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.
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Sunday, November 18, 2007
November 17, 2007