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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Taser manufacturer says Dziekanski's death not caused by taser

November 17, 2007
Globe and Mail

Taser International Inc. lashes out a media in statement released late Friday, sends 60 legal letters demanding corrections to 'false and misleading headlines'

The following statement, released late Friday, is attributed to Tom Smith, founder and chairman of Arizona-based TASER International Inc., in response to the death of Robert Dziekanski at the Vancouver airport:

An amateur video of the incident that was released earlier this week has received sensational coverage from the media with many reports drawing an unsubstantiated and uninformed conclusion as to the cause of Mr. Dziekanski's death.

This tragic incident appears to follow the pattern of many in-custody deaths or deaths following a confrontation with police. Historically medical science and forensic analysis has shown that these deaths are attributable to other factors and not the low-energy electrical discharge of the TASER. Specifically in Canada, while previous incidents were widely reported in the media as 'TASER deaths,' the role of the TASER device has been cleared in every case to date – including the widely publicized Bagnell in-custody death in Vancouver where the TASER device was cleared by an inquest jury.

Cardiac arrest caused by electrical current is immediate. The video of the incident at the Vancouver airport indicates that the subject was continuing to fight well after the TASER application. This continuing struggle could not be possible if the subject died as a result of the TASER device electrical current causing cardiac arrest. His continuing struggle is proof that the TASER device was not the cause of his death. Further, the video clearly shows symptoms of excited delirium, a potentially fatal condition marked by symptoms of exhaustion and mania such as heavy breathing, profuse sweating, confusion, disorientation and violence toward inanimate objects.

We are taken aback by the number of media outlets that have irresponsibly published conclusive headlines blaming the TASER device and/or the law enforcement officers involved as the cause of death before completion of the investigation. These sensationalistic media reports completely ignore the earmark symptoms of excited delirium shown in the video. TASER International is transmitting over 60 legal demand letters requiring correction of these false and misleading headlines and will take other actions as appropriate. These unsubstantiated, false headlines mislead the public and could adversely influence public policy in ways which could place the lives of both law enforcement and the public at greater risk.


Anonymous said...

It sounds like taser is worried that all the negativity publicity will threaten their quarterly earnings and sink their share price! Keep it up everyone. As far as I'm concerned, a taser dumbs down its operaters. People are forgetting how to resolve conflicts in a non combative way. Get rid of them and educate the masses how to get along and help each other. When people learn to respect one another again, then the public and law enforcement will be at a lower risk, and not the other way around, as taser would like us to believe. Blaine in Kamloops

E. John Love said...

My grandfather was a Mountie from 1918 to 1948. In those 30 years of service, I'm fairly sure he had to get physical or defend himself, or put himself in some kind of confrontational situation. He would have done it using his voice, his hands, or a baton.

Four big guys with tasers on top of one unarmed man is not appropriate nor reasonable. It is excessive.

Anonymous said...

Yoy bet they are scared ! If a "clean" study were to find the device triggers or (conributes to) certain types of ventricular dysrrythmia on a certain medical profile, the company would be out of business overnight. The probability of this seems pretty high: there are a few critical seconds of "convalescence" after tasering in which obstructed breathing may bring about cardiac arrest even in relatively healthy persons.