Police tasers are gaining popularity in police departments around the country. Police tasers were the topic at last month’s session of the Portsmouth Senior Citizens Police Academy. Police officers showed the seniors gathered at the meeting what a taser looks like and described how it is used in police work.
At least one senior citizen expressed concern that tasers could cause heart attacks. Those concerns were quickly quieted by police officers. One officer is quoted by Seacoastonline.com as saying that “It [the taser] doesn’t have any long lasting effects.”
Evidence and individual experiences with police tasers suggest that not all taser victims are lucky enough to avoid long lasting effects, as the Portsmouth officer claims. Amnesty International reports that since 2001, 351 people have been killed by police tasers in the United States. Only a small percentage of these people were armed at the time of the tasering. Those killed have included all age groups from teenagers to senior citizens.
In 2005, Illinois became the first state to enact legislation requiring stun gun owners to register their weapon in the same manner as a firearm. In support of the legislation, the Illinois Governor acknowledged that tasers can be lethal.
The Portsmouth police officers would be justified in saying that tasers are less deadly than guns. However, that does not mean that they are safe or do not have any long lasting effects. While more research is needed, that is not funded by taser manufacturers, there is evidence to suggest that those who are most vulnerable to taser related injuries and death are those with underlying medical conditions. A police officer has no way of knowing whether the person whom they shoot with a taser has an underlying medical condition.
If you have been hurt, or a loved one has been killed, by a police taser then you should consult with local civil rights counsel. The Chicago civil rights lawyers of Dolan Law Officers are committed to protecting the people of Illinois against unnecessary police force and taser injuries. Your local civil rights lawyers have the same commitment to your case.