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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Taser fends off attacks after suspected stun gun deaths

November 20, 2007

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The US manufacturer of the Taser stun gun was on the defensive Tuesday after three more men (actually, it's now FIVE more men) died this week in separate incidents having been stunned by police. The three men, all in their early 20s, were reported to have died in the United States -- one in Florida, one in Maryland, and one in New Mexico -- days after an amateur video was released to the media, showing Canadian police repeatedly tasering a Polish man at Vancouver airport. That man, Robert Dziekanski, 40, fell to the ground and died after the police officers piled on top of him.

In a statement issued after the release of the video showing Dziekanski being tasered and dying, the Arizona-based company said similar deaths have been shown by "medical science and forensic analysis" to be "attributable to other factors and not the low-energy electrical discharge of the Taser."

Taser says on its website that its M26 TASER, which is used by police, delivers a "maximum voltage ... across the body of the target of about 5,000 volts, with only 1.3 volts average." The Canadian Mounted Police though said on its website that the instruments they use pulse 50,000 volts at 26 watts for up to five seconds into suspects.

Taser said the media have been too hasty in pinning the blame for deaths on the stun gun. "The media doesn't understand the technology. Everyone wants us to be guilty and therefore they don't have to look any further than the end of their nose," a spokesperson for Taser told AFP. Taser founder Tom Smith has strenuously denied that the stun gun was the cause of Dziekanski's death. "The video of the incident at 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 causing cardiac arrest," Smith has said in a statement. "His continuing struggle is proof that the Taser device was not the cause of his death."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

at last I see that the drudgereport.com has posted a story about tasers - this will really help. Cheers, Blaine from Kamloops