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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Amnesty International UK: Response to death of man after being struck by taser in Cumbria

August 17, 2011

Amnesty International has today (17 August) reiterated its concern of the wider deployment of Tasers after a man living in Barrow, Cumbria died after he was struck by the weapon.

Amnesty International spokesperson Eulette Ewart said:

“While we’re not able to comment on the details of this specific tragic incident, Amnesty International has long been concerned at the wider deployment of the Taser across UK police forces.

“Tasers are potentially lethal and therefore should only be used in a limited set of instances where there is a very real threat of loss of life.

“Only officers who receive the highest standard of training on how and when to use Tasers should be armed with these weapons and there must be a high level of accountability whenever Tasers are used.”

Notes to the Editor

· In 2006, a 47-year-old man died after being shocked with a Taser. Brian Loan was believed to be the first person in the UK to die after being shocked with the electro-shock weapon. A Home Office post-mortem reportedly found that he had died of “natural causes”.

· Last month an 82-year-old man was hospitalised for days after being Tasered in west London by a Metropolitan Police officer. The man was reported to have been arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and criminal damage to a motor vehicle.

· Police in the United States have carried Tasers for several years. Since 2001, Amnesty International has recorded the deaths of more than 450 people in the United States after they were struck with a Taser. In many instances, most of the deceased were unarmed and did not appear to present a serious threat when they were shocked, in some cases several times.

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