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.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Beware of so-called "Expert Witnesses"

Some of them may be sleaze-ball lying sociopaths.

Others may simply be incorrect in their confident assertions.

This example is closer to the former than the latter:

CBC News - The egregious actions and abysmal failures of Dr. Charles Smith have disgraced the entire medical profession, Ontario's doctors' college said Friday in a severe reprimand to the discredited pathologist. Smith, who was not at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario to be chastized in person, was stripped of his medical licence last month.

Years after it became clear his mistakes led to several people being wrongly convicted of killing children, the college came down hard on Smith in its chance to express its "abhorrence" of the doctor's conduct.

"Your transgressions were egregious in nature, repulsive in result, and caused irreparable harm to many innocent victims," panel chairman Marc Gabel said to the empty chair reserved for Smith. "You had a duty to the public, to the administration of justice and to your profession. Your failure in all of these respects is abominable to this panel, to your fellow physicians and, as importantly, to the public." ... [LINK]

This warning about "expert witnesses" absolutely applies to the subject of tasers.

Winnipeg Police taser 60+ a year and make BS claim that it "saves lives"...

Local police used their Tasers some 61 times last year, according to a record obtained by the Free Press. ... Police say stun guns help officers save lives... [LINK]

See a number? Do the math.

Winnipeg, with a population of under 700,000, comprises about 2% of the population of Canada.

One would expect that police there would use lethal force perhaps only once per several years. If they're killing citizens more than once per year, then it would be cause for alarm. I can only assume that somebody in Ottawa tracks the police killings across Canada and watches for evidence of trigger-happy departments.

As usual, the Winnipeg police are using their tasers approximately one hundred times as often as we would expect them to be using lethal force. This ~100X ratio is very common and reveals the truth about taser use.

The claim that tasers "save lives" is approximately 99% bullsh_t. It is basically a bald face lie and would only be believed by those that do not mentally filter out BS propaganda.

When police overuse tasers at this rate, then the risk of death CAUSED BY THE TASERS builds up to dangerous levels.

E.g.
#23 (Canada list) - Michael Langan, 17, Winnipeg, MB - July 22, 2008 - tasered 1 time - the autopsy report says Langan's death was caused by a heart arrhythmia brought on by the Taser shocks. [LINK]

Perhaps in some imaginary land, tasers there are a "less (often) lethal" alternative to gun fire. Back here on Planet Earth, tasers almost always replace LOWER forms of persuasion and thus INCREASE the risk of death on those that would not otherwise deserve it.

Not to mention that use of electric shock to "force" (verb, as opposed to lawful) someone to obey meets the legal definition of torture. It's exactly the same as using the glowing end of a lit cigarette, but with higher risk of death than that form of torture.

Lawrence, KS - taser use quadrupled, half of that increase ill-advised

It's a good news / bad news taser report from Lawrence, Kansas.

...In 2010, Lawrence police officers used their Tasers on suspects eight times. That’s up from two times in 2009. The department found all eight incidents to be justified and within the department’s policy, but Chief Tarik Khatib said three of the instances perhaps could have been avoided by using a different philosophy. Khatib ordered additional Taser training (*) for all police officers to review the department’s philosophy that Tasers are best used to prevent a physical attack on an officer or other person rather than simply as a tool to apprehend someone who is resisting arrest. “We found all of them to be legal and within our policy, but we thought perhaps other methods could have been used in three of these cases,” Khatib said. ... [LINK]

(*) Duh!!  It's called Use of Force (lawful force) training. They don't need more "Taser training"; they probably need less of any so-called training that can be in any way traced back to the scuz-ball company that would love to sell you more and more taser cartridges each year (and to hell with the resultant civil rights violations).

The police in Lawrence are obviously not using tasers as replacements for guns. Keep that in mind in case anyone drags out that old lie to justify tasers. They wouldn't be shooting their guns, let along killing citizens, eight times per year in a town of 88,000. Not even 1% of that rate. Which proves the old point that tasers are unfortunately used about one-hundred times as often as police would ever have used their guns. Which in turn proves that they haven't understood the information from Taser International dated 1 May 2010 about how potentially deadly tasers can randomly be.

Taser (over)use in Lawrence has quadrupled in a year (two to eight). And half of the increase (6) was unnecessary. By their standards. Under their belief system. The good news is that Chief Khatib sees the problem (even if he simultaneously denies that there's an actual problem), and is implementing corrective action.

They had better tighten it up or else they'll be heading down the same road as so many other jurisdictions where loose policy results in a clear excess of evil.

"Taser was ineffective", man shot dead

Taser International claims that tasers are "...safe and effective..."

Deputy Michael Medina, an eight-year HCSO veteran, deployed his Taser at the suspect [Charles Roy, 37] to try and subdue him, but the Taser was ineffective. At some point during the struggle, the suspect managed to take the Taser from the deputy. Deputy Medina, fearing for his safety, discharged his weapon striking the suspect once. ["shot and killed"]... [LINK]

So much for reliable effectiveness. Tasers are CLEARLY not always effective. This has been proven time and time again.

So what about safety? And by this I mean not only direct cardiac safety, but also the indirect safety of those that naively depend upon their weapons for protection.

This failure of a taser to be effective put the officer's life in danger and directly led to the sequence of events that ended with death of the suspect.

FAIL.

DeKalb County facing lawsuit of taser-associated death of Audrecas Davis, 29

Davis was suffering from a seizure and was at worst resisting medical treatment, the suit says. Police were called when paramedics had difficulty with Davis when he was suffering from a medical emergency. "The officers used the (Taser) to intimidate and coerce Mr. Davis into submission and compliance with their requests so they could restrain him with the use of of handcuffs," the Davis lawsuit said. "He was helpless. It was not a serious incident relative to public safety or to the safety of others. Mr. Davis had committed no crime." The autopsy determined he died from cardiorespiratory arrest, and he also had caffeine and nicotine in his system. He also suffered from hypertension and sickle-cell disease, according to the medical examiner. ... [LINK]

When this case goes to court, I hope that the plaintiffs' lawyer has read this [LINK]. Knowing what Taser International has already admitted about taser "safety" can save a great deal of time...

The unfailing weirdness of taser-weilding homo-erotic police idiots

A Nogales Police officer who claims his former sergeant used a taser on his genitals last February has filed a federal lawsuit against the police department and former sergeant. Sgt. Sergio Bon “aggressively” pushed a clipboard holding citations at Officer Pedro Molera when Molera placed the clipboard on Bon’s desk on Feb. 8, 2010, according to the lawsuit. Bon then unholstered his taser, removed the front cartridge and pointed it at Molera, the lawsuit states. When Molera responded “Are you going to use it? Go ahead,” Bon placed it on Molera’s penis over his clothes and squeezed the trigger for a “couple of seconds,” the lawsuit states. ... [LINK]

Honestly, I'm as open-minded as open-minded can be. But it should be between consenting adults and preferably being closed doors.

Perhaps tasers should be hot pink, instead of black or yellow.

Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

New (old?) avenue of apparent legal liability for Taser International

Within a month or so of starting this blog, way back in late-2007, I had already asked the duh!-obvious question, "Why not include a simple timer chip?" [LINK]


See also: Death by Electrocutioner (May 3, 2005) [LINK]

In a worst-case scenario for stun guns, a Phoenix cop kills a suspect with an 84-second tasing
...For reasons that go to the heart of this story, Phoenix police officer Charles Anderson III fired his Taser stun gun into Keith Graff's bare chest from close range and held the trigger for 84 uninterrupted seconds as it discharged 50,000 volts of electricity into the man. That's about 79 seconds longer than it normally takes police to subdue someone shocked by the device. For all intents and purposes, Graff [age 24] was dead when Anderson finally released the trigger. ...

This obvious design defect (not limiting the duration of taser hits) should bring huge liability upon Taser International.

Even if it wasn't obvious in 2003, it absolutely was perfectly duh!-obvious by 2005.

Antonio Galeano most-likely tasered 28 times

Trigger memory can be faulty

A type of amnesia can cause police to forget how many times they fire their weapons, a death in custody inquest has been told by a US Taser expert. Richard Wyant on Wednesday gave evidence at an inquest into the death of Antonio Galeano after he was tasered multiple times by police.

Senior Constable Craig Myles has admitted tasering Galeano eight times. But the Taser gun he used recorded that Galeano had been tasered 28 times with a 50,000 volt shock.

Mr Wyant, giving video testimony from Baltimore, Maryland, said it was not uncommon for a police officer to forget the number of times he pulled the trigger of a Taser or a gun. He said the phenomenon was described as critical stress amnesia. ... [LINK]

Professor David Williams contradicts offical taser warnings

At the inquest regarding the taser-taser-taser-taser-taser-taser-taser-taser-taser-taser-taser-taser-taser-taser-taser-taser-taser-taser-taser-taser-taser-taser-taser-taser-taser-taser-taser-taser-associated death of Antonio Galeano, 39.

"I felt there was no connection between the tasering and the death, because tasering is an external event and shouldn't affect the heart," he said. "Tasers are not a threat to life, that's my bottom line," Prof Williams said. ...[LINK]

Here's the problem Prof. Williams...

Taser International's official legal warnings [LINK] clearly state that tasers may affect the heart and may cause death.
"The risk of an ECD application having a negative effect on a person's heart rate and/or rhythm is not zero."

"Experts have indentified heart-to-dart distance as being a key determining factor in whether an ECD can affect the heart."

"When possible avoiding chest shots with ECDs reduces the risk of affecting the heart..."

"The ECD can produce physiologic or metabolic effects." and  "Any physiologic or metabolic change may cause or contribute to death or serious injury."

"Reasonable effort should be made to minimize the number of ECD exposure and resulting physiologic and metabolic effects.

"The ECD can produce physiologic or metabolic effects, which include changes in: acidosis, adrenergic states, blood pressure... heart rate and rhythm..."

"Disregarding this information could result in death or serious injury..."

 If not in the case of multiple taser hits (probably TWENTY-EIGHT), then when?

Your so-called expert opinion is rubbish and demonstrably so (see above).


Google also the taser's Curious Temporal Asymmetry.

"...an unnamed international customer..."

24 March 2011 - "...Taser International today announced an order....from an unnamed international customer... It is anticipated that this order will ship in the First Quarter of 2011."


"...an unnamed international customer..."

Hmmm...  Somewhere in northern Africa perhaps?

Hey! I'm just asking...



"...First Quarter of 2011..."

Isn't that deception-speak for "next week" (period ending 31 March 2011)?

So, what's the big rush?

Are the citizens getting restless? Rebels in the street? Political prisoners that require urgent taser-torturing three-at-a-time?

Hey! I'm just asking...


[E-mail clarification more than welcome and will be published. Silence breeds assumptions.]

Kelowna, BC RCMP face-kicker Const. Geoff Mantler finally facing charges

Thought experiment:

If you kicked a police officer in the head, and the assault was captured on video, then roughly how much time would elapse from the event until you were formally charged? An hour? Maybe a few hours?

24 March 2011 - A Kelowna, B.C., RCMP officer has [finally!!] been charged with assault in connection with an incident in January in which a man [Buddy Tavares] was kicked in the head after he was apprehended. Const. Geoff Mantler ...also has been charged with assault in a separate incident in August 2010 in which a man said he was punched after he'd been placed under arrest. There's also a third incident allegedly involving Mantler that is under review, a spokesman for the B.C. Crown prosecutor said Thursday ... [LINK]

We are all equal before the law, but some are more equal than others.


Here's the punchline:

Without the video, guess who would be facing assault charges?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Western Australian police (slightly) reduce taser overuse, misuse and abuse

File under: Being Slightly Less Stupid
Cross-file under: Being A Bit Less Evil
Cross-file under: Why did it take you so long to figure it out?
Cross-file under: You still have a BIG problem, Sunshine

ABC News (Australia)
New figures reveal taser usage by Western Australian police has plummeted since changes to the force's policy on their use. In December last year the Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan changed the taser use policy to stipulate that officers only use the weapons to prevent serious injury. The change was introduced as an interim measure and will mean officers have to believe they are at risk of serious injury before using a taser. ... [LINK]

In the two months to December, tasers were drawn a total of 148 times by police. But in the two months since the new policy was implemented, the weapons have been drawn just 82 times. There has also been a drop in how often police have actually discharged the tasers, from 62 in the lead up to December, to just 21 in the two months to the 31st of January.
BS propaganda is marked in BS-Brown

See also [LINK]

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Now, before you break-out the bubbly, engage brain and run the numbers...

"...actually discharged the tasers....to just 21 in the two months..."

Western Australia. That's just ONE Australian state with only about 10% of the population of Australia.

21 actual taser discharges in two months. That's a taser deployment rate, the newly-reduced rate, of about 126 times per year. These are actual discharges.

One state. About 126 taser discharges per year. This is the newly-reduced rate.

THINK. LOOK AT THE NUMBER. UNDERSTAND THE NUMBER.

Does anyone still think that "tasers are an alternative to firearms"?

Would the Western Australian police (one state) normally be shooting-to-kill about 126 citizens per year with their firearms?

If that same rate was applied across Australia, the police would be shooting-to-kill 1260 citizens per year.

They'd be the biggest band of murderers in Australian history, killings many hundreds per year.

THINK.

TASERS ARE NOT AN ALTERNATIVE TO FIREARMS.

They're used about ONE HUNDRED TIMES as often.

Considering that tasers can randomly KILL, this topic is still an ethical quagmire.

Taser ineffective, struggle ensues, man shot dead

[Police say that] Deputy Michael Medina shocked Charles Roy, Jr., 37, with his Taser, but the stun gun appeared to be ineffective. Roy grabbed the Taser from Medina. Then Medina, fearing for his safety, fired his gun, hitting Roy once [killing him]. [LINK]

Why was the taser ineffective?

Why are tasers so unpredictable?

Why do police put their naive faith in unreliable tasers?

If Medina had simply drawn his gun and aimed it at Roy (at the appropriate point in the escalation of violence), how would Roy have reacted at that point? Would he have taken the situation more seriously and immediately surrendered?

Is it possible that the reliance on the taser actually cost a life?

Would the simple and reliable gun have been a more predictable choice?


Note - the issue here is NOT with Deputy Medina. Bless him. I'm glad he is okay. He is perfectly entitled to defend himself.

The issue is with the stupid, unreliable, dangerous-to-all taser. The issue is with the over-selling of this defectively-conceived product. The issue is with the infiltration of scummy, bought-and-paid-for, taser salesmen into the law enforcement community.

Go to your local "Taser Expert", back him into a wall, and poke him in the chest a few times. Ask him why he's taking money and putting officers' lives at risk with his incomplete and misleading misinformation.

Investigator Who Cleared Deputies Has Ties To Taser

File Under: Self-Evident Conflict of Interest
Cross-file under: Stinks

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters asked Los Angeles attorney Mildred O'Linn to independently review the arrest and use of force... "When you find out that she is the attorney for Taser International and one of the issues here is misuse of a Taser, you wonder how biased she is and that is disturbing," said attorney Tim Burke. ...O'Linn defended her investigation and said her previous work for Taser International played no role in this case. ...O'Linn admitted to News 5's Amy Wagner that she had never found evidence of criminal conduct in a case involving police officer use of a Taser. ... [LINK]

Never?

Geesh, this blog has documented many examples of obvious criminal misuse of tasers.

Five times. Okay, maybe eight. Well 28 times is possible.

Previously [LINK] police claimed that they tasered Antonio Galeano not more than five times.

Now that number has climbed to eight. Or maybe 28.
A policeman has admitted it was "possible" he tasered a man 28 times before he died, but insisted he pulled the trigger only eight times. Senior Constable Craig Myles yesterday told an inquest that even after using the electronic stun device repeatedly on Antonio Galeano, the 39-year-old was still difficult to control. ... The inquest has previously heard that data downloaded from the Taser showed the trigger had been pulled 28 times. Yesterday, Stephen Keim, counsel assisting the coroner, asked Constable Myles whether it was possible that in the excitement of the night, he had pulled the trigger 28 times without realizing it. "It was possible but I don't believe it," he said. "I did it eight times." [LINK]

Taser QotD: "It didn't seem to work as good as they say it does in training."

The Australian [LINK]

Senior Constable Craig Myles yesterday told an inquest that even after using the electronic stun device repeatedly on Antonio Galeano, the 39-year-old was still difficult to control. The officer said he later questioned the effectiveness of the Taser. "(I told other officers) the Taser is not the be-all and end-all," Constable Myles told the Townsville court. "It didn't seem to work as good as they say it does in training."

Taser International has repeatedly claimed that the taser is "...safe and effective." Of course, they say a lot of things that turn out to be false and misleading.

The taser failed to effectively control Mr. Galeano.

The taser was used repeatedly and Mr. Galeano, who had lived 39 years up to that point, was dead within minutes.

Safe and effective MY ASS.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Helping (?) Antonio Galeano, 39

June 2009 - Townsville, Queensland, Australia - Antonio Galeano, 39, was having mental health issues.

[Police] arrived to find Mr Galeano leaning out of the bathroom window and chanting incoherently. [Police then] deployed the Taser from outside the window after Mr Galeano failed to respond to orders "to get down". [LINK]

Incoherent. Failed to respond. Tasered.

In other words: In a mental health episode, tasered.

The "incoherent" and "failed to respond" are redundant.

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After that didn't have any beneficial effect, the police tasered Mr. Galeano over and over and over and over again. They readily admit five times. The records indicate 28 times.

Either their memory is poor, or the taser is a poorly designed piece of crap that provides unreliable records.

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Mr. Galeano was dead within minutes.

Taser International admits that there is a risk of death with each taser deployment. They clearly admit this in their recent legal warnings (1 May 2010).

Imagine how much more likely death must be when the subject is tasered over and over and over and over again.

Met Police (London, UK) taser target blacks disproportionally

Met police chiefs are being asked to explain why officers armed with Taser stun guns are using the weapon 'disproportionately' more against black suspects. ... (89 deployments last year) ...30 per cent of the targets involved were white, 50 per cent were black, four per cent Asian and eight per cent of mixed race. The others were unknown ethnicity. ... Over a three-year period, statistics showed that 29 per cent of those targeted were white and 44 per cent black. ... [LINK]

It's difficult to argue that "Tasers-R-good" when they're seemingly-inevitably accompanied with the stench of racism.

See also [LINK] for THE EXACT SAME TREND in the USA.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Egypt: "...using electric sticks and burning their bodies with cigarettes..."

BBC News:

"There were many methods of torture," one of the policemen said. "Beating and whipping, hanging in the air for long periods of time, cuffing up their hands and legs, using electric sticks and burning their bodies with cigarettes and depriving them of sleep or food." ... [LINK]

"Electric sticks" and cigarettes.

Sounds like a very familiar comparison...

Torture.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tunisia interim leaders dissolve secret police agency

...and Taser International loses another (potential?, actual?) customer.

Tunisia interim leaders dissolve secret police agency [LINK]

See also...

Le tase le akh! [LINK]

Saturday, March 5, 2011

More "tasers saving money" - LOL

Waveland, MS - Waveland faces six more lawsuits over the use of tasers by police. The half dozen suits were filed last month in federal court in Gulfport. They stem from various incidents in which Waveland officers used tasers on people who were stopped, detained or arrested. The lawsuits allege civil rights violations and improper use of tasers by several police officers. ... [LINK]

If they're not going to think with their head, then maybe they'll have to think with their wallet.