Did you know that Tasers have been involved in more than three hundred deaths?
Dozens of others have suffered Taser related injuries. I respect that sometimes force is needed to subdue a non-compliant suspect. And while no one is suggesting that police should not defend themselves against violent attacks.
However, because Tasers are classified as "non-lethal" they are not routinely used to protect cops from deadly force – guns do that.
So how is it that increasingly cops with Tasers are becoming judge, jury and executioner of people who by Constitution are innocent until proven guilty?
You shouldn't have to die because you're being unruly. We are a better country than that. ...
Human rights organizations such as Amnesty International have long argued that most of the deaths associated with Tasers are related to multiple uses or prolonged usage of the weapon on the same person. Since 2001, there have been over 300 deaths that Amnesty has studied where Tasers were involved - a significant number involved either multiple uses or prolonged usage of the Taser. In over 20 of those cases, coroners have listed Tasers as the contributing factor. In only 10 percent of the cases was the Tasered individual actually carrying a weapon.
The problem is starting to gain more attention from diverse groups. One of the most comprehensive sites, operated by the African American Political Pundit, is tracking Taser incidents and calls itself "Tasered While Black." Its objective is to call out the problems with tasers:
We are not against Taser use as an alternative to deadly force. We are however against Taser abuse by rogue cops who consider the Taser an apartheid electrocution whip of the 21st century
In March, a 17 year old black student, Darryl Turner was killed by Taser. The Charlotte, North Carolina coroner has determined that the Taser wrecked his heart. Here is one reaction to Darryl Turner's death as shared by Wayne Hicks of the Electronic Village blog:
It stuns me that anyone would think that the police are justified in killing this young man. He did not have a weapon. Police said Turner had been threatening the officer after having disagreement with his employer. It just seems that the penalty for disagreeing with your Food Lion boss should not be execution
Turner's case is so outrageous, that even the AARP has called the situation out, demanding that police and prosecutors reveal how many times Turner was tased.
You will be hearing more, much more about Tasers in the near future. Be on the lookout and stay tuned.