Mission Statement - De-Spinning the Pro-Taser Propaganda

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


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, May 30, 2010

Un patrón muy familiar

UPDATED REPEATEDLY to incorporate links to additional and often-contradictory news reports.

Mexican citizen dies at US border after he is tasered [via TNT]

UPDATED: Subsequent updates have indicated that Anastasio Hernández Rojas (variously reported as being 32- [LINK], 35- [LINK], or 42-years old [LINK]) is either dead or 'brain-dead'. Other details include that he was, according to some reports, also subjected to 'use of force' (some reports mention beating and kicking). These other factors may have played a role. Full and consistent details are yet to emerge.

See also LA Times: [LINK]

A customs agent shot him in the back with a Taser, and he stopped breathing shortly afterward, police said. Officers administered CPR before paramedics took him to a hospital. Authorities are awaiting autopsy results to determine what role, if any, the Taser may have played in the death. [LINK]

A very familiar pattern: Tasered, then "a short time later" stopped breathing, immediate CPR, but eventual death. Followed by pathetic excuses...

One investigator even stated, "A lot of people get Tasered with no real ill effects. He could have had a pre-existing medical condition." This wording directs our attention away from the alleged beating, and towards the taser.

Denials of taser-death cause-and-effect ring hollow (assuming the absence of any rational alternate explanation, keyword "rational"). Please Google the taser's "Curious Temporal Asymmetry".

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Toyota 89, Taser International 160+

MSNBC - Unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles may have been involved in the deaths of 89 people over the past decade, upgrading the number of deaths possibly linked to the massive recalls, the government said Tuesday. ... [LINK]

So Toyota - as many as 89 deaths (max).

.: Huge publicity, massive and expensive recall.

Meanwhile, use of tasers has been "associated" with at least 482 483 deaths. [LINK]

Amnesty International made a huge effort to track down about 150 autopsy reports of those that died in a taser incident. Of the randomly-obtained 150 autopsy reports involving tasers, the taser was reportedly mentioned as a cause or contributing factor in 50 of those 150. Sometimes you'll see this number reported as "50". I prefer to report it as "about one-third", because I see no reason why this wouldn't be applicable to all [now] 482+ taser-associated deaths. You do the math.

[50 of 150 is about one-third. Extrapolate that to the ever-increasing 482 483, and it's 160+. And 160+ is just the probable baseline, the true value is somewhere between 160+ and 483+. Keep reading...]

By the way, this ratio is just what has slipped through the net. Taser International has manufactured much of the so-called science, and then used (US) Daubert motions to quash any alternate testimony. This legal trick has run its course. Given the larger picture, this one-third ratio can only be a low ball value. [LINK]

Even ignoring the obvious ratio between the number of Toyotas on the toad as compared to the number of tasers, it is clear that tasers have probably caused or contributed to more deaths than the recent unintended acceleration problems with Toyotas.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Cardiac arrest and death "As a result of the Taser..."

"Carl D’Andre Johnson... As a result of the Taser, police said, Johnson went into cardiac arrest and died." [LINK]

Taser International's propaganda police will be working overtime this weekend.

In 2007 five people died shortly after being Tasered in Maryland, raising safety concerns. However, medical examiners rarely if ever rule that a Taser is directly responsible for a person’s death. [ibid]

Perhaps they don't know what to look for.

It's worth noting that the Maryland Attorney General has concluded that Taser International has significantly understated the risks of taser use.

This latest tasered_and_died incident is yet another example of the taser's "Curious Temporal Asymmetry" (Google the phrase).

More (1):

Baltimore County police say a pickup truck went off the road and into a highway sign on southbound Interstate 795 at about 9:10 p.m. Thursday. They say a Maryland state trooper arrived and found 48-year-old Carl D'Andre Johnson in his truck. Police say Johnson threatened and assaulted the trooper. County police officers then came and Johnson continued fighting with them. An officer fired a stun gun, but it had no effect on Johnson. He was struck a second time with a stun gun, and as officers went to handcuff him, they found he was unresponsive. [LINK]

Tasered twice and "unresponsive" (dead) within seconds.

Denials of taser-death causality ring hollow.

More (2): [LINK]

More (3): [LINK]

Taser ineffective, man shot in chest

...taser was also ineffective, and an officer shot the man when he lunged at police with the knife. ... The man was taken in critical condition to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County with a gunshot wound to the chest... Charges against the man are pending... [LINK]

Remember, tasers are "...safe and effective..." [LINK].

Pittsburgh City Council approves $155K Taser-abuse settlement

Pittsburgh City Council has approved paying a nice six-figure settlement of $155,000 to settle a federal lawsuit brought by 53-year-old Daniel Hackett III, of Mount Lebanon. Mr. Hackett exercised his theoretical freedom of speech and criticized a city officer after getting a ticket for not using his turn signal on March 15, 2008. He complained that he saw someone run a red light and another man urinating in public, offering his opinion that the police should ticket people like that instead. For his trouble (and/or other reasons), he was taser-tortured and handcuffed, and charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Reportedly none of these classic cover-charges stuck (variously reported as being dropped or acquitted). Mayor Luke Ravenstahl expressed that he was frustrated by "the increasing trend of firefighters and police officers being involved in unacceptable incidents." [LINK][LINK]

A six-figure settlement for a reportedly non-injurious taser-abuse incident. Nice.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Haake taser-associated death settlement $350,000

Previous related post [LINK].

$350 Thousand Settlement In Taser Death - New details in the case of a Topeka Goodyear worker who died after being tased by Sheriff's deputies in March 2008. [LINK]

In short - Mr. Haake was in medical distress, but refusing treatment. He was tasered (?!), handcuffed face-down, and died. Reportedly the Shawnee County Coroner's Office had determined that "The cause of death is of cardiac nature...", but also [somehow] concluded that it wasn't the taser's fault. Taser International was dropped from the lawsuit last year.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tasers "can produce changes in heart rate and rhythm"

Tasers "...can produce... changes in... heart rate and rhythm..."

The above is a fair and reasonable extract from an official legal warning provided by Taser International. [LINK]

If you ignore the time axis, then all things are possible...

I read somewhere that the Smith-4-brains children (-of-the-corn) were fans of the TV series Star Trek. I've seen more than a few episodes of that Sci-Fi series myself. One thing that I found amusing about Star Trek was that, when presented with an impossible situation, Capt Kirk would order the ship to skirt around the nearest star at Warp Factor 9 and 'therefore' [?] go back in time to fix the situation before it even started. But the very next episode, when presented with another opportunity to use the same trick, it was never even mentioned as a possibility.

The point is that if you can ignore the axis of time, then all things are possible. You enter a world of magic and mysticism.

In the case of Steve Butler [LINK] [LINK], he was tasered three times in the chest, totaling 18 seconds, and at the end of that sequence he was "unresponsive" due to cardiac arrest. [LINK] Based on my reading of the reports, the entire sequence from being repeatedly tasered in the chest to being in cardiac arrest probably fits comfortably within a single minute of time.

Taser International would like to make the case that the cardiac arrest "...was caused by his pre-existing cardiac condition, exacerbated by acute upon chronic alcohol abuse, agitated state, and other factors." [ref. Taser International propaganda]

For the purposes of this post, let's assume that these accusations are true.

A pre-existing cardiac condition would presumably have existed for at least several years (months? decades?) prior to the incident.

Chronic alcohol abuse (being chronic) would also have had to exist for months or years prior to the incident. And the acute alcohol consumption that day might presumably also be something that had occurred previously on more than one occasion.

(I'll leave "agitated state" to a bit later.)

Compare these proposed "causes" to the immediate time sequence of tasered-tasered-tasered-in_cardiac_arrest. Years or months, as compared to probably a single minute.

If you look at the time axis, the cause and effect are clear.

God gave us time (the time axis) so that everything doesn't happen at once.

Ignoring the time axis is a sign of insanity.

Agitated state... Is Taser International now adopting the obvious-to-everyone-else truth that tasers bring an even higher risk of death on those that are in an agitated state? Even the RCMP already figured that one out.

So tasers should only be used on calm people?


For more on the importance of the time axis, and the obvious clues that it reveals, look up the taser's 'Curious Temporal Asymmetry' [LINK].

Monday, May 24, 2010

Repost: Taser International is so screwed...

(From 13 March 2010)

Taser International is so screwed... [LINK]

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

The trial (Case No. CV 161436) ...

More details here: [LINK].

City of Tybee, GA rummages around desk, looking for checkbook

Georgia police officers arrested an 18-year-old Tybee Island resident, Clifford Grevemberg, apparently believing that the that the teen was drunk and disorderly. The teenager said that the police used a taser on him twice and threw him to the ground, breaking a front tooth. Unfortunately the officers, never having been reminded about making stupid-ass-umptions, failed to consider the possibility that the youth is an autistic "...who’s never consumed alcohol." [LINK]

Young Mr. Grevemberg has a heart condition. His survival was undoubtedly aiding by the fact that the two taser darts struck him in the back. "...his handcuffed brother was bleeding and two Taser barbs dangled from his back. ..."

But being shot in the back hardly lends support to the supposed necessity of the taser deployment.

Being a civil-rights actionable incident [hint: file in Federal Court], any final settlement should be well into six-figures if it doesn't included an explicit apology and corrective action.

But offer them a discount (say 30%) if they're willing to explicitly admit wrong-doing and institute significant corrective action. Watching them squirm during the decision-making is well worth the discount.

"Official oppression is a Class A misdemeanor."

Beaumont police officer James Cody Guedry, 28, is charged with "official oppression" based on his actions of August of 2007. Guedry was assisting at a traffic stop and twice improperly used his taser on Derrick Newman. [LINK]

Official oppression is a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, a defendant can face punishment ranging from probation to as much as one year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine.

"Free Bernie Kerik because he is a victim." LOL

See Len Levitt: Bernie Kerik: Victim, Victim, Victim [LINK]

Mr. Bernard (Bernie) Kerik was a member of the Board of Directors of Taser International (TASR) during the period 2002 to 2005. He is now in prison serving a 4-year sentence for assorted crimes committed in during a lengthy period that overlaps the same time-frame. There is no evidence to suggest any of his criminal wrongdoing was directly related to his membership on the Board of Directors of Taser International.

Wendy's Stun Gun incident = "assault with a deadly weapon"

Salt Lake Tribune - It's interesting that a woman in Daytona Beach, Fla., has been charged with aggravated assault with a "deadly weapon" for chasing a Wendy's employee with a stun gun... I suppose stun guns are deadly if used by civilians, but not by law enforcement personnel, especially in Hurricane.
John Paxton


Daytona Beach, FL [AP] - ...Melanese Asia Reid ... pulled out a pink stun gun and chased the employee while Bryant cheered her on. ... Reid was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and Bryant was charged with being a principal to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Taser safety claims: It's not a debate; it's an exposé.

Some thoughts.

To be precise, the primary issue isn't actually 'taser safety'.

Law enforcement use of guns and bullets is about 50% lethal. But provided that guns and bullets are used only when appropriate, then there's not much of a moral issue surrounding their use (in general).

The primary issue with tasers are the extremist claims about taser safety (with respect to risk of death, caused or contributed) made by Taser International and their minions. In their marketing, both explicit and implicit, they have clearly and repeatedly denied the inherent risk of death.

This lie is the root of most of the mindless evil, because it supports and encourages an attitude that permits the overuse, ...that forgives the misuse, ...and that too-often ignores the abuse of tasers.

If they had marketed these devices in a manner that acknowledged and highlighted the risks (including the risk of death), as opposed to denying these risks, then it would have put them into a good moral and legal position.

But they didn't take that approach. And that leaves them in an awkward legal position. [LINK]

The conclusion that tasers are perfectly capable of, almost randomly, causing or contributing to death is firm. [LINK]

The only ones denying this obvious fact are either ill-informed or dishonest. The ill-informed folks tend to clam-up when corrected. And the others have resorted to the same sort of debating techniques as used by the Flat Earth Society.

At this point the debate is finished.

It's now an exposè.

Eddie Griffin: Another Nail in the Coffin of TASER

A very important post from Eddie Griffin. Read it here [LINK], or here [LINK].

...to be culpable in one, infers guilt in the other. ...

There is an axiom here: As the death count rises, the cost of using tasers will go up. ...

Although the manufacturer of the weapon, TASER International, has been sued over 100 times, it remains largely unscathed. They sell the instruments based upon its claim of non-lethality, and leave municipalities to pay the cost of wrongful deaths.

“Tasers are not only deadly”, Tatum declares. “They are torture.” ...

Officer Stephanie Phillips did not know... No one ever told her the weapon was
[potentially] lethal. ...

...we, as a nation, have been conditioned into accepting the Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs) as non-lethal and harmless. ...

The handwriting is on the wall: The days of tasers are coming to an end.

National Institute of Justice is seeking alternatives to tasers

Via the Truth...Not Tasers blog [LINK].

...The device would be safe across a broad range of populations with predictable physiological effects.

Yeah, as opposed to the Street-Level Death Lottery that are tasers.

Not exactly a glowing recommendation for tasers, is it?

By the way, the NIJ did find that 'tasers are safe' (as is so clearly shown [sic] in this interpretive graph prepared by the Excited-Delirium blog).

Taser Quote of the Day: "I just don't get it..."

Headline: ...Man brushes off Tasers, bites two cops [LINK]

...Russell B. Whitlock, 41, ...Shocked with a Taser stun gun to no effect... ...A second Taser shot did nothing to deter the man. ...

[Yeah, tasers are "safe and effective". Now you know what "effective" looks like, wanna see "safe"? Anyway...]

And now, the taser Quote of the Day...

Posted by steve-0:

"I just don't get it, Tasers worked great on that pregnant lady in her car..."

TrueSlant - Steve Weinberg: Police on the streets with Tasers: Protecting citizens, or endangering them?

TrueSlant (20 May 2010) - Two uniformed officers in Columbia, Missouri, spent two hours last night educating [?] the Citizens Police Review Board about Taser use. ...   [author Steve Weinberg is] ...one of nine volunteers from Columbia appointed to the Review Board by the City Council. We began operating Jan. 1, 2010. ...  [LINK]

When I read the first sentence, the word "educating" jumped out at me. Police providing unbiased "education" about tasers? Puhleeze...

My immediate reaction is that the word "educating" in this context is a misspelling of the phrase "...passing along propaganda originating from Taser International to..."

Seriously, of all the information they presented, what percentage do you think was provided by Taser International (answer: probably 100%), and what percentage of counter-balancing information was provided (answer: probably 0%).

Let's do a little test (a spot-check):

These are critically important facts that would be mentioned by any reasonable educator:

Did these two officers happen to mention that Canada's national police force, the RCMP, has acknowledged that use of tasers involves risks, and those risks include risk of death? Was that mentioned?

Did these two officers happen to mention that the American Medical Association (AMA) have determined that tasers can cause or contribute to death, directly or indirectly? [LINK] Did that get mentioned?

How about the fact that the Maryland Attorney General has formally concluded that Taser International has "significantly" understated the risks associated with taser use? [LINK] Forgot to mention that? ...

... "They have to be trained and told that this device can and does, in certain circumstances, cause death or serious injury," said Cary J. Hansel, III, report panel member. [LINK]

[How is the pass/fail mark for those two officers holding up?]

See also this post for more examples of formal conclusions from formal inquiries and similar: [LINK] The point here is that it is a bald-faced lie that the only folks concerned about taser safety are crazy bloggers and lunatic activists.

See also the subtle admission by Taser International that tasers can, in fact, affect the heart. [LINK].

See also the statement by Taser International's very own "medical director" (sic) that directly supports the conclusion that tasers can provide the final and fatal contribution to death by acidosis in highly agitated subjects. [LINK]

[Slip-ups like this happen given the circumstances - ahem - they find themselves in...]

I can't include everything in this one post...

This blog has nearly 2000 posts covering this issue since late-2007. Essentially everything is linked back to sources (often via previous posts on the same subject) so you can fact-check to your heart's content. The arguments are often very straightforward and the conclusions are typically crystal clear.

And to be clear, I'm not holding myself out as an authority. The more-technical points that I've explained in this blog should be vetted by a highly qualify person (i.e. - someone with the first name "Prof.") if you're bringing them to trial. But even a first-year EE knows that there's no such thing as a short pulse (100 microsecond) of low frequency (19Hz and harmonics). See [LINK] and more detail below.

jcalton commented [ibid]:  Virtually all information on Tasers circulated for public consumption by cities and police departments is provided by Taser International. The blog Excited Delirium serves as a clearinghouse for Taser studies, articles, and news stories not condoned by Taser. You can ignore his commentary [WTF? LOL...] and just follow the information back to its original sources, although sometimes his explanations of the science involved can be helpful to refute claims made by Taser (because no one else is).

Ignore my commentary? Humph...

Seriously... That's okay...

I was once called "righteously indignant" [LINK], and that's pretty accurate.

But you have to understand the exact nature of the safety claims made by Taser International and their minions. They leave the clear impression that tasers-R-safe. They make these claims to increase sales. But these demonstrably-false safety claims lead directly to the overuse, misuse and abuse of tasers. And nothing but pure evil and suffering comes from the overuse, misuse and abuse of tasers.

(I think that I'm entitled to provide some 'righteously indignant' commentary given the situation...)

Of course there may be the occasional opportunity where the taser is the ideal weapon. No argument. And there may be opportunities where a fricken' flame-thrower might be the ideal tool for the job.

The San Fransisco Police Department actually reviewed their records and found that tasers might be perfectly justifiable (actually replacing lethal force, as advertised) perhaps once a year. [LINK] The disturbing fact is that tasers are typically used about one-hundred times (roughly) as often as that.

"Excited Delirium" is used to explain away many taser deaths in the same way that "Spontaneous Human Combustion" could be used to explain away crispy-fried humans "coincidentally associated with" flame-thrower deployments.

Important point: The self-contradictions emerging from the pro-taser propaganda are often only evident at the highest level. They'll say X one year, and not-X another year.

For example, the older M26 taser from 1999 is "safe" BECAUSE the waveform is very short pulses of high frequency. Very short pulses makes it safer. High frequency makes it safer. But the newer X26 taser from 2003 added a significant DC pulse after the AC arc-phase. Those that remember their Fourier-101 will instantly realize that that innocent-looking DC pulse added to the X26 taser waveform changes everything. It's a DC pulse that repeats at 19 Hz. 19 Hz is the more-dangerous low frequency. And low frequency is inherently continuous 100% duty cycle (no such thing as a short, 100us, pulse of low frequency, 19Hz). Thus the X26 has walked away from both safety factors. This is a self-contradiction that (I believe) Taser International did not appreciate. Their in-house expert still spoke of "Chronaxie" (the safety of short pulses) even in his 2007 IEEE article. That's demonstrably an error. A fatal error.

Another example. Taser International first stated that the taser is a constant current source and the human body impedance was therefore not critical. No matter if the human is higher or lower impedance, the taser waveform current will be the same. But later, when experts tried to test tasers and found that the current was out-of-spec, all of a sudden the precise value of the test resistor become oh-so-critical. That's a discrepancy that spans several years. (Apparently) Nobody notices these things except me.


Feel free to skip over any "commentary" that you don't appreciate.

By the way, the index and searching functions (top right) are now working extremely well. They can help you to find related posts on any subject.

The blog e-mail address is also in the right hand column. I'm happy to provide pointers into the blog if you're looking for anything in particular.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A shattered Chief Deputy Jason Frederick is clear-cut evidence to support soft-tissue injuries

Billings, MT - Chief Deputy Jason Frederick is recovering from surgery after suffering broken arms and other injuries during a taser training session. ...lengthwise fractures in the humerus bones in his upper arms, fractures in his shoulder sockets and dislocated shoulders. Frederick was hospitalized for five days (6-11 May) and underwent surgery. Taser International spokespuppet Steve Tuttle said that he had never heard of injuries like those (sic). [LINK]

If this sort of bone-shattering injury can occur during taser training, then obviously soft-tissue injuries are not as far-fetched as Taser International might try to claim when defending themselves from lawsuits brought by injured trainees.

This incident should be useful for plaintiffs' lawyers dealing with soft-tissue injuries during taser training.

Prediction: Any lawsuit arising from this particular incident will be "dismissed with prejudice" (with Taser International trumpeting it as yet-another legal victory), and then Chief will quietly cash the six-figure settlement check.

Repost (26 June 2009): Dr. Mark Kroll supports 'Blood pH' taser-death mechanism

From 26 June 2009 [LINK]

Dr. Mark Kroll supports 'Blood pH' taser-death mechanism

Kroll has graciously provided direct support for the 'Blood pH' taser death mechanism. [LINK]

Dr. Mark Kroll: "The fundamentals of an excited delirium [+ taser] death are not that difficult to understand. Our bodies have limits to exertion. ... would eventually tire and slow down or stop because our brain recognizes signals of overexertion such as acid in our blood. If we were to continue -- because our brain ignored such signals [or because you're being tasered] -- we would exert ourselves until we died. The body has limits for a reason. If these limits are sufficiently exceeded we will die." [LINK]

What does the taser do even when it is working exactly as planned?

It locks-up muscles, perhaps many muscles. Perhaps similar to weight lifters when they strain every muscle in their bodies.

To quote the obviously-incomplete and liability-inducing taser warning sheet:

"The TASER device can cause strong muscle contractions that may result in physical exertion or athletic/sports-type injuries."

Now think!

What would be the exactly worst device to use on someone that might already be worked up in the manner described by Kroll? The subject is already teetering on the edge of their limits of exertion. And the officer comes along, and (in accordance with his training and product promises) gives them a good solid tasering (more physical exertion), and thereby pushes them right over the edge, and the victim ends up dead.

It all makes sense.

Dangerously exerted. Add lots more involuntary physical exertion. Surprise, surprise.

This alternate (non-cardiac) explanation for taser-CAUSED deaths suggested by Dr. Mark Kroll is exactly in alignment with the 'Blood pH' taser death mechanism which won the "$6.2M" FAILURE TO WARN lawsuit against Taser International. [LINK]

Given that Dr. Mark Kroll sits on (...a thick stack of TASR stocks and options, and on...) the scientific and medical advisory board for TASER International, his opinion regarding this self-evident taser-induced death mechanism might be quite useful for the next flood of 'Blood pH' (or anything similar) taser death lawsuits.

The original story is here [LINK]. Plaintiff lawyers may wish to grab a copy and compare this admission to the obviously-incomplete official Taser product warning sheet.

Dr. Mark Kroll's statement may be directly applicable to the likely-inevitable lawsuit regarding the death of Brian Cardall. He's just tossed Taser International into the mix.

Note also - all of this also fits into the RCMP warning that tasers are especially dangerous (including risk of death) when used on people in an agitated state.


Reminder (23 June 2009) - Moberly settles Stanley Harlan taser-death for $2.4M

Given the recent $2.0M settlement for the taser-death of Michael Patrick Jacobs Jr. settlement by Fort Worth, TX, it's probably worth reminding everyone about the Stanley Harlan case...

"...by the hands of another..." (16 November 2008) [LINK]

The Randolph County coroner Gerald Luntsford has ruled that the August death of Stanley Harlan, 23, whom Moberly police shocked twice with a Taser during a traffic stop was a homicide. "A homicide only means that a person came to their death by the hands of another," Luntsford said today. [LINK]

[And what device was in those hands? A taser !!!]

Luntsford said he could not disclose whether the use of the Taser killed Harlan. "There’s no doubt it contributed to it," the coroner said...

Moberly, MO pays $2.4M - plus Taser Moratorium !!! (23 June 2009) [LINK]

Moberly, MO - Attorneys say a northeast Missouri city has agreed to pay $2.4 million to survivors of a man who died after police fired a taser at him numerous times. Lawyers for the family of 23-year-old Stanley Harlan say the settlement with the city of Moberly was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis. The agreement includes an indefinite moratorium on the use of Tasers by Moberly police officers. [LINK]

I told you that 2009 was going to be 'an interesting year' for Taser International.

Other jurisdictions might wish to consider this news carefully.

(Ahem...) Other jurisdictions might wish to consider this news carefully.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Taser International's "Volunteer Exposure Release" form

Volunteer Warnings, Risks, Liability Release and Covenant Not to Sue [LINK]

[Fair Use / Fair Dealing righteously claimed for these extracts]

The ECD can produce physiologic or metabolic effects which include, but are not limited to, changes in: acidosis; adrenergic states; blood pressure; calcium, creatine kinase (“CK”); electrolytes(including potassium), heart rate and rhythm; lactic acid; myoglobin; pH; respiration; stress hormones or other biochemical neuromodulators (e.g., catecholamines). Reasonable effort should be made to minimize the number of ECD exposures and resulting physiologic and metabolic effects.

"The ECD can produce... changes in... heart rate and rhythm..."

In other words, tasers can affect heart rhythm.

It says exactly that.

And this is a direct contradiction to other claims that:
The TASER ECD Affects the Nerves and Muscles but not the Heart [Kroll, 2007]


Hmmm... I wonder if an upset heart rhythm that might lead to difficulty breathing in some victims...?

...ECD Use on a pregnant, infirm, elderly, small child, or low body-mass index (BMI) person could increase the risk of death or serious injury. ECD Use has not been scientifically tested on these populations. The ECD should not be Used on members of these populations unless the situation justifies possible higher risk of death or serious injury.

"...higher risk of death..."

In other words, even in the absence of these listed special factors (with normal healthy adults), there still exists a risk of death. The risk is "higher" in these listed populations. But this statement is written in a way that admits that there is a risk of death, even with what Braidwood called "healthy adults".

If the risk was essentially zero with normal populations, then the last sentence could have been phrased as follows:

The ECD should not be used on members of these populations unless the situation justifies possible risk of death or serious injury.

But that's not how it is written. Their warning includes the word "higher".

I'm not just being pedantic. This level of detailed parsing of the exact wording they've carefully selected reveals the truth.

I hope that these findings are of some help in dealing with the appeal by Taser International of the findings made by the Braidwood Inquiry. These observations are simple enough and straightforward enough that there's no rational rebuttal.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Fort Worth City Council learns painful lesson about taser safety claims

Dallas News - The Fort Worth City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a $2 million settlement with the family of a mentally ill man [Michael Patrick Jacobs Jr.] whose death after police used a Taser to subdue him was ruled a homicide. ...An autopsy concluded that the primary cause of death was "sudden death during neuromuscular incapacitation due to application of a conducted energy device." No traces of alcohol or drugs, electrolyte imbalances, or signs of heart or lung disease were found — all of which can be contributing factors in a death. [LINK]

See also Star-Telegram [LINK].

Now why on earth wouldn't the city of Fort Worth (or their insurance company) go after Taser International (or their insurance company) to attempt to recover the $2,000,000 plus associated legal expenses? Seems like a slam dunk. Especially when you review the claims that "tasers are safe" (sic), even when delivered in repeated or extend-duration doses.

Perhaps there's some personal liability on the directors of the Company as well...?

Did Taser International yank Kroll's ping pong page?

I just took a quick look and I can't see it. Maybe I'm not looking correctly. I have a copy on file, so I'm not worried about that.

But if they have removed that infamous webpage ("paper") by Kroll from their website, if that's true, then it's another huge defacto admission. And thus doubly-useful during any lawsuits...

Taser QotW: "Clearly, police officers should not consider Tasers to be wholly nonlethal"

Star-Telegram (17 May 2010) - Fort Worth's $2 million Taser settlement says a lot

Police officer Stephanie Phillips held the trigger for 49 seconds, later saying she was unaware that the Taser would continue to discharge its electric current if she did not release the trigger... As Michael Patrick Jacobs Jr. lay face-down on the ground during those 49 seconds, the officers yelled at him to put his hands behind his back. But people can't move while they're being shocked with a Taser; the device is designed to induce muscular incapacitation. Because Jacobs didn't comply, Phillips ... released the trigger for one second and then pulled it again. The second shock lasted five seconds. Jacobs stopped breathing and was pronounced dead a short time later at John Peter Smith Hospital. ...

Clearly, police officers should not consider Tasers to be wholly nonlethal. ...

The medical examiner ruled Jacobs' death a homicide... [LINK]

The claims made by Taser International and their minion-in-chief, "Dr." Mark Kroll, that tasers are safe and that tasers cannot possibly affect the heart lie shattered on the ground.

BTW - Is their insane Cardiac Safety webpage still up? That's the web page where "Dr." (apparently not a medical doctor) Mark Kroll compares the safety of repeated taser hits to being hit with a ping pong ball.

Will somebody puhleeze put Mr. Kroll on the stand and slap him about the head with a printed copy of that drivel that he wrote. That web page would make an ideal weapon during any taser-death lawsuit.

While he's sitting there, ask him about 100us pulses of 19 Hz, ...and Fourier.

Four months after Jacobs' death, Taser International issued a bulletin advising its customers to avoid shooting darts from the device into a subject's chest "when possible." ... Taser strongly stands by the safety of its product. The bulletin, the company said, "has less to do with safety [understatement of the decade] and more to do with effective risk management for law enforcement agencies." ...

Translation: If you use a Taser and things go wrong, the person you use it on could die. You could be sued, and you could lose a lot of money. In Fort Worth's case, that amount appears to be $2 million. [ibid]

Taser International and Steve Ward, their ex-VP of Malarkeyting, squabble over cameras

Taser International, Inc. v. Steve Ward
1 CA-CV 09-0468 / Court of Appeals of Arizona
May 13, 2010 -Defendant Steve Ward appeals from the entry of partial summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff Taser International. He argues that partial summary judgment should be entered in his favor, or, alternatively, that issues of material fact preclude summary judgment in favor of Taser. For the following reasons, we reverse the entry of partial summary judgment, direct entry of summary judgment in part in favor of Ward, and remand for further proceedings. ... [LINK]

What's N ?

The Truth...Not Tasers blog: "... Apparently, on May 9th (and this is the first I've heard of it), a fellow named Audreacus Davis died after being tased five times and given a medication to calm him down. ..." [LINK]

For taser-associated deaths:

N = Actual Total Number / Number Listed (*)

(* The List [LINK])

What's N ?

I hope it's very close to unity. We assume it's very close to unity. We assume that the vast majority of taser-associated deaths are listed.

But how on earth could we be assured that N is not 1.2, or 1.5, or 2.3, or... ???

Would those that have the information be motivated to keep it quiet?

Taser Torture claimed in Hamblen County, Tennessee

See Courthouse News Service [LINK].

(These claims of taser torture, etc. have not been proven in court.)

Which part of "safe and effective" am I missing?

Taser International has described their tasers as "...safe and effective..."

There's a bit of a debate about the safe part. Maybe you've heard...

Now, what about the effective part?

Houston Chronicle (17 May 2010) - ...Officer E. Garza shocked Jeffrey Marlon Peterson, 37, with a taser, but it appeared to have no affect. A second officer, D. Alexander, who arrived after the traffic stop, also used her taser on Peterson, but he again appeared unaffected. ...Peterson ran to his pickup and got a handgun, which he pointed at Garza. ... [LINK]

So the first taser has no affect.

The second taser also has no affect.

How is the claim that tasers are "effective" holding up?

The end result is that the police are left staring down the barrel of a real gun.

Both officers told Peterson to drop the gun, but he refused... Garza fired at least once, hitting him. Peterson ... is in critical condition, but is expected to survive. He is charged with aggravated assault against a public servant. The officers at the scene were not injured.

Thank God. No thanks to The Church of Taser.

Draw your own conclusions about their marketing claims...

DeKalb County's taser nightmare

Excuse me? Is that an 800-lb gorilla sitting over there?

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (17 May 2010) - A 40-year-old woman accused of stealing a car and fighting with police Friday is the second suspect this month to die after being tased by a DeKalb County police officer. ...

Three [other taser-associated] deaths occurred in the Gwinnett County jail after deputies used Tasers on inmates. The deaths occurred in 2003, 2004 and 2007. Autopsies showed two died of heart attacks, but they did not cite causes for the cardiac arrests. The third death was ruled a result of "excited delirium"... [LINK]

Inmate 84888-054

Bernie Kerik, convicted criminal and a former member of the Board of Directors of Taser International, begins his four-year sentence.

New York Times [LINK]

Or is it 8488054 [Wall Street Journal].

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A sign of intelligence is...

A sign of intelligence is the ability to hold multiple, and even contradictory, ideas (or possibilities) in your mind at the same time.

An easy example: Is light a wave or a particle?

The correct answer is: Yes, both/either.

Here's another example: Is the lad behind the bathroom door a terrorist menance to freedom that must be dealt with now, or a harmless deaf kid having minor bathroom issues?

The correct answer is: I don't know. And if you don't know, then you have to cautious. But the caution duh-obviously applies in both directions. You don't assume. You don't necessarily need to pry the door open. You don't assume. You don't necessarily need to fire tear gas. You don't assume. And you certainly don't need to taser the person (judging by the results, a massive and justifiable lawsuit, a stupid move). [LINK]

Here's another example: What if you meet someone with slurred speech? Are they drunk?

The correct answer is: Maybe, maybe not. [LINK]

Can you keep alternate possibilities in your mind?

Are you intelligent?

Ineffective tasers - once, twice, thrice, ...

...[Officer George] Pappas then shot Daniel Reed in the chest with his Taser but Reed "felt no effects"... Reed then pulled the Taser probes out and allegedly taunted Pappas with the knife. When a backup officer arrived, he also shot Reed with his Taser, but it still didn't seem to faze him. Both officers then shot Reed again with their Tasers and it was only after the fourth probe struck him that he fell... Still conscious, Reed then used his knife to cut himself free from all of the Taser wires... As he was getting up, Reed waved the knife and threatened to cut the cops' eyes out and walked to his apartment... [LINK]

What do taser cartridges cost? Are they about $30 each?

"Hey buddy, calm down. We'll give you a hundred bucks cash if you come along quietly."

Maybe it would work. Maybe it wouldn't. Exactly like the tasers.

But with less risk.

And maybe $20 cheaper.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Fort Worth offers $2 million to family of Michael Patrick Jacobs

Fort Worth, TX - The city has offered a record-setting $2 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of Michael Patrick Jacobs, who was "killed with a Taser" during a confrontation with police April 18, 2009... [LINK]

Should be more than enough to fund a huge 9-figure lawsuit against Taser International...

See also previous related posts:

Aftershocks in the case of Michael Patrick Jacobs, Jr.  Oct 16, 2009

More Details on Michael Patrick Jacobs, Jr.  Aug 31, 2009

Officer said she knew what she was doing  Aug 29, 2009

Michael Patrick Jacobs cause of death  Aug 28, 2009

Fort Worth taser-associated death  Apr 19, 2009

Taser International's famous foot-shuffle away from previous safety claims

July 8, 2008 - Samuel K. De Boise was having a very bad day. Tasered repeatedly, stopped breathing, died. [LINK]

... Taser spokesman Steve Tuttle said in an e-mail that the device is a safer alternative to other police weapons and that studies have shown Taser use to be safe.

Interesting choice of words...

Did you catch it?

Let's parse the exact words and nail down the World Famous Taser International Foot-shuffle Subtle Claim Reduction Strategy.

See [LINK] and [LINK] for previous posts on the same observation. You have to stare intently at their feet, to see the toes go up and over a millimeter and down, and then the heels go up and over a millimeter and down. They didn't seem to move, but their position on taser safety has inexplicably shifted (again) ever so slightly away from the previous position.

1) "...the device is a safer alternative to other police weapons..."

Okay. Absolutely true when compared to gun fire. Bullets are about 50% lethal. Tasers are obviously not 50% lethal. We can have an argument about other forms of force. Taser International will muddle the debate by mixing injuries and death as if they were the same.

The next phrase is more interesting...

2) "...studies have shown Taser use to be safe..."

Ah! Note the exact words chosen.

Note that Taser International is no longer claiming that "Taser use is safe".

Oh no they're not! Pay attention!

They are simply pointing out that there are "studies" [flawed, fake, fraudulent, defective, illogical, irrational] that "have shown" that taser use is safe.

If you've been paying attention, then you notice that they've literally just inserted a small gap between themselves and the claims that tasers are safe.

Taser International is not claiming that tasers are safe. At least, not any more.

It's just those pesky "studies".

What? You think I'm not paying attention? LOL.

Taser had "no effect", officer wounded in resultant shoot-out

Portland, OR (13 May 2010) - Gunfire that ended with one man dead and a police officer wounded began... ...stopped a car for driving infractions. ... One officer approached the passenger side while others with tasers drawn approached the driver's side. ...the driver ignored instructions and struggled as officers tried to get him out of the car. ...officers twice fired a taser to no effect. ...the driver grabbed a gun and fired, hitting Officer Christopher Burley once in each leg. ... [LINK]

Why on God's green Earth would any right-thinking police officer still believe that Taser International is their friend?

Geesh... If police guns misfired as often as tasers are "ineffective", then the police would be lobbying for swords.

Burley is expected to make a full recovery.


But why use such a risky approach? Why rely on unreliable tools? I'd rather see the police with their hand nervously on their holster than this sort of taser induced near-death fiasco unfold.

Twice the taser had no effect. The baddie got off two shots before the officers finally put away their toy phasers and dealt with the situation appropriately.

Taser International named in yet another lawsuit

Chad Tylecki is seeking $500,000 in damages “and further relief as appears reasonable and just,” court documents state. The lawsuit names the City of Lewes, Lewes Police Officer James Azato, former Lewes Police Department Chief Ronald Gooch, Delaware State Police Cpl. Matthew Blakeman, Taser International Inc., Lewes Mayor Jim Ford and Lewes City Council members Stephanie Tsantes, Ted Becker, Barbara Vaughan and Victor Letonoff. Tylecki’s attorneys, Philadelphia-based Patrick G. Geckle and Wilmington-based Barbara H. Stratton, filed the lawsuit Jan. 7 in U.S. District Court, District of Delaware, in Wilmington. The case stems from a Jan. 13, 2008 incident that started in the marsh area off Savannah Road near Fisherman’s Wharf. ...

See also [LINK].

...Taser training materials also state multiple discharges from the weapon present no greater health risk than a single discharge. ...

From [LINK]:

...Even the US National Institute of Justice (NIJ) noted a strange and disturbing correlation between more-numerous taser hits and death. Their purported finding that tasers are safe, when you actually read the report, actually raises serious questions about those over-ambitious claims of safety. See [LINK].

Prof Savard studied the data and found that the chances of someone dying is linearly proportional to their exposure to the taser. [LINK]...

Taser Quote of the Week: "Some cops..."

Tony Hicks: Don't tase me bro, but let me watch...

... Some cops in these [video] clips seem to have their taser out somewhere between "Can I see your..." and "...driver's license please?"   Nobody said being a cop was easy. But with great taser power comes great taser responsibility. And, sometimes, great taser comedy, and this will continue until someone's head explodes on YouTube [*]. And even that might not end the fun. Although useful in circumstances when an officer needs to establish control (which doesn't mean when I won't answer, for the 47th time, why I think I was pulled over), it's fairly obvious that for a few cops, getting a taser is the equivalent of a 9-year-old Star Trek fan getting his hands on a real-life phaser. [LINK]

* See [LINK].

I believe it's well documented that the Smith-4-brains children-of-the-corn were inspired, in part, by the science fiction TV show Star Trek. I'm sure I've read about that, and more than once if I recall correctly.

Too bad the switch on their little phaser keeps randomly wobbling between being 'set on stun' and being 'set to kill'.

...not to mention being sometimes 'set to ineffective'...

Taser International (TASR) dragged into AZ mess

The Los Angeles city council has asked all municipal employees to boycott Arizona... This boycott includes suspending all travel to Arizona by municipal employees, as well as ... city contracts with Arizona-based companies, such as Taser International (TASR). [LINK] & [LINK]

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Is it safe to assume that 'tasers are safe'?

In the year 2010, still clinging to the belief that tasers can do no harm is roughly equivalent to believing that the Earth is flat. In this case, it's a belief system that originated from the deceptive marketing practices of Taser International.

The RCMP has acknowledged that use of tasers involves risks, and those risks include risk of death. They have twice tightened-up the allowed use of tasers to match this reality. Please note that this is the RCMP. It's not some random band of bloggers - it's the fricken RCMP.

Logically, this discussion should end right there and then.

What more would any rational person ask for?

The journal of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) took a very clear position. They do not accept the assurances of safety from Taser International. Refer to [LINK] for details.

The American Medical Association (AMA) determined that tasers can cause or contribute to death, directly or indirectly. Read that again - "directly or indirectly." See [LINK].

The Maryland Attorney General has formally determined that Taser International has "significantly" understated the risks associated with taser use. [LINK]

"They have to be trained and told that this device can and does, in certain circumstances, cause death or serious injury," said Cary J. Hansel, III, report panel member. What do you think those words mean? [LINK]

The Braidwood Inquiry...

The former RCMP watchdog Kennedy...

Do I really have to bother providing quotes and links? Seriously?

Even the US National Institute of Justice (NIJ) noted a strange and disturbing correlation between more-numerous taser hits and death. Their purported finding that tasers are safe, when you actually read the report, actually raises serious questions about those over-ambitious claims of safety. See [LINK].

Prof Savard studied the data and found that the chances of someone dying is linearly proportional to their exposure to the taser. [LINK] Geesh. This one graph alone nukes the safety claims. Alternate explanations are simply far-fetched nonsense.

What about the taser's "Curious Temporal Asymmetry"? [LINK]

The United Nations concluded that tasers are a form of torture that can kill.

Amnesty International made a huge effort to track down about 150 autopsy reports of those that died in a taser incident. Of the randomly-obtained 150 autopsy reports involving tasers, the taser was reportedly mentioned as a cause or contributing factor in 50 of those 150. Sometimes you'll see this number reported as "50". I prefer to report it as "about one-third", because I see no reason why this wouldn't be applicable to all 470+ taser-associated deaths. You do the math.

By the way, this ratio is just what has slipped through the net. Taser International has manufactured much of the so-called science, and then used (US) Daubert motions to quash any alternate testimony. This legal trick has run its course. Given the larger picture, this one-third ratio can only be a low ball value.

We've found that Taser International is too-closely connected to those that promote "excited delirium" as a handy-dandy inherently un-refutable explanation for In-Custody Deaths. Taser International's own lawyer has his filthy hands in the websites that promote the pseudo-science that is "excited delirium" as an excuse for taser-associated deaths.

Let's cut to the chase:

The most dangerous taser in the entire world is the one that's in the hands of someone that has been told "Don't worry, it's perfectly safe."

Personally I don't care of the police are issued with fricken flame-throwers. But if the creepy fork-tongued flame-thrower salesmen start to claim that flame-throwers are perfectly safe, and the crispy-fried humans must be as a result of Spontaneous Human Combustion ("...a well-known condition that has been reported in the literature since 1889..." ...Oh puhleeze...), then it's time to take action and refute the lies.

Taser are perfectly capable of contributing to or causing death.

They're hardly "safe".

The where & when, and the how & why, of taser-associated death are less well defined.

But to deny the risks only increases those risks. EVERYONE that is both honest and informed already accepts this obvious fact.

And if anyone thinks that these concerns are simply the irrational protestations of crazy bloggers and lunatic activists, then they're denying all the above.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

SIU accuses taser-fanboy OPP Commish Fantino of illegal behaviour

The Ontario SIU is "...accusing Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Julian Fantino and a number of his officers of breaking the law by failing to properly co-operate with probes into two separate fatal OPP shootings last summer." [LINK]


Will the political leaders exert control? Or will they let this sort of nonsense continue?

"A Critical Look at TASER Policy and Effects"

Edward Nelson, NY Public Policy Examiner, gives Taser International a gentle spanking: [LINK].


Monday, May 10, 2010

Good news: Sales of taser cartridges drops 30%

Taser International (TASR) reports that Sales of our ... single cartridges decreased $2.4 million, or 30%, compared to the prior year. [LINK]

I wonder why that would be? LOL.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Cause of Death - Patrick Burns

The State Journal-Register (May 09, 2010) [LINK]

"In the two weeks since we first called for the resignation of Sangamon County Coroner Susan Boone, our confidence in her office has continued to erode. On Friday, Seventh Circuit Chief Judge Patrick Kelley appointed the Illinois State’s Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor to investigate Boone’s office. The request came from Sangamon County State’s Attorney John Schmidt, who acted in response to complaints from a family that alleged official misconduct by Boone in the investigation of their relative’s death in January. This week, the Sangamon County Board will vote on a resolution for a complete audit of the coroner’s office.  ...such was the case with the family of Patrick Burns, who believed Boone pushed for the jury to pinpoint excited delirium from cocaine use as the cause of Burns’ death. ..."

Background on Patrick Burns:

Springfield, IL - the poster child for the taser problem [LINK]

The most recent Springfield man who died after being shot with tasers - Patrick Burns, in January - was shocked as many as 21 times. ...the 50-year-old man lost consciousness and died after Sangamon County sheriff’s deputies arrested him and shot him with a taser while he was in handcuffs Jan. 23. According to reports, deputies deployed their tasers against Burns 21 times.

Cause of Death - Daniel Joseph Barga

Tasered several times, stopped breathing, died. A familiar pattern. Death attributed to "excited delirium". [LINK]

Causes of Death - Hatchel Pate Adams III

A man who died in police custody in December 2009 died from a combination of excited delirium, mental illness, methamphetamine use, obesity and subdual by police, medical examiners said Tuesday. Hatchel Pate Adams III, 36, died in the hospital after police responded to a complaint at his residence in the first block of Overlook Court in Hampton at about 11 p.m. December 10. Officers tried to talk to Adams, but he would not come to the door. When police were able to get inside the residence, Adams began swinging a Samurai sword at them. In response to the sword threat, officers tased Adams, but he was able to free himself from the taser probes. Officers tased him again and attempted to place him in custody, but he then stopped breathing. [LINK]

Let's review the causes of death listed above...

1) Excited delirium - nothing but meaningless words. A place-holder for ignorance. Too often associated with taser-associated deaths. The holistic-medicine of the In-Custody Death explanation-for-hire industry.
2) Mental illness is obviously not a direct cause of death. It's plain crazy to suggest otherwise.
3) I'd buy "methamphetamine use" provided it is of a lethal does and time-aligned with the death. Even it's use can be certainly be considered to be a contributing factor even in the absence of the dose and timing factors.
4) Obesity - at most a contributing factor, obviously not a cause of death.
5) Subdual by police - they used a taser, twice. Why is this listed in last place? WTF is with THAT?!

UPDATE - I've noticed that the five purported "causes" are listed in strict alphabetical order. Perhaps the choice of words (e.g. "subdual...", an odd choice) is intentional to achieve the ordering desired, while supporting the 'alphabetical' explanation. Or perhaps I'm reading too much into it...

Based on the report, only one of these factors (#5) is minute-by-minute time-aligned with the point where Mr. Adams stopped breathing. The others would have been going on for hours to years.

...the Taser shooting didn't violate any department policies and was ruled justified. "They were defending themselves from someone wielding a samurai sword at them." [LINK]

If that's true, then I agree. I'm not here to debate the rational and justification for responding as they did. I'm just curious about the taser deployments and the reported causes of death.

A Hampton police press release said the police and the medical examiner's office enlisted experts on excited delirium at the University of Miami to help investigate the death. [LINK]

Ah, that'll be Dr. Mash et al.

Some too-close connections have been uncovered between Taser International, via their sometimes-lawyer / sometimes ICD "expert" Mr. Micheal Brave, and Dr. "Excited Delirium" Mash at the University of Miami. If anyone is interested in these ethically-questionable Taser Internation-to-UoM connections, then review the following posts:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009 - Be Brave and Mash yer brain [LINK]

Saturday, April 18, 2009 - The University of Miami connection to Taser International [LINK]

These sorts of connections do little to enhance the on-stand credibility of Taser International's own bought-and-paid-for "experts", and the "external" "experts" at the UoM.

The Calgary Herald lays it out... Plain and simple.

Calgary Herald  (9 May 2010) [LINK]

A police officer in Philadelphia exercised his so-called discretion this week when he tasered an unarmed teenager who ran onto the baseball diamond during a Phillies game. He shot the 17-year-old prankster from behind, firing 12,000 volts that sent the boy tumbling into a heap. The real shock is this was not a clear misuse of force... ...officials defended the officer... Regulations restricting use of the weapons need to be spelled out, so there is little room for such discretion in the absence of far more aggressive behaviour on behalf of a suspect.

In Canada, the last of the grey zone was coloured black and white a day after the baseball incident. RCMP announced tighter taser rules for the second time in two years. Mounties can now only reasonably use stun guns if the suspect is being physically combative or threatening physical harm. The refined policy further clarifies a major change implemented last year... The new policy is long overdue, but better late than never. With clear directives, swift consequences can be taken when officers misuse their power.

"Had the new policy been in place at the time of Dziekanski's death, it may have resulted in criminal charges against the officers," says Mount Royal University criminologist Doug King. As it was under the old policy, the Crown found the officers followed procedure, even though their actions contributed to Dziekanski's demise.

...Shooting people with such powerful weapons simply to get compliance from suspects was never in line with Canadians' expectations. Police sold tasers to the public support as a nonlethal alternative to drawing their guns yet in some cases it's being used before even issuing a verbal warning. What's more, some 25 Canadians have died after being tasered by police, while more than 300 taser-related deaths have occurred in the U.S.

Bad policy leads to bad decisions, as the incident at the Philadelphia baseball game so aptly illustrates. Taser use should leave little room for officer judgment, because too often that judgment is clouded.

It's worth noting that police officials found that the police officer did nothing wrong. And yet, they're changing their policies so that police will no longer get involved with similar minor field intrusions.

Did nothing wrong, but it'll never happen again (in similar circumstances).

Walter E. Haake Jr. taser-associated death lawsuit settled

Topeka, KS - Relatives of Walter E. Haake Jr., 59, of Lawrence, have settled a wrongful death lawsuit against two deputies, the sheriff and the county. Mr. Haake "died" shortly after Shawnee County deputies used a taser on him (three times) at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. parking lot. The lawsuit had named deputies Jason Mills and Shayna Johnson, Sheriff Dick Barta and Shawnee County. The County Commissioner said that he wouldn't disclose the terms of the settlement because that might jeopardize the agreement, and that the county commission still needs to vote on the agreement. Source: [LINK]

See previous post [LINK].

See also Truth...Not Tasers blog [LINK].

Reportedly the Shawnee County Coroner's Office had determined that "The cause of death is of cardiac nature...", but also concluded that it wasn't the taser's fault. [LINK] Taser International was dropped from the lawsuit last year.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Kankakee’s Jerome Combs Detention Center

Send in the Feds... ...let them figure it out. See [LINK].

X26 Taser specifications (2003, 2007) and Kroll's IEEE article

X26 Specification sheet from 2003 clearly shows that the body current is 0.151 amps (or 151 mA) RMS.

The RMS value has been expunged from the 2007 version of the same specification sheet. Taser International and their in-house minion are making the preposterous claim that the EFFECTIVE current is the AVERAGE. They hold-forth the insane position that the 2.1 mA average is the only current measurement worth mentioning. This claim is completely unjustifiable.

It can be seen that Kroll's original Figure 3 [from his infamous IEEE Spectrum article, edited in red] places the "Taser shock" (see original black dot) as being low frequency and about 2 mA.

We are left to conclude that the taser shock isn't capable of even locking-up muscles (but that's what it does), let alone interfering with breathing (ditto), and well away from causing the heart to behave erratically (ditto).

Kroll et al claim that the taser waveform has magical properties that make it more likely to affect the muscle and less likely to affect the heart. Chief of these claims is that the pulses are very very very short (~100 microseconds).


100 microseconds of 19 Hz?

That's like saying that you can squeeze an elephant into a matchbox. Actually the nonsensical ratio is even larger than that.

I believe that this whole thing stems from Taser International and their in-house "experts" not understanding that when they added the DC pulse after the arc phase on the X26 taser, they didn't realize that they were (probably unintentionally) walking away from the safety features of high frequency and very very low duty cycle.

Above graph (Reilly) shows 1999-model M26 waveform versus 2003-model X26 waveform. Note that the M26 waveform is basically a short pulse of AC (more or less centered around the zero axis). The X26 waveform is basically an offset DC pulse, that makes it primarily low frequency and thus 100% continuous duty cycle for as long as the trigger is held down.

The X26 was introduced to the market in 2003. Find 2003 on the graph below...

The 19 Hz spectral components are continuous 100% duty cycle for the entire 5-seconds, or as long as the trigger is held down... The claims about "short pulses" are utter nonsense. Any EE should know this by instinct. Any Professor of Electrical Engineering would probably be so incensed by this stupid error that they'd testify for free.

Taser International's very own Mark Kroll is on the record referring to the very short pulses (100us). Even while simultaneously acknowledging that the X26 waveform is low frequency (19Hz).

The billion dollar error. Right there.

Charles Harding gets it...

Reggie Hayes, a Sports Columnist of The News-Sentinel wrote: "The teen willingly broke the law. The law won. Consequences are painful. That's why they're called consequences." [LINK]

Charles Harding [bless his heart] commented (05/07/10 10:59:00 AM) - ...[Tasers supposed to be the last resort] ...That was far from a last resort. It's not the job of security to punish. It's the job of our courts. Shame on you for suggesting anything other. [ibid]

Thank you Charlie.

Reggie - you need to review your Grade 6 "Civics" lessons.

We don't expect sports columnists to be in the running for the Pulitzer Prize, but they should at least be informed and thoughtful enough to see beyond the playing field, and understand the slippery slope that is entered when attempting to justify the use of tasers because they are a painful.

See also Caution on Taser use. [LINK]

See also New York Times Couldn’t They Just Tag Him? [LINK]

Spare the taser, spoil the child

Extract from an off-line e-mail exchange related to tasering sports fans that invade the field '...because it is a good deterrent...'

"Spare the rod, spoil the child. We're suffering the ramifications."

And in unrelated [?] news...

Indictment: Parents used stun gun on children

The Virginian-Pilot (8 May 2010) - A man and woman accused of using a stun gun to discipline their children were indicted on charges of child cruelty and felony child neglect this week. Andrea L. Wilson, 37, and Regina E. Wilson, 32, ...both face three charges of child cruelty and four charges of child neglect. ... [LINK]

At this point it is worth high-lighting the fact that the recent Philly field jumper was, legally, a minor.

Clear enough?

#375 - July 8, 2008: Samuel DeBoise, 29, St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis - Police tasered a naked man for 52 seconds, until he died, the man's family claims in Federal Court. In July 2008, Samuel De Boise, 29, came out of his house naked, calling himself God, obviously deluded, according to the complaint. His family says De Boise lay on the ground, got up and was fatally tasered by police officers when he couldn't comprehend the officers' instructions. De Boise had a history of mental illness and offered no physical threat to the officers, the family says. The family seeks damages for excessive force, indifference to medical needs, product liability and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is represented by W. Bevis Schock. Taser International, St. Louis County and St. Louis County police Officers Bret Lively and Joseph Percich are named as defendants. [LINK]

52 seconds...

That more than ten of the standard 5-second hits...

See this post [LINK] from 27 March 2009:

CBC: 'Hit Him Again'

...An analysis by Montreal biomedical engineer Pierre Savard, made available to [CBC], suggests the chances of someone dying after being hit with a police taser increase the more times they're stunned. [LINK]

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