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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Dallas PD Trainee Goes a TASER Too Far

January 11, 2011
Andrea Grimes, Dallas Observer

A Dallas Police Department officer filed suit last week against Taser International, alleging that during training exercises, he was Tased to the point of breaking his back. According to court documents, Andrew Keith Butler received a five-second Tasing from the electronic stun guns during a January 2009 training session, and as a result, Butler's "muscles contracted uncontrollably causing him to suffer injuries, including a compression fracture of his back caused by the muscle contractions."

Court documents allege negligence on behalf of Taser International, which the suit says had reason to believe the application of its products could cause serious injury, but that the company misrepresented the danger to the DPD trainees:
"Prior to Plaintiff's injuries Defendant was aware that numerous police officers had been injured in Taser training as a result of having the Taser applied to the officers including knowledge of compression fracture injuries arising from muscle contractions similar to Plaintiff's injuries. The nature and extent of these type injuries during Taser training and the possible risks of fracture injuries arising from the application of the Taser was misrepresented in the Taser training of Defendant."

Butler, who is in his 30s, is seeking damages for "conscious physical pain and suffering" as well as physical impairment, disfigurement, lost wages and medical care. Butler's lawyer, Mark Haney out of Fort Worth, says his client's injury came directly from the Taser-induced muscle contractions in Butler's back and that Butler will have "problems in the long term." Butler has already undergone surgery, Haney tells Unfair Park, and "has made as good a recovery as he is going to make."

Haney says that Butler (along with other cops suffering from similar injuries) submitted to the Tasing voluntarily because certified Taser trainers made the eletroshock seem "harmless."

Read the full complaint HERE.

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