In yet another unintentional use of deadly force by police who have been misinformed that Tasers are non-lethal, CNN reports that a 20-year old was killed with a Taser. One wonders if the police would have been so fast to use a pistol; my guess is not.
It’s about time that Tasers were labeled as lethal force, because that’s what they are. A Taser won’t always kill a person, but then again, neither will a gun.
Taser International claims “A bystander’s video of the Vancouver incident that showed the victim continuing to struggle after being shot with the device “is proof that the Taser device was not the cause of his death,” the company said on its Web site. Cardiac arrest caused by electrical current would have caused immediate death.”
I suppose they’ve never heard of V-tachycardia.
After the Boston steel-shot beanbag debacle, one might think that police departments would create rules of engagement that recognize that so-called “non-lethal” or “less-lethal” control devices still have the same potential to kill that a gun does, and subject them to the same requirements for use of deadly force which are used for firearms. It’s not like police departments should be unaware of the dangers of the Taser device; CBS news did a story in 2004 documenting 70 deaths and climbing. And yet in the space of a few days we’ve had a student Tasered for daring to believe that freedom of inquiry is permissible at a university (what gall!), and now comes word via CNN from Warren, OH, of yet another stun-crazy operator.
How much torture will American police be permitted to inflict before this is brought under control? And what kind of example does this police behavior set for the budding police forces of Iraq?