The Taser Controversy - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/18/06

The Taser Controversy

Taser International, the makers of the device, have studies that show tasers are among the safer use-of-force alternatives to subdue violent individuals. But in more than one hundred taser related incidents, that wasn't the case.

A taser gun can shoot a person standing 21 feet away and it sends a 50,000 volt shock designed to incapacitate a person who is uncontrollable. NewsChannel 11 has found that in these Texas cities, Amarillo, Austin, Fort Worth, and Rio Vista, at least four people died after police tased them. Now Lubbock is on the map.

Nationally those numbers are much bigger. We found 163 cases in the last seven years, where someone died following a police taser strike. A human rights group called Amnesty International is concerned that many U.S. police agencies are deploying tasers as a routine force option.

According to their research, "in some departments tasers have become the most prevalent force tool. They have been used against unruly schoolchildren, unarmed mentally disturbed or intoxicated individuals, suspects fleeing minor crime scenes and people who argue with police or fail to comply immediately with a command."

NewsChannel 11 captured a incident back in December. Lubbock police tased a man as he was resisting arrest. He still kept running. When police caught him, he was still uncooperative and police had to tase him again. He suffered minor injuries.

Amnesty argues tasers in these cases violate international standards prohibiting torture or other cruel inhumane treatment.

NewsChannel 11 contacted taser International. They say no one should jump to conclusions on the cause of Juan Nunez's death until all the facts are known. They say they "believe in the life saving value of taser technology and are prepared to help the investigation of this unfortunate incident." We are waiting to hear the results of the autopsy report. It will explain Nunez's cause of death.

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