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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tasers: torture devices or Christmas presents?

November 27, 2007
Melissa Blasius, 12 News

As Taser International launches a holiday sales campaign for its newest consumer model, the United Nations issues a scathing report about the law enforcement version of the weapon.

The U.N. Committee Against Torture wrote in a report about Portugal this month, “The Committee was worried that the use of Taser X26 weapons, provoking extreme pain, constituted torture.” The committee also commented about the possibility of death in some cases. The committee is a watchdog for prisoner rights around the world.

Taser International founder Tom Smith characterized the U.N. as “out of touch” with active, modern law enforcement. He defended the device, saying it reduces injuries to suspects and officers in 40 countries. He adds Taser executives will travel to Washington, D.C., this week in an effort to get United Nations officials to reassess the weapon.

Smith says he is concerned how the U.N. report could impact sales. The company recently launched a Christmas campaign to advertise the new consumer Taser, called the C2. It’s marketed as a self-defense device, especially for women. It comes in unintimidating hot pink and several other colors. It’s also not shaped like a gun and costs about $350 dollars. Both the C2 and X26 use the same voltage. They have different ranges and pulse cycles.

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