Capt. Greg Meyer (ret.) [LINK], Taser International-sponsored columnist, participates in the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) committee that just adopted some brand-new Taser Use Guidelines [via TNT].
These new guidelines, while still not absolutely perfect, move even further AWAY from the previous generations of dangerously-bad, morally-bankrupt advice from the manufacturer, and directly TOWARDS the position that concerned citizens (such as this blogger) have been recommending for years.
The funny part is how he maintains his composure while moving from his previously-held position to a position much closer to our own. He's able to stand in a bucket of poop on stage for an hour, and not mention the bucket of poop. Good acting skills Greg, bravo!
It would be reasonable to suspect that behind the scenes he may have been vigorously fighting against some of these recommendations. Obviously there's no available evidence of this, just gut instinct.
Extracts (Fair Use righteously claimed):
PERF Taser Use Guidelines - April 2011
10. Agencies should not rely solely on training curriculum provided by an ECW manufacturer. When they do use the curriculum, agencies should ensure the manufacturer’s training does not contradict agency use-of-force policies and [basic human] values. ...[What have we been saying for years? And note the BS-choice of words "an ECW manufacturer"; they are referring specifically to Taser International.]
11. Agencies should be aware that exposure to ECW application during training could result in injury to personnel and is not recommended. ...[Duh!]
13. Personnel should be trained to use an ECW for one standard cycle (five seconds) and then [STOP! and] evaluate the situation... Training protocols should emphasize that multiple applications or continuous cycling of an ECW resulting in an exposure longer than 15 seconds (whether continuous or cumulative) may increase the risk of serious injury or death and should be avoided.[Increase the risk? So the risk exists even with ONE cycle, but is increased with longer durations. Years ago, many had observed that taser deaths seemed to be more-highly associated with longer duration taser hits. Clear cut evidence of the risks, but ignored by many fan-boys...]
16. Agencies’ policy and training should discourage the use of the drive stun mode as a pain compliance technique. ...[Because it's Torture. This is huge news. They've finally come out and strongly hinted that using a taser in pain-compliance mode isn't a good idea. Ask yourself why they would make this recommendation. There's only one answer, and that is that such use is equivalent to using the glowing end of a lit cigarette to force (verb) compliance; i.e. Torture. Hey! Welcome back to humanity.]
17. Personnel should be trained to attempt hands-on control tactics during ECW application, including handcuffing the subject during ECW application (i.e., handcuffing under power). ...[This commonsense advice has been widely ignored since Day 1.]
21. Personnel should use an ECW for one standard cycle (five seconds) and then evaluate the situation to determine if subsequent cycles are necessary. Personnel should consider that exposure to the ECW for longer than 15 seconds (whether due to multiple applications or continuous cycling) may increase the risk of death or serious injury. ...[Note the "increase" the risk of DEATH... You watch the scumballs at Taser International give us the silent treatment...]
25. ECWs should be used only against subjects who are exhibiting active aggression or who are actively resisting in a manner that, in the officer’s judgment, is likely to result in injuries to themselves or others. ECWs should not be used against a passive subject.[This is huge. It's the same as one of Braidwood's best recommendation. This should result in a ~90% reduction in use. That's what happened in some western Canada jurisdictions post-Braidwood.]
26. Fleeing should not be the sole justification for using an ECW against a subject. Personnel should consider the severity of the offense, the subject’s threat level to others, and the risk of serious injury to the subject before deciding to use an ECW on a fleeing subject.[Are the meat-head police-wannabes at BART4brains paying attention?]
27. ECWs should not generally be used against pregnant women, elderly persons, young children, and visibly frail persons. ...[Because it could kill them...]
28. Personnel should not intentionally target sensitive areas (e.g., head, neck, genitalia). ...[Nor the chest. Manufacturer advises against aiming at the chest. And don't taser if they're fleeing (see above #26) - makes the back a difficult-to-explains target. So you're left with what? ...targeting the ankles? They have to specifically mention the genitalia because some hopefully-small minority of locker-room mentality officers find those areas strangely attractive.]
36. All subjects who have been exposed to ECW application should receive a medical evaluation by emergency medical responders in the field or at a medical facility. Subjects who have been exposed to prolonged application (i.e., more than 15 seconds) should be transported to an emergency department for evaluation. Personnel conducting the medical evaluation should be made aware that the suspect has experienced ECW activation, so they can better evaluate the need for further medical treatment.[Why do they need medical attention? We thought you said that these things were "safe"! Were you lying or just plain wrong?]
37. All subjects who have received an ECW application should be monitored regularly while in police custody even if they received medical care. Documentation of the ECW exposure should accompany the subject when transferred to jail personnel or until the subject is released from police custody.[This certainly explains why Taser International and their merry band of bought and paid-for scuzball minions have been strangely silent for about the past year or so.]
46. ECW activations should be tracked...
47. Agencies should periodically conduct random audits of ECW data downloads and reconcile use-of-force reports with recorded activations. Agencies should take necessary action as appropriate when inconsistencies are detected.[We made this common sense observation a long time ago.]
Please note that many of the above recommendations clearly indicate that the old lie that tasers-R-safe has now been officially abandoned. Will someone please send out a general memo to all the idiot taser fanboys that still claim that tasers-R-safe? Puhleze...
And here's the punchline...
Proximity death: The death of a subject following exposure to an ECW.
What? "following"? The word "proximity" means before OR after... Preceding OR following.
So why in the f**king h*ll have you assumed it only means "following"?
Could it be that all these supposedly "coincidental" taser-proximal deaths only ever occur AFTER the taser hit? Even though taser warnings and displays vastly outnumber taser hits. Even though the duration of the taser warning and display can be longer than the time between the ultimate taser hit and the subject's immediate fatal reaction.
Google the taser's "Curious Temporal Asymmetry" [LINK] for complete details of this curious observation that implies that many taser-proximal deaths are actually in a cause-and-effect relationship.
There is no other explanation except that tasers can sometimes kill.