died during one of your taser experiments, who would you call first?

Sudden death "caused by" the inherited sickle-cell trait (inexplicably coincident with being tasered to death)

Forensic pathologist Charles Wetli, whose specialty is sudden death caused by sickle cell trait... ...concluded that it wasn’t the 8 or 9 Taser drive stuns administered by Nugent that led Pikes’ death, but rather the fact that Pikes suffered from sickle cell trait. [via TNT]

In my opinion, that testimony is actually bordering on evil.

It's quite obvious that this theory is pretty far-fetched; look at the time-line (Mr. Pikes' age, versus the 'activities' immediately surrounding his death).

What are the chances that Mr. Pikes' death was caused by an inherited trait that he's obviously had for his entire life? Meanwhile he's been repeatedly taser-tortured...

On January 17, 2008, an unarmed and handcuffed black man, Baron "Scooter" Pikes, was tasered nine times within the space of 14 minutes. The coroner concluded that Mr. Pikes was probably already dead before the final two taser hits. [LINK]

This wild theory (that Mr. Pikes just happened to coincidentally die of the sickle cell trait immediately after being taser-tortured) tends to target 'persons of a certain color'; working to remove their right to postmortem justice. There's been enough of that crap already in this case; "...Off camera, voices can be heard taunting him, shouting the "N" word..." [LINK]  This highly-unlikely theory is actually in very bad taste. It stinks! [LINK]

Have a read of the following:
CHAS’ REVIEW of "Sudden Death due to Sickle Cell Crisis During Law Enforcement Restraint" [LINK]

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The tape also shows Pikes foaming at the mouth and struggling to breathe.

Pikes was reported to be "struggling to breathe" after being tasered.


Tasered, immediate "difficulty breathing", followed by death.

It's a pattern that happens over [Adil Jouamai] and over [James J. Healy] and over [Hatchel Pate Adams III] and over [Rory McKenzie] and over [Ryan Wilson] and over [Kevin Piskura] and over [Samuel K. De Boise] and over [Daniel Joseph Barga] and over [Troy Tackett] and over [unknown] and over [Michael Jacobs Jr.] again...

10 June 2010: Tasered, difficulty breathing, death [LINK]

5 Sept 2010: Tasered, "wasn't breathing", died. Deja vu [LINK]

3 Sept 2010: Tasered, "stopped breathing", died. Sound familiar? [LINK]
18 Jul 2010: Marvin Booker tasered, last words, "I can't breathe..." [LINK]
30 May 2010: Un patrón muy familiar [LINK]
9 May 2010: Cause of Death - Daniel Joseph Barga [LINK]
11 Mar 2010: A familiar pattern: tasered, "trouble breathing", dead [LINK]

19 Sept  2008: A very familiar pattern... [LINK]

19 Sept 2008: A very very familiar pattern [LINK]
...

Western Australia Police Union bemoan taser misuse inquiry

The head of the Western Australia Police Union bemoans the "impact" of the investigation into taser horseplay at the Rockingham Police Station. [LINK]

Ahhh... My heart bleeds for your hurt feelings. NOT!

Damn puffters, wussies and fruitbats.

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Such horseplay reveals an underlying attitude that these officers believe that tasers are harmless playthings. That attitude is wrong and dangerous.

THAT's the issue.

The truth is that tasers are a tool of electro-torture and (with abuse or pure bad luck) they have the capability to kill.

The involved officers shouldn't be fired or given desk jobs.

They should be jailed.

Intentional misuse of a weapon is typically a criminal offense.

What do they mean by, "particularly the X26" ?

The two self-appointed taser "experts" testifying at the Nugent Taser-death trial reportedly claim that tasers, "...particularly the TaserX26 model used by Nugent...", are not capable of causing harm to the subject. See [LINK] near end of Page 2.

"particularly" the X26?

What's with THAT?!?!

All the evidence that I've seen suggests that the X26 is the most dangerous taser ever marketed (compared to M26 and any other previous versions). I've not found any data on the newer products, except a mention that the X3 emits 40% less "charge" than the X26.

So, is this sub-claim one of those off-the-cuff, toss-away remarks made to decorate-up a larger false claim?

Drive Stun mode - myths and lies

Glas told the jury in opening statements that the drive stun was more painful than the probe shock, but administered less electrical current to a body. [LINK]

The above statement appears to be utter Bull Sh_t.

As far as I know, the X26 taser emits the same electrical output via the probes and wires, or when pressed directly into the subject's flesh (Drive Stun or Touch Torture mode). In fact, the long wires can only add electrical loss, so the power must be higher in Drive Stun mode. This may be offset by the penetrating darts eliminating a voltage drop or two if they actually penetrate the skin.

But, the maximum possible power would be if the taser were pressed directly into the subject's flesh.

The so-called Drive Stun mode does not get a free pass on the risk of death. If there is a risk of death with tasers (as admitted), then the Drive Stun mode is included.

Anyone that testifies to the contrary may be 'stretching the truth.'

AZ Deputy Raul Alvarado and the case of the tasered frog

There are some fairly weird freaks walking this planet. Problem is, some of them are equipped with portable electro-torture devices.

See [LINK].

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A new thought:

The ethical boundary of morally-acceptable taser use is apparently insufficiently clear for some. The old fashioned gun is more clearly black and white, and its ethical use limits are sufficiently clear that even the ethically-deficient can stay out of trouble.

This may help to explain the real world problems with tasers.

Taser International pulling out all the stops in Nugent Taser-death trial

Jerry Glas, one of the attorneys defending former Winnfield Police Officer Scott Nugent against manSLAUGHTER, represents Taser International.

"Expert witness" Mark Kroll, Taser shareholder, serves on the corporate board of Taser and has been paid more than $800,000 over the past three years as he has been used as a witness in cases involving Tasers

"Expert witness" Hugh Calkins is a paid consultant for TASER International and sits on one of their Boards.

Taser International is apparently paying for their appearance at the trial.
[TNT]

Let's be perfectly clear.

They're not there to save Nugent. I'm sure they couldn't care less about Nugent.

They're there to save themselves.

Repost: Nugent's own video...

From 3 February 2010

Nugent's own video... [LINK]

Note the "directly into his chest". That can make the Touch Torture mode lethal.

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What was in Nugent's head while he was video taping the death of Mr. Pike?

CNN - ...The video sealed Monday by the judge shows the aftermath of Nugent's Taser use, according to sources who have seen the tape. They told CNN that it runs about 17 minutes and was shot by Nugent himself.
The tape begins with Pikes handcuffed to a chair in the Winnfield Police Department, the sources said. He had already been hit by a so-called "direct" stun -- a Taser fired directly into his chest rather than from a distance -- and eight other Taser shots.
Off camera, voices can be heard taunting him, shouting the "N" word and demanding to know if he was high on drugs, the sources said. The tape also shows Pikes foaming at the mouth and struggling to breathe. He later slumps to the floor and is ultimately taken to an emergency room with shackles around both of his ankles. CNN has seen still photographs of the lifeless body, still in leg shackles at the hospital. ...
[LINK]

On January 17, 2008, an unarmed and handcuffed black man, Baron "Scooter" Pikes, was tasered nine times within the space of 14 minutes. The coroner concluded that Mr. Pikes was probably already dead before the final two taser hits.

According to Taser International, the taser is cardiac-safe. The implication is that it makes an ideal instrument of torture, with no fear of causing death.

Because of those false claims, I can't help but think that they deserve to also be held criminally responsible for Mr. Pikes death.

Harris County deputy George Wesley Ellington - a poster child for tasers

Let's start in the beginning:
Ellington was among eight deputies listed as a defendants in a 2008 civil rights lawsuit filed in the alleged Taser and beating death of a 31-year-old mentally ill man in October 2006. Harris County, the sheriff's office, then-Sheriff Tommy Thomas and Taser International are also named in the lawsuit. A medical examiner's report designated the manner of death as "homicide" for Herman Carroll, a.k.a. Herman Barnes, according to the complaint filed by the man's relatives. The suit alleges excessive force, namely that officers "beat and tasered Barnes repeatedly," including one officer who zapped Barnes seven times, another twice and Ellington, a reported 23 times.


Oh, he's just a dedicated, hard-working officer doing a dangerous job...

Related lawsuit (a.k.a. 'How tasers are actually used...'): [PDF] (warning: disturbing)

And now... [LINK]
George Wesley Ellington, 38, is accused of twice accepted $500 from an alleged drug dealer in exchange for his protection and access to confidential law enforcement computer records, according to a federal indictment unsealed Tuesday. ...of accepting money to access information from secure databases and for providing security in his official capacity to a person he believed was possessing and transporting the drug known as ecstasy. Authorities say the bribes were paid in February and April. Handcuffed and shackled, Ellington made an initial appearance Tuesday before Houston federal magistrate Judge Stephen W. Smith. Several of the deputy's relatives and supporters [WTF?] attended.

h/t k

Tasers - "two milliamps" and deception to the point of perjury

Amicus brief

If an "expert" witness mentions anything similar to "two milliamps" (e.g. 2.1mA) in relation to the output waveform current from a taser, then they're either as ignorant as a tree-stump, or they're lying through their very expensive teeth.

Here's a much more accurate, much more complete and (critically) much more honest answer: [LINK]

Just compare what they say, or said, (under oath) to the more-complete answer linked above.

Keyword "effective".

Do you feel deceived?


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See also [LINK].

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See also the many link in the right hand column...

The stench from some so-called studies

Taser International, at least up until 1 May 2010 when they went more-or-less silent, has loved to point to their steaming piles of studies that they state proves this or that claim about taser safety. They even drag them along to hearings as some sort of prop.

Some of the studies quoted (mentioned even post-2007) predate the 1999 introduction of the more-dangerous 'high power' tasers; and other studies predate even the 2003 introduction of the most-dangerous X26 taser (with its low frequency and continuous 100% duty cycle waveform components).

Many of the studies indicate that tasers are not highly dangerous, which really misses the entire point. See [LINK] and [LINK] about appropriate sample size to have any applicability to the actual issue. And since the folks at Taser International should know Statistics 101, I can fairly conclude that they present these non-applicable (and useless) studies for deceptive purposes.

Other studies [LINK] mix (probably intentionally) injuries and death as if they were the same - an utterly evil swindle. And some so-called studies even are so bold [LINK] as to explicitly exclude taser-related deaths (a move, that given the larger picture, is circular reasoning at the highest level) - see also [LINK].


And it was noted [LINK] that "Taser has repeatedly characterized research that its own employees or consultants helped conduct or write as independent."

Let's examine the real-world implications of industry connections...

Cigarettes and Alzheimer's [LINK]:
How much did it matter if the researchers worked for the tobacco companies? A lot: the risks of Alzheimer's associated with smoking reported by these papers were on average about a third lower than those conducted by others, and they produced many papers showing cigarettes were protective.

Here's the thing...

You can't tell by reading a bought-and-paid-for "study" why it is defective. The signs of corruption or influence are typically not explicitly visible. The report may appear to stand on its own as a reasonable report with rational conclusions that appear to be supported the data; but that's only because the author(s) sweated over it until it "looks good."

But you weren't there when the author was editing the data. You probably don't have access to the edit history metadata embedded in the original file. You don't have copies of the "expense claims", stock options and pay-stubs.

The cold hard fact is that reports written with any influence from Taser International tend to show data that indicates nothing but perfect safety.

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Of course there are exceptions: Cardiac Capture Demonstrated [LINK]

But even in this example, the author went running off to Mommy (*) to let them know that their new-fangled taser had actually induced cardiac capture. And the manufacture fiddled with the settings to restore (Bull-Sh_t!!!!!!) the OBVIOUSLY MYTHICAL 15-to-1 safety margin.

RESULTS: Initially, a 1st version NGCEW (NGCEWv1) that was in the final stages of manufacturer verification was used at the training courses. It had not been publicly released. During a NGCEWv1 exposure with 2 probes, there was an apparent brief episode of cardiac capture. Testing was halted and (*) the manufacturer was notified. The device was redesigned and the study continued when a redesigned, 2nd version (NGCEWv2) was used.

(The connections and influence from Taser International to the lead author are plain. Any independent group would have LOVED to make such an interesting finding, and they wouldn't have put the report on hold until the manufacturer pretended to restore the mythical safety margin.)

See also [LINK] for more on this same subject.

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Like an iceberg - 90% of the influence is hidden.

Especially when they not exactly forthcoming about disclosing their industry ties [LINK] or their predetermined mindset [LINK].

The prosecution said Kroll is biased.

Kroll biased? [LINK]

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And in other news...

Members of ursus arctos demonstrate a preference to defecate in areas dominated by perennial woody plants.

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Established Fact: Tasers are capable of causing or contributing to death.

Via any of several taser-death mechanisms.

Even with healthy adults. But especially with those that are more vulnerable.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kroll actually testifies in Nugent's Taser-Death trial

Question:
I wonder what Taser International sponsored moron they're going to install in the witness box? [LINK]

Wow. "Dr." Mark Kroll.

"Bioelectricity expert [?] in Winnfield manslaughter trial says Taser did not cause suspect's death" [LINK]

Kroll reportedly said, "There's zero negative effect on the body." This claim is obviously not correct. Even Taser International acknowledges numerous risks.

If the opposing lawyer fails to make Kroll cry like a baby on the witness stand, then I'll be very disappointed. It won't be for lack of documented openings.

Ask him why even Taser International disagrees with his over-the-top claims?

Ask him why cardiac capture in 1 of just 8 subjects tested with a newer, presumably safer, taser device?

Taser International (TASR) - I know where the profit went...

News this morning:

Taser International (TASR) lost $2.3 million during July-September 2010 3rd Quarter


News from mid-August 2010:

Taser International settles with Steven Butler for $2.85 million [LINK]

Obviously, I'm not privy to the exact timing of the settlement payment. But if it wasn't paid during this latest 3rd Quarter, then maybe it's still pending - in which case LOL.

By the way, the bad news wiped about $20M off their market cap.

NZ Officers beat up after trusting taser

Two officers in New Zealand receive a good solid beating after putting their naive trust in their untrustworthy taser.

A police officer in Hamilton had to draw her gun after a colleague's taser failed to subdue a man during an attack at the weekend. ... Police say a taser was used on the man twice, but it had little effect and an attack on both officers by the father, his son and a sibling followed. ... Both officers were bruised and one had a ruptured blood vessel in an eye. ... [LINK]

Australia: Taser-torture victim Kevin Spratt 'reads the Riot Act' to Police Commish

Kevin Spratt demands release of second Taser footage

Taser [-torture] victim Kevin Spratt has written to Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan and Attorney General Christian Porter demanding access to [a video] of a second Taser attack and a copy of his criminal record by 2pm tomorrow. ... [LINK] [via TNT]

But Mr. Spratt yesterday claimed Mr. Porter was deliberately finding ways to stall the [video] being released. "It must show shocking violence against me because, after the Corrective Services Officers took me out of the cell, I had a busted shoulder, a punctured lung and had to be admitted through the emergency department of Royal Perth Hospital for surgery," he said.

Mr. Spratt has also asked Mr O'Callaghan for a copy of his criminal record after it was leaked to the media. The leak is currently being investigated by the Corruption and Crime Commission, with Mr Spratt saying it was misleading and inaccurate.

Mr. Spratt even used the 'T' word ("...tortured by your personnel...") in his demand letter. And justifiably so, by any reasonable standard.

Sounds to me like 'the authorities' in Western Australia are going to have their own heads handed to them on a silver platter.

It's gonna be a treat to watch this play out.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Taser-wielding cops charged with ASSAULT

Another source...

CBC - B.C. police charged after Taser used on man, 73

A Mountie from Surrey, BC, and a Metro Vancouver transit police officer have been charged with assault in connection with a 73-year-old man who was jolted with a taser after being arrested under the Mental Health Act. The incident happened in April when police responded to a call of a man with a knife causing a disturbance at a home. The man was taken to hospital, where he was stunned once by an RCMP taser and suffered facial injuries, police said. Const. Mitchell Speares is charged with assault and assault with a weapon... Const. Ken Jansen, a member of the BC Transportation Authority Police Service, is also charged with assault. [LINK]

Incredulity On - Police charged with assault after using a taser on an elderly man? - Incredulity Off

And in other news...

Space-aliens land in Washington, the Moon is made of cheese, and Sus scrofa domestica have taken flight.

It must be a Monday...

"What if we call it, ah, 'Pain Compliance'?"

The Sun (UK)
Two cops taser-tortured a man and punched him repeatedly in the head as dozens of horrified witnesses looked on. The heavy-handed tactics came after they had already wrestled the man to the ground. While one officer pinned the man down with a knee on his neck, his colleague fired a taser at the inside of the man's left thigh at point-blank range. The man yelled in agony before the other cop landed four punches in his face. ...30 people booed and jeered at the violent scenes..."The only way they could justify what happened was if the man had been fighting them, but I didn't see any sign of that. I didn't hang around to see how it ended because they'd seen me filming and I wasn't taking any chances after what I'd just witnessed. You'd think they'd show a little more caution these days when everyone has got a phone and camera with them." [LINK]
  • One knee on head - check.
  • One electric shock torture "administered" to the inner thigh (*) - check.
  • Four quick (not one, not two, not three, but a batch of four) punches to head - check.
  • 30 witnesses that instinctively realize that it's too much - check.
  • One video that got away - damn!

(* And, ah, what's with the inner thigh? Anything here that you guys need to talk about? Ahem...)


Assignment: Explain in 10,000 words or less the precise purpose of the taser to the inner thigh. Points deducted if you use the words, "...to send a message to these punks..." (you spelled citizens wrong), or anything similar. Points deducted if you refer to the Boise Mounted Police and their peculiar interests [LINK].

Monday, October 25, 2010

Two B.C. cops charged over Taser jolt on 73-year-old

Globe and Mail [LINK]

A member of the RCMP and a member of the South Coast BC Transportation Authority Police Service have been charged with assault in the tasering of a 73-year-old man while in hospital. ...the man, while in hospital, was subjected to a single application of force from a Taser wielded by the RCMP officer in the Touch-Torture (TM) mode. The man suffered a facial laceration requiring sutures. ... Constable Mitchell Spears, a member of the RCMP with two years experience, has been charged with one count of assault and one count of assault with a weapon. Constable Ken Jensen of the transit police has been charged with one count of assault.

A bit of a milestone...

Is everyone paying attention?

I think I'll open a bottle of bubbly tonight.

Law Enforcement Quote of the Century

File under 'Duh!':
"You'd think they'd show a little more caution these days when everyone has got a phone and camera with them." [LINK]

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Taser International's well-buried legal warnings

While Taser International continues to sing the tasers-R-safe song, and continues to deny that any taser ever played a role in any death, their well-buried legal warnings are singing from a different song sheet.

For years they denied that tasers could affect the heart.

But their legal warning states: "The ECD can produce... changes in... heart rate and rhythm..." [LINK]

"Experts have indentified heart-to-dart distance as being a key determining factor in whether an ECD can affect the heart." AND "When possible avoiding chest shots with ECDs reduces the risk of affecting the heart and avoids the controversy about whether ECDs do or do not affect the human heart." [LINK]

The bold print is new as of 1 May 2010. Last year they baldly claimed that the previous "avoiding chest" warning was strictly about "avoiding controversy", and nothing to do with risk. It is now clearly stated that if you avoid chest shots, you will reduce cardiac dangers.

In other words, tasers can affect the heart.

We shouldn't be surprised that some people die after being tasered. The explanation is provided in these legal warnings from Taser International.

See also [LINK], [LINK] and [LINK].

"He was healthy. He was tasered. He died."

Simple truth vs. bizarre explanations.

Michael Baden: "There was no other reason for his death." [LINK]

Another witness suggested that Mr. Pikes might have died from sickle cell disease. Right then. Yes sireee Bob. Sickle cell disease. {ROLLS-EYES}

--

I guess that "sickle cell disease" probably affects one's balance too. It wasn't so many years ago that a lot of citizens belonging to a certain visible minority would just happen to "fall down the stairs" at their local police station. Must have been sickle cell disease. Yes siree Bob. [sarcasm off]

Saturday, October 23, 2010

"Depressed" man loses an eye to police taser

Geesus H.

File under: Yeah, thanks for "helping".

Anthony A. Payne, Maryville, was shot with a taser. One dart landed in his left eyeball. The officer (Blount County Sheriff) even cycled the taser a second time to make sure. Payne's eye was obviously damaged beyond repair. A lawsuit has been launched. [LINK]

In my opinion (based only on the linked report), this would only be acceptable if Mr. Payne was charging towards the officer with a knife. In such cases, he'd be fair game. But if Mr. Payne was just sitting there, sad and depressed, then attacking him with a dangerous weapon was uncalled for.

Scott Nugent - the back story

(Updated 29 October 2010)

Presented without comment [LINK]:
- Hometown: Winnfield, Louisiana
- Winnfield police officer until fired in May 2008
- Nugent's father (Gleason Nugent) committed suicide in 2005, after being accused of corruption in police chief election
- Killed Pikes with Taser during arrest in January 2008 [Found Not Guilty 29 Oct 2010]
- Pikes was wanted on cocaine charges
- Winnfield police employed Tasers 14 times in first year used by the force
- In 12 of those 14 times, the Tasers were used to shock blacks
- In 10 of those 12 times, the Taser was used by Nugent

Taser's lawyer Jerry Glas tries to discredit Dr. Michael Baden

Winnfield, LA - A well known forensic pathologist testified that the repeated electric shocks that ex-cop Scott Nugent administered to a handcuffed man caused his death. Prosecutors called Dr. Michael Baden as an expert witness in the death of Baron Pikes. ... Baden told jurors that Pikes did not have any medical conditions that would have killed him, and he did not find any other reason a healthy man would die so suddenly. ... [LINK]

I hate it when they use the word "administer" in relation to electro-torture. It's a medical term. And medics will have taken an oath to 'First, do no harm.' Taser International does not operate under such ethical rules.

On cross examination, defense attorney Jerry Glas worked to discredit Baden, asking him about his qualifications as an expert on electricity and on the taser.

I wonder what Taser International sponsored moron they're going to install in the witness box? People like Kroll and Ho are pretty much damaged goods. Any informed lawyer could utterly destroy either one of those two clowns.

--

Here's some related reading material:

How many amps in a police taser? [LINK]

See also [LINK].

Shades of Deception [LINK]

Training Bulletin 1 May 2010 [LINK]

Taser International micro-shifting safety claims [LINK]

HRS votes down Taser International [LINK]

Taser International is so screwed [LINK]

Friday, October 22, 2010

Lafayette, LA - "only twice" taser deaths in five years

Two taser deaths in five years is nothing to be proud of.

Best comment of the month.

PanamaVet wrote [LINK]:
A taser is a tool which occasionally takes the life of the person shot.

A revolver is a tool. If a patrolman took a revolver, put one bullet in the chamber and spun it before pointing it at someone the situation probably would not escalate. If he pulled the trigger he would be arrested no matter the outcome.

I was a policeman before tasers were invented. We were able to deal with problems. We encountered situations where people who were ill displayed the same behavior as criminals. Actually, we were trained to look for it and respond safely.

Corporal Delahoussaye has not been trained properly on his mission, not just to serve but to protect and serve everyone. It is an honorable pursuit.

This stance reflects a deficiency in Lafayette leadership. Policies on use of force do not accurately reflect the lethality of the "tools" being used. It begs the question, where do elected leaders and their appointees truly stand on issues related to public safety?

Awesome.

Comment

[LINK]

Taser International has engaged in a deceptive marketing campaign claiming that tasers are perfectly safe and that they could not possibly affect the heart. Given the number (500+) of people that have died almost immediately after being tasered, as compared to the number (~0) that have fallen down dead at the taser display and warning, it's perfectly obvious that tasers can cause or contribute to death. This is the taser's Curious Temporal Asymmetry (Google the phrase).

Even Taser International has been forced to slowly tweak their legal warnings in tiny steps. As of 1 May 2010, they finally added a phrase that admits that tasers CAN affect the heart and CAN cause death. Their present position contradicts their previous claims and statements.

So the argument about if tasers can, or cannot, affect the heart is over. Critics were correct. Taser International and all their previous claims were wrong. They even pulled down their "Cardiac Safety" webpage; quietly.

It's important to be crystal clear. It isn't that tasers are dangerous or not. It's that they are dangerous but too many people have been misled. And Taser International is being very very quiet about their slowly shifting position. Many didn't 'get the memo' because there is no memo.

No other weapon has so much deceptive marketing surrounding it.

As for Taser International still being in business? Be patient. We're working on that. But it takes time. They're are starting to lose legal cases. Google Braidwood.

Another case to watch is Nugent in the taser-death of Pikes. A case where an officer electro-tortured a restrained man to death.

Nugent says Pikes told him, "You're killing me."

Chilling. Frightening. [LINK]

A police officer uses his taser to slowly electro-torture a restrained man to death.

If you can defend this officer's utterly evil actions, then you're one sick puppy...

Julian Fantino to run for political office

Former shopping mall security guard turned OPP Commish Julian Fantino has been acclaimed by the Green Party NDP Liberal (sorry) Conservative Party as their candidate in the riding of Vaughan.

Mr. Fantino has repeatedly proven himself to be an uncritical fan of tasers. I have tried to track all of his comments on the subject, and they were all perfectly aligned with what Taser International would want him to say.

In one example [LINK], he read out a very-carefully-worded claim about taser safety that can almost certainly be traced directly back to Scottsdale, AZ.

Back in August 2008, Fantino said that the debate about the overuse, misuse and abuse of tasers, and the false claims that tasers were safe, ...he said [LINK] that the debate was "off the rails". Few statements are so absolutely, perfectly and obviously wrong.

By his statement protesting against the taser debate in Canada, as compared to the magnitude of Canadian outrage at the problem, Fantino revealed that he was out-of-touch with some very basic values shared by most Canadians.

We don't like it when the police overuse and misuse electro-torture devices to 'encourage' obedience. We don't like it when people are taser-tortured to death. And we don't like it when the cause of death in a taser-death incident is falsified by a corrupted system. These are real issues and to deny them is evil.

It's not actually a Right-vs-Left political question. It's normal everyday Canadians complaining about a weapon that is accompanied by deceptive marketing spin that too often leads directly to (even encourages) overuse, misuse and abuse of a potentially deadly weapon. If a person cannot see any reason to complain about how tasers are actually being used, then they're either ill-informed, or they're pretty far along the axis of inhumanity.

See also [LINK] and [LINK].

Tasers - lowering IQs and ruining careers around the world

Stupid is as Stupid does.

A veteran West Australian police sergeant with 36 years on the force faces the sack over the use of Tasers during bizarre initiation ceremonies at a Rockingham (Perth) police station. ... It was revealed earlier this year that officers at the station were using their 50,000 volt Tasers on each other during hazing ceremonies. [LINK]

A police sergeant and a 36-year veteran...

Acting like an utter moron.

Q: What is it about tasers that causes police to treat these weapons as harmless toys?

A: The brainwashing style marketing and defective training originating from Taser International.

If you have a better theory, send it in.

With this sort of taser-induced stupidity happening to new recruits, no wonder prisoners are being electro-tortured half to death. It's just a little bit further along the slippery slope of evil insanity.

--

Basic ethics.

They should Google themselves an introduction to the topic when they get a chance.

Taser International lawyer Jerry Glas tips up at Taser-Death trial of Scott Nugent

Lawyer Jerry Glas, often described as "legal counsel for TASER International" [LINK], is now described as attorney for Mr. Nugent. [LINK]

See also [LINK] where he's described as a lawyer for Taser International even in the context of this trial.

It's most likely [speculation alert] that Taser International has offered to help Nugent with his defense (perhaps that whole Taser-Death conclusion has them running scared).

--

Here's a report [LINK] from April 2009 when Mr. Glas was teamed up with a flock of Taser International seagulls that flew into Cade, Louisiana to explain, apparently with straight faces, just how perfectly safe tasers really are.

The seagulls included:

Dr. Jeffrey Ho, a well-known apologist for Taser International, whose "expert" testimony at the Braidwood Inquiry was rejected as being "an insult to the intelligence" (that's bad).

Dr. James Cairns, reportedly an uncritical fan of tasers and apparently a good 'friend' of Taser International, former deputy chief coroner for the province of Ontario, Canada. As mentioned here [LINK], he admitted to accepting 'travel expenses' from Taser International to assist them in promoting 'excited delirium' for their own purposes. Cairns also admitted that he shielded another disgraced coroner named Charles Smith who was utterly incompetent and whose "expert" testimony over the years has destroyed the lives of innocents.

What a bunch...

And their bought-and-paid-for assurances that tasers-R-safe sure look foolish now that even Taser International has been caught finally wiggling [LINK] over the line and admitting that tasers actually ARE capable of affecting the heart, and that this warning is associated with a risk of death. [LINK]

Scott Nugent tasered Mr. Pikes repeatedly and delivered one taser hit directly into Mr. Pikes' chest. Mr. Pikes never moved again.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Update to: "The RCMP are revolting" (27 July 2010)

From 27 July 2010:
CBC National News - According to a report on CBC, top RCMP brass are in open revolt against RCMP Commissioner William Elliott. [LINK]

And now - 18 October 2010:
Top RCMP officers forced out or quitting - There is a shakeup at the top of the RCMP as senior officers who complained about Commissioner William Elliott's style last summer are quitting or being forced out, CBC News has learned. ... [LINK]

Defendant argues that taser is not 'deadly weapon' - rejected

State vs. Mock [LINK]

Chicago Police define tasers as "dangerous weapons"

Chicago police arrested some brain-donors for allegedly using a Taser to rob a woman in the Edgewater neighborhood on the North Side early Tuesday. Tony Windmon, 20, and Linda Warner, 18, are charged with one count each of armed robbery with a dangerous weapon, police said. ... [LINK]

This post may have been edited for sarcastic effect

...the Western Australia government prepares to introduce new laws giving citizens powers to stop and frisk police for tasers without having to prove grounds of suspicion in court.
Ah, that's not quite accurate. Try again.
...the Western Australia government prepares to introduce new laws giving police powers to stop and frisk people for weapons without having to prove grounds of suspicion in court.
The laws would apply to known trouble spots such as the East Perth lock-up.
Ah sh_t. This post has gone off the rails again...

--

Okay, more seriously. From [LINK]:
Law Society of WA president Hylton Quail said the misuse of Tasers by police raised serious concerns about police abuse of the proposed stop and search laws. "Incidents involving the inappropriate, reckless and possibly unlawful use of Tasers by police officers show that WA Police should not be given additional powers which will also be open to abuse. No matter what checks and balances are put in place, the fact is that these powers are excessive and a gross infringement of the civil liberties of all of us," Mr Quail said in a statement.
WA Premier Colin Barnett concedes the new laws will compromise civil liberties...

It's not just misuse of tasers.

It's the overuse, misuse and abuse of tasers.

And in that order, from most-frequent to most-evil.

Jury finally seated for Taser-Death trial of former Winnfield Police Officer Scott Nugent

New Orleans, LA - A jury has finally been seated in the manslaughter trial of former Winnfield Police Officer Scott Nugent, who is accused in the Taser death of a man he arrested. It took eight days before the panel was seated... ...the judge refused to move the trial. District Judge John Joyce also clamped a gag order on everyone... [LINK]

The defense team plan to call officials from Taser International who will testify as to how the deceased isn't actually dead (not really...).

Mind the gap...

What gap?

The gap between what certified members of The Church of Taser seem to believe is normal and accepted practice for Taser Use, and what most members of civil society believe would be the lowest possible justification for use of a weapon that carries unpredictable risk-of-DEATH and obvious electro-torture implications.

What am I going on about?

In Canada it was the Dziekanski video. That video clearly demonstrated that what those police thought was an ideal application for a taser, was considered repulsive and evil by the majority of those that viewed it.

In Australia, the public reaction to the video of Kevin Spratt being taser-tortured and the WA Police Union actually defending the act of torture defines a gap between civilized humanity and those that are either evil or brainwashed.

What's the outcome of such a gap?

The adults have to explicitly step in and define rational (moral, ethical, legal, non-torture) policy.

...

Tasers become a 'last resort'
[LINK]
The NSW government has bowed to pressure from the state Ombudsman to make Tasers a weapon of last resort. The move follows a series of controversial uses of the stun guns. ...

The changes in Taser operating procedures within the NSW police come amid a national debate about the use of the weapon by police forces, brought to the fore by an incident in Western Australia in which police tasered an unthreatening man 13 times.

Mr Barbour said standard operating procedures for Tasers were left too open to interpretation and the discretion of individual officers. In the annual report he called for them to be upgraded, to make clear that stun guns should only be used in situations where a person is violently confronting or resisting police.

Mr Barbour made the same recommendations in his 2008 report to parliament, The Use of Tasers in the NSW Police Force, but police so far "refused to do this".

But six hours after the annual report was released yesterday, Police Minister Michael Daley and Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione issued a joint statement saying the procedures would be tightened.

"This amendment will simply leave no doubt in (officers') minds that Tasers are to be used as a last resort and that they are no substitution for using negotiation and conflict-resolution skills," Mr Daley said.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Taser International chief Tom Smith-4-brains almost admits the obvious

Overuse, misuse and abuse of tasers are major problems. Taser International has not exactly been forthcoming with any public criticism of theses.

In respect of the 'new' and embarrassingly so-last-week National Taser Use guidelines...

"...while also minimizing the potential for inappropriate use," said Smith.

That's such a baby step, but it is a baby step. I mean his even mentioning the concept of "inappropriate use". First time ever?

But I don't agree that the ministers actually managed to "minimize" the misuse. Not even close.

Western Australia Police Union chooses a path lower than cowardice

Police union backs officers over taser scandal

The WA Police union says ["Do you want to go again?"] it will defend the actions of officers who tasered a man on several occasions while he was in custody. In one of three incidents, Kevin Spratt was tasered 13 times at the East Perth Watch House in 2008. On another occasion he was tasered 11 times by officers from the Department of Corrective Services. [LINK]

No shame.

An organization with even a tiny shred of common decency would issue a general statement condemning this sort of obvious ABUSE and ELECTRO-TORTURE of prisoners.

Because these acts of electro-torture and prisoner abuse are clearly utterly indefensible.

Oh, they could absolutely phrase their statement in very general terms if they wish to avoid making specific statements about their members.

Or, if they're cowards they could choose to hide under their conference table and remain silent.

But no... They've chosen the road even lower than cowardice; they've chosen to take a stand in support of electro-torture and prisoner abuse.

Hey! Don't get mad at me. It's this police union that is the Ethical Disaster Zone.

These officers should be facing criminal charges and it's the place of their criminal defense lawyer to craft a good story to try to explain away the video evidence of prisoner abuse. In that case, I'd mock and laugh, but everyone is entitled to a robust defense. But a police union is playing a very dangerous game if they're seen to defend obvious crimes by police. Civil society should be extremely wary about allowing such organizations to even exist. There oughta be a law...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Former Tybee Island plods plead 'not guilty' (of being clever)

18-year-old Clifford Grevemberg was tasered because he is autistic. The police laid all the usual 'cover charges' against Grevemberg; all those charges were dismissed immediately upon application of some much-needed adult supervision to these local-yokle police. Then all the other lies started to unravel. Everyone's been fired. Yee haw.

See [LINK].

Brilliant.

--

A long time ago I noticed that police trainees were being tasered in the back during their induction into The Church of Taser. I speculated that if the taser training darts happen to land with one on the buttocks and one in the neck, then the high voltage might short-out their spinal column resulting in an armed and dangerous law enforcement officer that thinks with his arse.

Looking at incidents such as this one, tell me I'm wrong...

Family of Michael Patrick Jacobs Jr., who was tasered to death, sues Taser International

Family of Man in Taser Death Suing Manufacturer
Manufacturer maintains its device is safe

The family of a man who died after police used a Taser to subdue him is suing the device's manufacturer and distributor for negligence. An officer shocked Michael Patrick Jacobs Jr., 24, for 49 seconds and then again for 5 seconds in April 2009 in front of his parents' home during a disturbance call. His death was ruled a homicide. [LINK]

The crux of this case is that Taser International is not likely to have any reliable and trustworthy evidence that demonstrates that tasers are safe when applied for extended durations. In spite of this, the 'Brain Trust' that runs Taser International designed the tasers with hubris-triggers that permit, and even encourage, taser deployments of unlimited duration.

The plaintiffs lawyers are likely to slap the defense witlesses about the head with a copy of "Dr." Mark W. Kroll's (the 'W' apparently stands for "We are not medical experts" [LINK]) infamous 'Ping Pong' paper [must read!!] where he boldly predicted that 'if one taser hit don't kill ya, then a thousand taser hits ain't gonna kill ya neither.'

This so-called paper was PROMINENTLY DISPLAYED on Taser International's webpage for I-have-no-idea how many years under the heading "CARDIAC SAFETY". And then it was QUIETLY pulled. Keyword QUIETLY. That quiet slinking away is itself key evidence. The false paper was not formally withdrawn, it was simply deleted.

Another detail worth noting is that Taser International has reportedly finally agreed to a PERF request to modify the design of the taser so that endless Moth+Light deployments are not encouraged by the flawed design of the weapon's infinite duration taser-to-death trigger.

Taser International spokespuppet Steven Tuttle, in a liability-enhancing denial, actually said that the company ... stands by independent, peer-reviewed medical studies that show the device to be generally safe and effective.

They have no studies that reliably prove that extended duration taser deployments are "safe". In fact, they have had plenty of evidence to the contrary.

Everyone noticed that extended taser deployments were correlated with death - NIJ. Prof. Savard. Common sense. Everyone.

The ugly truth about tasers in Western Australia

First, it's nothing against Western Australia in particular. Many jurisdictions around the world have been fooled by the deceptive stun gun salesmen. This level of utter false promises and deception is common.

Tasers were introduced in Western Australia in 2007 to "prevent injury". Now they account for 65 per cent of reported 'uses of force'. The use of pepper spray, another option, decreased significantly, while the use of firearms has doubled. And Tasers are being used not to prevent injury, as intended, but to enforce compliance with police orders, especially against Aboriginals and the mentally ill. [LINK]

So tasers were introduced with all the flowers-and-butterflies promises of "reducing injury".

Then, exactly as happened in the USA, police use of firearms was INCREASED when tasers were introduced. This is a big fat clue that tasers are more often than not an escalation in violence over what would otherwise have been used.

--

I realize that some people are more sensitive than others, but even the most rabid pro-taser fan boy must stop and take a deep breath and admit to himself that tasers are being overused and misused and abused.

And these acts are often pure EVIL.

'That Happened' reports stunning decision

In a “stunning” decision this week, a federal appeals court in California limits stun gun, or Taser, usage by police officers. Voting unanimously, the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Taser usage could be considered “excessive force,” and should be used by police only when a suspect poses an immediate threat to the officer or to others.

In making this ruling, the court opened the door for Carl Bryan—the victim of such Taser usage—to proceed with his civil suit against the officer and the city. During a traffic stop in Coronado, California, Bryan was cited for failure to wear a seatbelt. After a brief verbal exchange, Office Brian McPherson used the Taser against him—an action that threw Bryan to the pavement and dislodge four of his teeth. The justices considered this 2005 traffic stop to be an example of the “excessive use of force’ of a Taser because Office McPherson did not appear to be in immediate danger from Bryan.

[LINK]

I am not able to confirm this report.

If it's true, sucks to be Taser International.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"Taser International has long insisted the weapon cannot kill."

Globe and Mail [LINK]

"Taser International has long insisted the weapon cannot kill."

Yes, that's The Great Lie.

So far, Taser International has not had to face any significant legal consequences for their deception.

They're owed.

Big time.

Taser International boldly claims "94.5%" field effectiveness rate

Steve Tuttle, spokespuppet for Taser International, said, "Tasers have unmatched effectiveness with a 94.5 percent field success rate." [LINK]

Sorry Steve, I'm gonna call 'Bull Sh_t!' on that claim. Either you've twisted the meaning of words into meaninglessness, or you've fudged the numbers to achieve a number that looks attractively high.

The problem with making this sort of claim is that, if it is misleading (something that appears highly likely), then you're actually endangering police officers. You're putting out misleading info that will lead them to bad decisions and defective policy.

For decision-making purposes, when the subject is armed with a knife, mixing the obviously more reliable Touch Torture mode into the piss-poor reliability of the hope-and-pray Dual Dart deployment mode is an obvious bald-face attempt to cover up the more-critical failure rate.

And if you've also mixed-in the display-only threatened uses to further bulk-up the number, then that would be utterly evil. Comments?

Here's my counter-claim:

In the Dual Dart deployment mode, there is simply no way on God's Green Earth that the field success rate ever even approaches 95%. No fricken way. Not a chance.

Previous reports have noted figures for the rate of ineffective deployments at 10% to as high as 30%. See this previous post [LINK] for a list helpfully provided by 'Fortress Tactical' of some of the many failure modes.

I'll leave it for police officers to look at Steve's claim and decide for themselves if he's really a true friend of law enforcement.

"Tasers too costly, untested..."

Police officials say they are too costly and controversial, and many question whether they will open departments up to law suits.

The story at [LINK] mentions an incident where a 16-year old reportedly charged police with a large knife, and was stopped with a gun shot. The gun worked reliably, the kid was stopped. As a bonus the kid survived and is in fair condition. Zero moral issues with the police response in this case.

...an incident last year when a New York City officer was stabbed in the eye by a man who was shocked with a Taser but kept coming at police.

Unacceptable.

Taser International spokespuppet Steve Tuttle claims an extraordinarily high "field success rate". Almost higher than even police guns would be expected to achieve. And thus my BS detector has been triggered. I suspect that they will have defined their terms and twisted the facts to provide a misleading value. More to follow on this propaganda if I can track down more details.

Once in 24 years...? Okay, think!

Ref. immediately-previous post on Jeffrey Marreel inquest. [LINK]

Doctor sees cocaine overdose on a "daily basis", but also admits to having seen what she describes as 'excited delirium' only "ONCE IN 24 YEARS".

DUH!!!

Fugetaboutit!

Depending on their assigned beat, MOST police are not going to witness cocaine overdose on a daily basis. Some certainly might, but there will be many more doing paperwork or writing traffic tickets that will bring the average way, way down.

So the average police officer (in comparison to the good doctor) would be expected to see a case of 'excited delirium' once every, what?, 120, 240 or perhaps 480 YEARS ?!?!?!!

The average police officer is as likely to see a unicorn given that sort of multiple-century timeframe. It'd be a pony with a horn glued-on by drunk students, but given hundreds of officer-years, someone is going to see what looks like a unicorn.

Given this relative occurence data, from a self-proclaimed expert in the field of 'excited delirium', the following lesson plan is presented for your consideration:

'Excited Delirium' for police - what you need to know
1) 'Excited delirium' may not even exist.
2) Even if it does exist, it's so incredibly rare that you're not likely to ever see it during your entire career in law enforcement.
3) If you even think about it, then it'll just confuse you when you should be responding to the underlying drug overdose as a medical emergency.
4) So fugetaboutit! As a concept, it brings extreme negative value. It's dangerous. It's useless. It's unhelpful.
5) Just treat the insane subject on the assumption that they've overdosed on drugs, likely cocaine.

Here endeth the lesson.

PS. 'Excited Delirium' is however a very handy excuse in case you've accidentally tasered someone to death.

Jeffrey Marreel inquest buys "excited delirium"

More police training needed about ‘excited delirium’ [LINK]

I'll absolutely accept cocaine overdose if that's what the evidence supports (including an honest time-line), but adding 'excited delirium' to the explanation is "unhelpful" (quoting Braidwood), and is extremely dangerous in the larger picture.

The problem is that if the police are presented with a subject that is acting insane, and they've been appropriately trained about drug overdose symptoms, then perhaps they'll treat it as the medical emergency that it is and not toss the subject into a cell.

But if they're confused by unenlightening talk about 'excited delirium', then suddenly they don't know what to do. Subject gets tossed into a cell and dies.

See previous post [LINK].

--

Dr. Margaret Thompson, an emergency medicine physician with expertise in cocaine poisoning and excited delirium, told the inquest there was enough cocaine and its metabolites in Marreel’s system to kill him. ... During her 24 years as an emergency room doctor, said Thompson, she has diagnosed cocaine toxicity on an almost daily basis, but has seen excited delirium only once.

She's an expert in 'excited delirium'. She deals with cocaine toxicity on an almost daily basis.

But has only ever seen one case of 'excited delirium' in 24 years.

Wow.

Talk about "unhelpful", geesh.

Free advice: if you see (or think you see) something bizarre just once in 24 years, file it away in the back of your mind along side that UFO you might have seen. Seriously.

Robert G. Schneider, MD on tasers

From March 2010. Interesting.

Tasers, police, and cardiac arrest: Human failure or technology gone wrong? [LINK]

Desperately seeking a jury of his peers

[CORRECTED: Request is from DA, not Nugent.]

Former Winnfield policeman Scott Nugent is accused of tasering-to-death Barron 'Scooter' Pikes in 2008. The DA has asked to have his trial moved to a new venue. [LINK]

Nugent's lawyers have also requested that a video NOT be shown during the trial.

You know... "PROTECTING TRUTH", and all that.

BREAKING NON-NEWS: Canadian Justice ministers issue national guidelines on Tasers

Yawn... Oh sorry. And in other news, the Justice Ministers are also contemplating taking a stand against cannibalism and ritual sacrifice of virgins.

[Sarcasm off]

Here's what they ACTUALLY agreed to; prepare yourself...

The new guidelines say "where possible" Taser use should be "avoided" on the pregnant, frail and elderly, as well as on children. [LINK]

Score 1 point in the 'No sh_t Einstein' department.

The guidelines add Tasers generally shouldn't be used on people who are already restrained, or who are driving a vehicle, bicycle or snowmobile.

Make that 2 points in the 'No sh_t Einstein' department.

Police officers are also urged to avoid zapping sensitive areas of the body such as the head, throat and genitals.

Chest? Trans-cardiac vectors? Danger of DEATH? Hello? Anybody home?

The new guidelines say police should avoid giving people successive jolts with a conducted energy weapon — the generic term — or zapping them for too long unless a single deployment fails to allow police to gain physical control of the person.

Here is the exact sound-track of a typical taser deployment:

[10:] "CLACK-CLACK Place CLACK-CLACK your CLACK-CLACK hands CLACK-CLACK behind CLACK-CLACK your CLACK-CLACK back." [GOTO 10]

And this evil insanity repeats endlessly, because the officer is so poorly trained that he forgets that a subject being tasered half-to-death isn't going to hand-cuff himself, or 'cooperate' while being tasered. This endless loop Moth+Light taser deployment model is documented in video after video. It's why so many taser deployments go on and on and on and on and on... 31 seconds in the case of Robert Dziekanski. It's pure stupidity by those involved and pure evil by those that allow it.

And it's not going to be stopped by a wishy-washy statement that fails to explain the issue clearly and includes the get-out-of-jail words "should" (instead of "shall"), and "unless". This guideline accomplishes nothing.

As well, police forces should establish a training policy and minimum training requirements for officers authorized to use a Taser, as well as for those who train others.

Get the Taser International connected people away from the training. All trainers must agree with Braidwood, that tasers can occasionally kill, almost randomly, even healthy adults. They must be monitored. Much of the existing training packages is clearly defective, judging by the results.

These so-called new guidelines are the very least they could have done. Major FAIL.

Friday, October 15, 2010

NSW cops need *LESS* Taser training

I've made the following statement on numerous occasions and I'll repeat again here.

I don't care if the police are equipped with fricken Flamethrowers. But if the manufacturer of the flamethrowers claims that they are "perfectly safe", and also claims that any crispy-fried humans must be due to purely-coincidental 'Spontaneous Human Combustion', then that's where I would get mightily pissed off.

I trust that the parallels are perfectly clear.

It's the honesty and accuracy of the information that surrounds the weapon that's critically important. Bad information from deceptive salesmen can skew the moral equation into the realm of pure evil.

Judging by results (ahem...), the Taser Training is clearly defective.

...

The Aussie Libs are suggesting that additional "Taser Training" is required. [LINK]

Poor word choice.

Australia (and almost everywhere...) needs much LESS so-called training that is in any way traceable back to the deceptive stun gun salesmen. Those fork-tongued b_stards are the crux of the problem. The false claims of taser safety have led directly to the overuse, misuse and abuse of tasers.

You need LESS Taser training and more 'Use Of Force' Training (ref. City of Ottawa, Canada).

You need LESS Taser training and more Verbal De-escalation training.

Etc.

Aussie Green MP stumbles across the truth

Greens MP John Kaye says the high number of times [where the taser-cam was obscured] is evidence of systematic abuse. ... Mr Kaye says that, in at least some of the cases, it must have been deliberate. "If they were all accidental then there's something badly wrong with the design of the tasers." [LINK]

Stumbles across the basic truth, pick himself up and carries on.

Is this garbage info from the local Taser "expert"?

More than a few times I've seen local reporters quoting "technical information" from the local-yokel Taser trained and certified "expert". Often times the information is so mixed up and technically inaccurate that it makes my head spin.

Here's the latest example from KULR-8 reporter Sarah Gravlee.

A Thursday press conference revealed more information about the weapons used to administer [sic] the four shocks. The Billings police use both M-26 and X-26 TASERS. Both have a starting voltage of 50,000, but they can be modified to deliver a smaller shock called a "drive stun." When modified, the M-26 delivers 5,000 volts and the X-26 administers 1,200 volts. Bain received two drive stuns from both types of weapons for a total of 12,400 volts. TASER instructor Sergeant Hafner said it's a safer stun. [LINK]

"...for a total of 12,400 volts..."

Sigh...

It's not clear if the cub reporter decided on her own to sum-up the quoted voltages (which are another falsehood by the way, but also irrelevant), or if the local taser "expert" was responsible for this moment of technical insanity.

Some of the other statements attributed directly to Sgt Hafner are equally fantastical, so my suspicions fall on him.

Obscured taser-cam figures reveal widespread taser overuse in NSW

In reference to NSW, Australia:
The 146 instances where cameras were obscured in the 18 months to September this year represented 13 per cent of all taser incidents during that period... [LINK] [via TNT]

Anyone else notice?

146 incidents of obscured taser-cams is 13% of all taser incidents? Do the math, ONE THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-THREE taser incidents in 18 months. The police are using tasers 750 times per year, in New South Wales alone !?!!!

So, just how numerically-illiterate would you have be to claim that "Taser deployments replace police gun fire, and therefore save lives" ?

Anyone that makes such an utterly false claim is either deeply ignorant of the basic facts, or is a bald-face liar.

People in positions of leadership have no excuse to be ill-informed.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Jerry Staton explains "excited delirium"

"As a Senior Master TASER® Instructor..." [LINK]

Mr. Staton links to IPICD and an "excited delirium" website, but fails to disclose that those links are directly connected to Taser International.

He mentions the old crock of sh_t that "excited delirium" has been killing people for 150 years, but fails to disclose that the historical victims died a slow death over weeks due to lack of appetite. Hardly the same thing as tasered_and_died.

Perhaps he can explain the taser's 'Curious Temporal Asymmetry'?

--

Why is nearly everyone that is pushing "excited delirium" either directly connected to Taser International, or still keeping the connections under wraps.

Remember when IPICD pretended to be fully independent of Taser International? Then it was noted that principal Micheal Brave was also Taser International's own lawyer. And then it was revealed that Taser International provided seed money to IPICD.

This blogger uncovered Internet connections from Mr. Brave to UoM's Dr. Mash. Brave had accidentally or over-ethusiastically redirected one of his domain names to land directly on the UoM website.

Fortress Tactical helpfully explains why tasers can be ineffective

Fortress Tactical wrote:
There are several reasons for ineffective TASER deployments. The most common reason is lack of a circuit, which is required for a TASER to do its job. This is not TASER failure, but simply the product of any given scenario. If you miss with one or both probes - no circuit. If a wire breaks during a fall or struggle - no circuit. If a probe is pulled loose during a fall or struggle - no circuit. If your target is wearing loose clothes - no circuit. If your target is wearing thick clothes - no circuit. If your target is overweight - insufficient muscle groups are affected. If you're too close to your target - insufficient probe spread. If your battery is dead - no power. If you used improper batteries - insufficient power (older models). [LINK]

Mr. 'Tactical' was attempting to explain how tasers are a viable self-protection option, and then proceeded to score an own-goal by helpfully listing just a few of the many reasons why tasers are not a reliable option.

Western Australia coughs to five additional taser torture incidents

... Attorney-General Christian Porter told Parliament yesterday that Corrective Services officers used their Tasers on six occasions in the last five years. In half of those events, Tasers were deployed more than 10 times. In the other cases, they were used a maximum of three times. One of those incidents involved Kevin Spratt, the man who was tasered by police 13 times in August 2008. ... [LINK]

Is this a complete list?

Well, one quick observation is that Kevin Spratt was taser-tortured TWICE within a week.

So the statement that "One of those incidents involved Kevin Spratt..." is clearly incorrect.

Hmmm...

OPP testimony reveals that "excited delirium" concept is both meaningless and dangerous

OPP Sgt. Liam Brennan, who trains officers in the OPP's western region... ...stated that Skelding did an "excellent job" and he would have "done the same thing" at that scene. Dr. Jack Stanborough, western regional supervising coroner who is hearing the inquest, was taken aback by this statement. "I'm a little surprised as an instructor that you would have handled the situation the same way," he said. Many of Marreel's behaviours — paranoia, incoherent speech and unexpected strength — are listed as symptoms of excited delirium, he pointed out. "It sounds an awful like what I've heard over the last two days," he said. ... [LINK]

Justice Braidwood described 'excited delirium' as "unhelpful".

It's looking more and more that the entire concept may be far worse than just a neutral "unhelpful".

It's used to justify a response, but ignore the medical risks of whatever is ACTUALLY going on.

Taser International's understatement of the decade

Steve Tuttle, TASER's vice-president of communication. "We are not medical experts..." [DEAD LINK][NEW LINK]

Well Steve. I think I can speak for all humanity:

We're very happy to see that you clots finally figured that out.

--

PS: Would I be able to request an autographed copy of "Dr." Mark W. Kroll's infamous "ping pong" paper that was, for I don't know how many years, prominently published on the Taser International website under the heading "CARDIAC SAFETY"?

I've got a softcopy on file, but it sure would be nice to have an autographed copy on hand (as a warning to future generations).

--

Oh, remind me. Was it "65 lbs" that was the lower weight limit for the medically-safe electro-shock tasering of naughty children? I seem to recall that it was 65 lbs that was judged by Taser International and/or their minions to be the medically-safe lower weight limit. Was it 65 pounds? Can you remind us?

Cranky-pants fails reading comprehension test

Cranky-pants:
Your silly comparison of the taser as equally or even more lethal than the officer's issued weapon is a dog that just won't hunt. [e-mail]

What I wrote was: "...tasers are 'less-than-OR-EQUAL-TO-lethal'. Even Taser International has been forced to admit this long-denied fact." [LINK]

The gap between what I wrote and what he misunderstood is wide. Nobody ever claims that tasers are "equally or even more lethal than" police guns. That would be a stupid claim, and if you suspect that someone made such an outlandish claim then the first thing to do is re-read what they actually wrote to ensure you've not misread it.

Sigh...

The cold hard FACTS are that Taser International are the ones that made the outlandish claims that tasers were fundamentally incapable of ever affecting the heart. This claim was so obviously false that even laymen could see it could not possibly be true.

But those of less sensitive observational capabilities were fooled by the false claims, and some ill-informed fools still haven't even "got the memo" yet.

And now, several years later, Taser International has finally added the "cardiac effects" and the "associated risk of death" to their legal warnings (Training Package, 1 May 2010).

In other words, they've subtly admitted that their previous claims were wrong. Which may explain why they've finally shut-up.

And at about the same time, they caved like a house of cards and settled the Butler case (cardiac arrest CAUSED BY the taser, but he barely survived) for THREE MILLION DOLLARS.

All the Taser Use Policies that were developed (or more likely, copied-and-pasted from Taser International) during the period before 1 May 2010 (the date when they finally admitted the risks for what seems to be the first time), all those policies are based on false claims about the risk of DEATH. Those Taser Use Policies are therefore obsolete and need to be dramatically tightened. It would be sub-human to not address that newly-admitted risk of DEATH.

--

Cranky-pants is still operating under the impression that tasers can save lives. True, but it seems that he doesn't understand how relatively rarely that actually happens. I'm not saying that THE CLAIMS of lives saved are not frequent, but when ding-dongs like the Alberta Solicitor General at the time come out and actually claim that tasers have saved "thousands" of lives in Alberta, then the numerical magnitude of the claim should cause one to stop and think, 'thousands'?

The FACT is that tasers are used about ONE HUNDRED TIMES as often as most police forces historically used lethal force. So to claim that a taser use equals a life saved is about 99% bull sh_t. The precise ratio varies with jurisdiction and varies over time.

If tasers were only ever used to "save lives", then would any rational person have any reason to complain? If only, Oh if only, it were true that tasers were used just for 'good' and rational purposes.

Based on what I've seen, most taser deployments are used to replace LOWER and SAFER (w.r.t. DEATH) forms of "persuasion". They are actually used as electro-torture persuasion. As a tool of convenience. As a time saver (sic).

If a taser fan-boy is not willing to acknowledge that there are problems with tasers and the associated real world usage patterns, then at best they're sadly ill-informed.

In the Canadian province of British Columbia, after a multi-million dollar inquiry, it was determined that tasers were (in short) being overused and misused. Post-Braidwood, it was reported that taser use was reduced by about 90%.

And ya know what?

All good.

I've not seen anything to indicate that police, operating under much tighter Taser Use restrictions, have been forced to engage in a wholesale slaughter of citizens that didn't quite qualify for a good solid electro-torture session.

The stun gun salesmen and their infiltrating fan-boys were wrong.

Very tight taser restrictions are A VERY GOOD THING.