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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Taser International refrains from suing the US Government

As far as I know, Taser International hasn't yet launched a lawsuit against the US National Institute of Justice (NIJ), but has instead praised this arm of the US Department of Justice for acknowledging, among other things (see below), that "many aspects of the safety of CED technology are not well-known, especially when used on populations other than normal, healthy adults." But indeed, why would they? A lawsuit, in this case, would be akin to tasing themselves in the heart, when the report (in its complimentary moments) relies on the "expertise" of some of the founding members of the Taser International fan club, including, for example, a member of the company's own advisory board, Mark Kroll, and this Jeffrey Ho guy who, from what I heard, got a ride to the Braidwood Inquiry in a Taser jet.

Have a look at the Selected References section of the Study of Deaths Following Electro Muscular Disruption (Interim Report).

Even CEO Rick Smith is acknowledged on the list of those whose "information, insight and knowledge benefited the development of this interim report."

Keep in mind that the US Government would be seen by the manufacturer as an outstanding prospective client.

Here is the Taser International PR machine in action today:

TASER International Commends Department of Justice Study Which Concludes That Law Enforcement Need Not Refrain From Deploying Conductive Energy Devices

Expert Panel Finds There is No Conclusive Medical Evidence to Indicate a High Risk of Serious Injury or Death From the Direct Effects of Devices

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., June 26, 2008 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- TASER International, Inc. (Nasdaq:TASR), the market leader in advanced electronic control devices (ECDs), commends the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) interim report, Study of Deaths Following Electro Muscular Disruption, for its invaluable independent findings regarding conducted energy devices (CED) such as TASER(r) brand ECDs.

The study was undertaken by NIJ, the research, development and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice, to "address whether CEDs can contribute to or cause mortality and if so, in what ways," according the reports background. The expert panel of physicians, medical examiners, and other relevant specialists in cardiology, emergency medicine, epidemiology, pathology and toxicology concluded that, "(a)lthough exposure to CED is not risk free, there is no conclusive medical evidence within the state of current medical research that indicates a high risk of serious injury or death from the direct effects of CED exposure."

"The findings from this two-year NIJ study contribute greatly to the significant body of independent research and analysis concerning the safety of TASER electronic control devices," commented Steve Tuttle, Vice President of Communications for TASER International.

Other findings contained in the interim report, which was released earlier this week, include:

"Law enforcement need not refrain from deploying CEDs provided the devices are used in accordance with accepted national guidelines;"

"The potential for moderate or severe injury related to CED exposure is low;"

"CEDs can produce secondary or indirect effects that may result in death;"

"There is currently no medical evidence that CEDs pose a significant risk for induced cardiac dysrhythmia when deployed reasonably;"

"Research shows that human subjects maintain the ability to breathe during exposure to CED;"

"CED technology may be a contributor to 'stress' when stress is an issue related to cause of death determination;"

"Excited delirium is one of several terms that describe a syndrome characterized by psychosis and agitation and may be caused by several underlying conditions;"

"Excited delirium that requires subdual carries with it a high risk of death, regardless of the method of subdual;"

"Current human research suggests that the use of CED is not a life-threatening stressor in cases of excited delirium beyond the generalized stress of the underlying condition or appropriate subdual;"

"There is no medical evidence that exposure to CED has an effect on body temperature;"

"The purported safety margins of CED deployment on normal healthy adults may not be applicable in small children, those with diseased hearts, the elderly, those that are pregnant and other at-risk individuals. The effects of CED exposure in these populations are not clearly understood and more data are needed. The use of a CED against these populations (when recognized) should be avoided but may be necessary if the situation excludes other reasonable options;"

"The medical risks of repeated or continuous CED exposure are unknown and the role of CEDs in causing death is unclear in these cases. There may be circumstances in which repeated or continuous exposure is required but law enforcement should be aware that the associated risks are unknown;" and

"All CED use should conform to agency policy. The decision to use a CED or another force option is best left to the tactical judgment of trained law enforcement at the scene."

NIJ expects to release a final report in 2009.

The complete interim report (21 pages), Study of Deaths Following Electro Muscular Disruption, can be found at: http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/222981.pdf.


Nate said...

Glad someone else saw this. I just wrote about it yesterday. One of the pathology panel members seems very pro-taser.

Anonymous said...

"Taser jet" ? I thought it was a mid-level prop-driven airplane that Mr. Smith uses to siphon-off..., sorry, be reimbursed for, 'reasonable expenses'?