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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 7/31/2005 12:06:17 PM EDT
Stun gun maker backtracks about effects of multiple shocks

By LATEEF MUNGIN
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 07/31/05

Multiple shocks with a Taser could impair breathing and even lead to death, the stun gun's manufacturer says in a new warning to law enforcement agencies.

The three-page bulletin, posted on the Taser International Inc. Web site and e-mailed to the company's 19,500 certified trainers, contradicts past statements the company has made to the public and law enforcement, as well as its own training manual, last issued in November 2004.

In fact, the 239-page training manual issued by the Arizona-based company contained its own contradictions, both urging officers to use multiple shocks to subdue unruly suspects and warning against it.

"This is a much stronger emphasis than they had before," Duluth police Maj. Don Woodruff, a certified Taser instructor, said of the new bulletin. "In the past they just told us that if you have a guy who is not compliant, just stun him again. There wasn't that much talk about the health effects."

The company's warning stops short of linking the Taser to the more than 100 people who have died since 2001 after being shocked. Multiple shocks were administered in many of these deaths, including those of two men in Gwinnett County, each of whom died after being shocked at least three times with a Taser.

The Taser, marketed as a nonlethal weapon, is used by about 7,000 domestic law enforcement agencies, including 217 in Georgia, according to Taser International.

The company's president and founder, Tom Smith, said the warning, posted on the Web site June 28, was nothing new. He described it as updating statements the company had made in its training manuals.

"We are just being more specific than we were before," Smith said.

The 2004 Taser training manual did warn police against multiple blasts of the Taser once, on page 158. But that warning is contradicted at least three times in the same manual, including on page 157, where Taser users are instructed to use multiple shocks on subjects.

"The students should anticipate using additional cycles to subdue suspects," it reads. "[The first] cycle changes the behavior, and the subsequent cycles allow for apprehension in most cases."

The training manual also stated that multiple blasts of the Taser occurred in 32 percent of the incidents police had reported to Taser International.

Specific injuries cited

The new bulletin, beyond warning officers three times that repeated Taser shocks can impair breathing and lead to death, also describes specific injuries that could result from multiple or prolonged use of the 50,000-volt stun gun.

It said multiple shocks could also cause strong muscle contractions that could cause injuries to "tissues, organs, bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, joints and stress/

compression fractures to bones." It also contained various other recommended safety measures, such as not aiming the weapon at a suspect's eyes.

The company has been buffeted by more than 20 lawsuits, including some filed by police officers who say they were hurt while training with Tasers. Taser sales and the company's stock have declined steadily as the death toll, now at 103 according to Amnesty International, has risen.

A major part of Taser's defense for years has been that a medical examiner has never named the weapon as a cause of death. That changed last week when a Chicago coroner named the Taser as the primary cause of a jailed prisoner's death.

In the Chicago case, police Tasered a suspect two times and one of the blasts was prolonged — 57 seconds. The company counsels against both multiple and prolonged shocks in the new bulletin.

Too late?

The new warning will undoubtedly prompt some police agencies to question the safety of Tasers, said Illinois attorney Paul Geller, who recently filed a class action against the company alleging Taser overstated the guns' safety.

"It seems that Taser is finally attempting to change its position on the safety of the weapons," said Geller, who represents the Dolton, Ill., Police Department. "But they should have made these statements earlier. We still have a situation where police departments were misled to believe that this weapon is safe when it is not."

Taser International has staunchly defended its weapons, stating that the guns have been used safely by law enforcement officers in the field more than 45,000 times since 1999.

Overall, they have been used safely more than 100,000 times, including demonstration firings, the company said.

The company's medical research finds that the weapons "generally" do not cause death, according to the new warning. But the document advises police to seek to control an unruly suspect immediately after the first blast rather than using the weapon again.

Some police departments are heeding the new warning.

"When our next class begins, our training will be modified," said Gwinnett police spokesman Darren Moloney, who said the department would make an effort to minimize multiple shocks.

"One of the changes in policy is that when an officer is deploying the Taser, and there are other officers present to assist, the subject will be restrained and handcuffed during the Tasing process."

No quick reaction

At least one metro Atlanta police department said it was not aware of the warning.

"We are unfamiliar with this warning and will have to research it," said Henry County police Lt. Jason Bolton.

Several other agencies, including the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department, either declined to comment or did not respond to inquiries. The Gwinnett Sheriff's Department changed its Taser policy after the latest death of a suspect subdued at the county jail — its second such case.

The new policy forbids Gwinnett deputies from placing the stun gun directly on the body of a handcuffed inmate and shocking him if there are enough deputies to restrain the prisoner.

The Georgia State Patrol is aware of the new warning bulletin and may change its Taser policy, said Gordy Wright, a spokesman for the agency, which has 200 Tasers.

"But it is really not an issue with us," Wright said. "Most of the time in our cases, the subject is compliant right after the first Tasing."

Police should avoid multiple blasts of the Taser "to minimize the potential for overexertion of the subject," according to the new warning. In addition, extended Taser shocks can harm people who are suffering from "excited delirium," the bulletin states.

"Excited delirium is a potentially fatal condition caused by a complex set of physiological conditions," according to the warning. "These subjects are at significant and potentially fatal health risks from further prolonged exertion and/or impaired breathing."

Excited delirium was named as the cause of death in 18 Taser-related cases, according to Amnesty International. Sometimes seen in drug abusers, those experiencing excited delirium often display erratic behavior and almost superhuman strength, medical experts say.

Less force better

Smith, the Taser president, said he did not think the new training bulletin called into question past medical examiners' rulings in which a Taser was ruled out as a contributing factor in a death.

"We were just basically trying to remind police to use the minimal amount of applications needed to control the situation," Smith said.

www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/gwinnett/0705/31METtaser.html

www.taser.com/savinglives/
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 12:12:02 PM EDT
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 12:12:37 PM EDT



The company has been buffeted by more than 20 lawsuits, including some filed by police officers who say they were hurt while training with Tasers. Taser sales and the company's stock have declined steadily as the death toll, now at 103 according to Amnesty International, has risen.




I don't get it.

Are these humanitarians, Amnesty, and lawsuit types unaware that the alternative to getting hit with a Taser is a couple pistol rounds to the chest?
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 12:16:30 PM EDT
Taser International postion prior to this press release was that these were totally non-lethal weapons. (aka stun gun of Star Trek fame)

Now, they are lethal weapons, just as lethal in some cases as firearms (aka a couple of pistol rounds to the chest)
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 12:20:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By banthony1:
Taser International postion prior to this press release was that these were totally non-lethal weapons. (aka stun gun of Star Trek fame)

Now, they are lethal weapons, just as lethal in some cases as firearms (aka a couple of pistol rounds to the chest)



Would you rather get hit by a tazer three times in a row, or take 2 .45 rounds to the chest?

Why?


"just as lethal"?
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 12:22:57 PM EDT
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 12:25:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Red_Beard:
Would you rather get hit by a tazer three times in a row, or take 2 .45 rounds to the chest?

Why?


"just as lethal"?



According to this article, dead is dead. You can be dead of two .45 caliber slugs or three taser hits.

I think the key difference is that LEOs are being taught that taser hits will not kill folks, but folks keep on dying.
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 12:28:48 PM EDT
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 12:33:12 PM EDT
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 12:37:02 PM EDT
"Maniac has responded with a snyde remark."

"Approach Maniac and repeat command in an even firmer tone of voice, this time add the words 'or else'."

Link Posted: 7/31/2005 12:41:34 PM EDT

Originally Posted By TomJefferson:
Duh??????? No shit Sherlock!

Now comes the backlash. Let's hope it leads to responsible use and not a ban for like it or not responsibly used it saves us tax payers money in medical costs.

BTW, if this company has stock, you just waited too long to sell.

Tj




+1

What did they think introducing multiple electrical shocks into the body would do? When you hit someone with the paddles in the hosptial, they don't keep shocking them, it'll stop their heart again.
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 12:43:19 PM EDT
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 12:46:04 PM EDT

Originally Posted By The_Beer_Slayer:

Originally Posted By lippo:

Originally Posted By TomJefferson:
Duh??????? No shit Sherlock!

Now comes the backlash. Let's hope it leads to responsible use and not a ban for like it or not responsibly used it saves us tax payers money in medical costs.

BTW, if this company has stock, you just waited too long to sell.

Tj




+1

What did they think introducing multiple electrical shocks into the body would do? When you hit someone with the paddles in the hosptial, they don't keep shocking them, it'll stop their heart again.



different designs. tasers "should not" affect arythimias of the heart. keyword there is should.




Should....right, I know what you are saying. But it's always mistified me that they wouldn't think introduction of electricity into the body wouldn't do "any" damage.

By the way, any electrical people here? What's the volt and current of tasers verses paddles verses sticking a paper clip into a light socket?
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 12:50:59 PM EDT

Originally Posted By The_Beer_Slayer:
different designs. tasers "should not" affect arythimias of the heart. keyword there is should.



Still seems to be a bad idea to introduce that much wattage (volt/amps) into the human body as a defibrillator. I've never been able to get pass that point. Now add in drugs, health problems, stress, and violence and it all adds up to a very lethal formula.
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 12:55:13 PM EDT
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 12:58:12 PM EDT

Originally Posted By lippo:
By the way, any electrical people here? What's the volt and current of tasers verses paddles verses sticking a paper clip into a light socket?


I'm no EE, but from previous training I seem to recall something about 100mA can be fatal if the current goes through the heart. And while the tasers are supposed to develop a high voltage/low amperage shock, the amerage is dependant on the resistance of the circuit, in this case the person, and there are certain circumstances than can lower a person's resistance. I think they try to keep the shock's duration down to a time where damage isn't likely.
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 1:11:08 PM EDT
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 1:53:27 PM EDT
[paraphrase] I'm the only one in this room smart enough to have a Taser! [/paraphrase]
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 2:18:35 PM EDT

Originally Posted By TheTacticalSolution:

Originally Posted By dport:

Originally Posted By lippo:
By the way, any electrical people here? What's the volt and current of tasers verses paddles verses sticking a paper clip into a light socket?


I'm no EE, but from previous training I seem to recall something about 100mA can be fatal if the current goes through the heart. And while the tasers are supposed to develop a high voltage/low amperage shock, the amerage is dependant on the resistance of the circuit, in this case the person, and there are certain circumstances than can lower a person's resistance. I think they try to keep the shock's duration down to a time where damage isn't likely.



I am an EE and lethal currents are normally much less. 20mA can cause paralysis of respiratory muscles and is a deadly current. 100mA, besides causing you to stop breathing, will also cause ventricular fibrillation.

That being said, I know guys that have taken a lot more. One guy got about 27amps across the chest and while it knocked the shit out of him, he's still around and it didn't cause any permanent damage.

Most breakers in a house are rated for 15, 20 or 30amps.


Thanks. The numbers I seemed to remember was 100mA for DC and 300mA for AC, but that was very rudimentary training. The jist of the whole thing was wear your protective equipment so you don't get dead.
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 2:42:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/31/2005 2:45:45 PM EDT by Merrell]

Originally Posted By Spade:



The company has been buffeted by more than 20 lawsuits, including some filed by police officers who say they were hurt while training with Tasers. Taser sales and the company's stock have declined steadily as the death toll, now at 103 according to Amnesty International, has risen.




I don't get it.

Are these humanitarians, Amnesty, and lawsuit types unaware that the alternative to getting hit with a Taser is a couple pistol rounds to the chest?



Problem is that some LEO were using the tasers in situations where they would clearly never use a firearm (kids, little old ladies, people in wheelchairs) - it was being used as a nightstick, while removing the psychological barrier of physical proximity (easier to abuse someone from a distance rather than up close & personal)

Couldn't care less if addicts expired, but the usage was spreading far wider than necessary.

No fan of lawyers, but I hope they sue the company out of existance. Technology in the form of human cattle prods may give some folks wood, but is offensive to civilized people (no lefty here, btw, I support the death penalty - as determined by a judge & jury)

If someone is acting up bad enough to be shot then shoot em. If they are not then don't hide behind some cheezoid StarTrek phaser ripoff. This whole "obey me or eat hot kilovolts" mantra is childish and further drives a wedge between society & leo (one that either can ill afford)

Link Posted: 7/31/2005 3:20:40 PM EDT
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 3:50:17 PM EDT

Originally Posted By The_Beer_Slayer:
yep. and it has resulted in deaths. it's been known for awhile that drugs/alcohol + taser was dangerous. atleast now they are admitting it.

mike



The very people most likely to be subjected to it.
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 4:04:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/31/2005 11:57:02 PM EDT by prk]

Originally Posted By dport:

Originally Posted By TheTacticalSolution:

Originally Posted By dport:

Originally Posted By lippo:
By the way, any electrical people here? What's the volt and current of tasers verses paddles verses sticking a paper clip into a light socket?


I'm no EE, but from previous training I seem to recall something about 100mA can be fatal if the current goes through the heart. And while the tasers are supposed to develop a high voltage/low amperage shock, the amerage is dependant on the resistance of the circuit, in this case the person, and there are certain circumstances than can lower a person's resistance. I think they try to keep the shock's duration down to a time where damage isn't likely.



I am an EE and lethal currents are normally much less. 20mA can cause paralysis of respiratory muscles and is a deadly current. 100mA, besides causing you to stop breathing, will also cause ventricular fibrillation.

That being said, I know guys that have taken a lot more. One guy got about 27amps across the chest and while it knocked the shit out of him, he's still around and it didn't cause any permanent damage.

Most breakers in a house are rated for 15, 20 or 30amps.


Thanks. The numbers I seemed to remember was 100mA for DC and 300mA for AC, but that was very rudimentary training. The jist of the whole thing was wear your protective equipment so you don't get dead.



While it's the current that kills you, what voltages do they operate at? Most small consumer electronics use wall warts rated 300mA - 700mA & under 12v.

The Van De Graf generator from science fairs makes high voltage, low current sparks. A spark plug wire can get your attention, but I don't know the V & A figures - a few kv, maybe, but no idea on the current.

I also made a Jacob's Ladder from a neon light transformer. I knew better than to touch that thing. With a clear acrylic shield around it, we could get the arc to about 4-6 inches. Without it, it was an embarassment 1-2" and would go out before it got halfway up. The plstic kept the ionized air close to the electrodes, I guess. Oops, back to your topic.
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 4:09:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By The_Beer_Slayer:
all of our LEO taser apologists have been strangely quiet on this thread.




Personally, I love seeing morons getting tazed.
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 4:10:14 PM EDT

Originally Posted By prk:

Originally Posted By dport:

Originally Posted By TheTacticalSolution:

Originally Posted By dport:

Originally Posted By lippo:
By the way, any electrical people here? What's the volt and current of tasers verses paddles verses sticking a paper clip into a light socket?


I'm no EE, but from previous training I seem to recall something about 100mA can be fatal if the current goes through the heart. And while the tasers are supposed to develop a high voltage/low amperage shock, the amerage is dependant on the resistance of the circuit, in this case the person, and there are certain circumstances than can lower a person's resistance. I think they try to keep the shock's duration down to a time where damage isn't likely.



I am an EE and lethal currents are normally much less. 20mA can cause paralysis of respiratory muscles and is a deadly current. 100mA, besides causing you to stop breathing, will also cause ventricular fibrillation.

That being said, I know guys that have taken a lot more. One guy got about 27amps across the chest and while it knocked the shit out of him, he's still around and it didn't cause any permanent damage.

Most breakers in a house are rated for 15, 20 or 30amps.


Thanks. The numbers I seemed to remember was 100mA for DC and 300mA for AC, but that was very rudimentary training. The jist of the whole thing was wear your protective equipment so you don't get dead.



While it's the current that kills you, what voltages do they operate at? Most small consumer electronics use wall warts rated 300mA - 700mA & under 12v.

The Van De Graf generator from science fairs makes high voltage, low current sparks. A spark plug wire can get your attention, but I don't know the V & A figures - a few kv, maybe, but no idea on the current.

I also made a Jacob's Ladder from a neon light transformer. I knew better than to touch that thing. With a clear acrylic shield around it, we could get the arc to about 4-6 inches. Without it, it was an embarassment 1-2" and would go out before it got halfway up. The plstic kept the ionized air close to the electrodes, I guess. Oops, back you your topic.


Someone may want to check my numbers, but IIRC BEE correctly 12V @ 700mA assumes a resistance of ~17 Ohms. The human body under normal circumstances has something like 17kOhms. So given that voltage and a normal human resistance that same power supply would only produce .71mA.
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 6:01:14 PM EDT
If a 75 y/o woman forget to take her meds and was acting crazy with a carving knife, how many times do you think you'd need to taser her?

I understand already that there is training that goes along with the issue of tasers, but as we find out more about the mis-use/ abuse, the training must evolve as well. It's still a new technology that can be very beneficial when the proper usage can be figured out.
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 6:07:29 PM EDT
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 6:59:32 PM EDT

Originally Posted By TomJefferson:

Originally Posted By Johnny_Reno:

Originally Posted By The_Beer_Slayer:
all of our LEO taser apologists have been strangely quiet on this thread.




Personally, I love seeing morons getting tazed.



I think we all do to an extent, it's the making sure of the MORON part we like to be sure of not a little handcuffed 9 year old girl won't set down or grandma won't leave the rest home.

Irate adult male and I'll be laughing right there with you.

Tj



Me too, No problem with a lot of them but I was getting the impression that more then a few officers were getting their jollies off using them, especially in situations where it was to show their authority rather then to gain compliance.
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 7:19:57 PM EDT

Me too, No problem with a lot of them but I was getting the impression that more then a few officers were getting their jollies off using them, especially in situations where it was to show their authority rather then to gain compliance.



At $20+ for each cartridge (hooks, wires, ID tags,) I doubt someone that has to account for what they are issued is going to piss them away. How much you wanna bet it's going to get to the point where they have to as much paperwork as if they shot someone with a regular firearm?
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 7:51:47 PM EDT
I like the Tasers in anycase. For those that rail against it, I suppose they prefer the alternative - bullets or a beat down with a baton.


I do have a problem with the company because they discriminate against civilians. The civilian model does not have the same power as the LE model, which they won't let be sold to civilians. Why? Is the LE's life any more important to defend than my own life? If they weren't supposed to be lethal, what difference does it make if the civilian uses the full power model? I think it's an extremely biased policy for a supposedly non-lethal product. I want to defend my life just as much as an LE wants to defend theirs.

I recently wrote to Taser Int, Inc. about their policy, now I am waiting on a response.
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