I pity them (not really, they're scum). They've put themselves into a position on the subject of taser safety that, quite literally, cannot be legally defended without causing hilarity in any court.
excited.delirium at 3:31 PM May 6, 2011
It's also worth noting that tasers are used about one-hundred times as often as police have historically and generally-acceptably used their guns. This overuse ratio varies with jurisdiction and varies over time, but 100X is a good round number.
Keep this in mind in case anyone drags out the old argument that "tasers are better than guns".
Such claims, while very attractive, are about 99% beside the point.
Taser most often replace lower and EVEN-LESS-LETHAL forms of force.
excited.delirium at 3:27 PM May 6, 2011
DaveDavid, assuming it's the same David E. Z____n as last time, is a retired USN corrosion expert. He is apparently (based on his interest in stocks, specifically Taser International) heavily invested in Taser International stock. He vigorously defends Taser International in many on-line forums, and then he sends a message to "Official Taser" to join in with a follow up.
As has happened here...
excited.delirium at 3:23 PM May 6, 2011
Amnesty International dug up 150 autopsy reports (not easy) for taser associated deaths and they found that 50 (or about one-third) listed the taser as a cause or contributing factor.
One third. That fraction can only be a low ball value. Taser International has gone to extreme lengths to install "excited delirium" as the place holder cause of death in cases where no other postmorten evidence is found. I personally suspect the honest ratio is much higher; not 100% obviously, but probably well over half.
The list of taser associated deaths now reaches 600+ (most up-to-date list is on Truth Not Tasers). If the one-third ratio is holding firm, then tasers have caused or contributed to at least 200 deaths.
excited.delirium at 3:16 PM May 6, 2011
The government of the Canadian province of British Columbia held a multi-million dollar public inquiry into the taser death of Robert Dziekanski at Vancover airport.
Google the Braidwood Inquiry.
The arguments of Taser International's bought-and-paid-for experts was rejected as being an "insult to the intelligence." Justice Braidwood concluded that the most significant event in the last minutes of Mr. Dziekanski's life was the repeated and long duration tasering. That was the "most prominent" cause of death.
excited.delirium at 3:13 PM May 6, 2011
Taser International settled with Steve Butler for $3 million. Mr. Butler's heart was stopped by the application of a taser. His life was saved, but the after-effects included permanent brain damage. Taser International tried to keep this settlement secret, but the court would have none of it.
excited.delirium at 3:11 PM May 6, 2011
The condition sometimes called "Excited Delirium" has a long history. It was originally called Bell's mania, where mental patients stopped eating and slowly died over a period of many weeks. This condition had no obvious root cause and left no postmorten clues. So it was adopted by Taser International as a handy-dandy excuse for taser associated deaths since tasers also leave few postmortem clues. They even promoted excited delirium via their funded front - the IPICD. Plenty of funny-business going on between Taser International and IPICD.
As far as testing goes... Those studies have never proven that tasers are completely safe. The studies have been misleadingly characterized as such, but they do not prove that tasers cannot kill. One so-called study demonstrated that tasers are safe, but accidentally also indicated that they don't work at all. There's plenty of dirt in this area as well.
excited.delirium at 3:11 PM May 6, 2011
With respect to taser use and its causal relationship to those that die after its use, what is striking is how nobody has ever died at the sound of the "Taser! Taser! Taser!" warning. Individuals that die in incidents involving tasers die vastly more often after being tasered, than in the often long-winded shouting match that precedes many taser deployments. It's a 'Curious Temporal Asymmetry' (Googe the phrase) that clearly indicates a cause-and-effect relationship between actual contact with the taser and the fatal reaction that occassionally follows.
excited.delirium at 3:10 PM May 6, 2011
One year ago, Taser International modified their "official" position on taser safety. Up until that point they had repeatedly claimed that tasers could never affect the heart, and could never cause or contribute to any death. But on 1 May 2010, Taser International released a new training package that contained newly-updated legal warnings that finally acknowledge what so many people have already concluded: tasers can affect the heart, especially if the darts land on the chest; tasers can cause effects that may endfanger life; use of tasers carries risks including risk of death.
For more information, hit the websites Truth ... Not Tasers and Excited-Delirium.com (with the dash).
OfficialTASER at 3:44 PM May 5, 2011
What "experts" said police should be held responsible besides one plaintiff's attorney? I only saw that medical examiners cleared the TASER ECD for causality.
Check your accuracy regarding Amnesty. They do not state 300 deaths as a "result" of TASER ECDs. In fact their report clearly states, “Amnesty International does not suggest that TASERs necessarily caused or contributed to each of these deaths.”
I also enjoyed the statement that "excited delirium is not recognized by top medical authorities. I wonder if the reporter would like to present that statement to the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) who formally recognize excited delirium as a unique syndrome or the National Association of Medical Examiners. You might want to also check the status of what the ACEP Physicians Task Force that Excited Delirium Syndrome recently stated. Hint: “Syndrome is a real syndrome with uncertain, likely multiple, etiologies.” I guess those aren't top medical authorities? Not exactly.
Have we spent money on sponsoring testing? I would hope people would hope so. But here’s a nugget that often gets missed about TASER studies: TASER ECD are the most studied less-lethal option on an officer's belt today with more than 70% of these studies INDEPENDENT of TASER. People don't like seeing that statistic for some reason, yet it is a fact.
I agree with DaveDavid.
DaveDavid at 11:02 PM May 4, 2011
I have never read a story so full of outright fiction and incomplete facts. Easy to tell that the "personal injury trial lawyers" representing the drugies that died are the ones willing to fill this reporters head with crud. Nine died and yet the Medical Examiner has never blamed a Taser. It is clear that this reporter will not let facts get in the way of a good story, a real fairy tale.
Zuskin, you're an arse.