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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Trigger memory can be faulty - "critical stress amnesia"???

March 23, 2011
Sydney Morning Herald

A type of amnesia can cause police to forget how many times they fire their weapons, a death in custody inquest has been told by a US Taser expert.

Richard Wyant on Wednesday gave evidence at an inquest into the death of Antonio Galeano after he was tasered multiple times by police.

The 39-year-old died on the floor of his girlfriend's home at Brandon, in north Queensland, in June 2009, after police were called to a disturbance.

Advertisement: Story continues below Senior Constable Craig Myles has admitted tasering Galeano eight times.

But the Taser gun he used recorded that Galeano had been tasered 28 times with a 50,000 volt shock.

Mr Wyant, giving video testimony from Baltimore, Maryland, said it was not uncommon for a police officer to forget the number of times he pulled the trigger of a Taser or a gun.

He said the phenomenon was described as critical stress amnesia.

Mr Wyant, who holds a licence to use a Taser in the US, said the only time he had cause to use a Taser he was affected by critical stress amnesia.

"I'd swear I pulled the trigger twice, but I really pulled it five times," he said.

He said he knew of another case where a police officer had said he fired two shots, but an empty magazine lay on the ground nearby and other shots had been fired after reloading.

The inquest continues.

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