Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Death by Taser

TalkLeft reports on yet another death by Taser. This time, the victim was reportedly swinging knives and a hammer, but her ability to threaten anyone effectively was likely reduced by the fact that she was confined to a wheelchair. She lost consciousness and died shortly after being shot by the "non-lethal" device.

The Sun-Sentinal has more.

Previous coverage of Taser-related deaths, injuries and lawsuits going back to early 2004 are compiled at TalkLeft here, which includes posts on numerous deaths following use of Tasers, a man's hair catching fire after being pepper-sprayed and Taser-ed, lawsuits by police officers who learn to regret volunteering to prove the device's safety (including a police chief who reportedly suffered two strokes, vision and hearing loss, neurological damage, a head injury and "significant cardiac damage"), and the move to introduce civilian Taser models.

Non-lethal weaponry is certainly preferable to shooting people dead with bullets. However, having "non-lethal" weapons available appears to lower officers' threshhold for deploying them, an obvious excessive force concern when the non-lethal weapons turn out to be far more dangerous--and deadly--than advertised.

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