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Friday, December 03, 2010

Taser attack immigrant may have died asphyxiated

December 3, 2010

A Malian immigrant who died after French police used a Taser on him probably succumbed to asphyxiation, according to a preliminary report of an autopsy carried out this week. But his heart may have been affected by the use of the stun gun
The man’s death on Monday night caused renewed calls for a ban on Tasers by far-left politician Olvier Besancenot, who has campaigned on the issue for some time. The left-wing Front de Gauche and human rights groups, Raid-H and Mrap, echoed his demand.

Philippe Sarre, the Socialist mayor of Colombes, the suburb of Paris where the incident took place, has also declared that the weapon should be banned “if it turns out to be lethal”.

But the preliminary autopsy report was extremely cautious in its analysis of the cause of death.

There is “no certain, unique and absolute cause of death”, it said. The man “died of acute asphyxiation caused by inhaling gas since blood was found in his lungs”, it reports but adds that his heart was “hard and contracted possibly due to the use of the Taser”.

The police used tear gas and batons when the man, who had no valid residency papers, ran away from them, later attacking four officers with a hammer.

Police watchdog IGS has been ordered to investigate the use of Tasers by French police.

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