Police need to realize that this 50,000 shock is known to cause deaths and needs to be used only under the right circumstances. Taser International Inc. claims that these non-lethal weapons are “changing the world and saving lives everyday.” Although, according to the 2008 Amnesty International report found that there were 351 Taser-related deaths in the U.S. between June 2001 and August 2008, in which brings about 4 deaths per month (Tencer). Tasers are capable of causing cardiac arrhythmia. This is where the electrical shock can mess up the rate and rhythm of the heart. The could lead to ventricular heart attack, which leads to cardiac arrest and, if not treated immediately, to sudden death (NHLBI). It is really dangerous to use on people with medical conditions and it’s difficult for police officers to be able to gauge an individual's medical history and prior drug use before utilizing a Taser on them.
Ryan Lewis from Colorado is a perfect example of how a Taser was misused and caused a harmless suspect to fall to his death. Police were staked out near a marijuana field as Ryan showed up. Ryan was caught off-guard and immediately took off running. Officer John Harris pursued the 22-year-old for about a half-mile and then shot him once with his X-26 Taser. This resulted Ryan to go down where he began to convulse. The officer tried everything to revive him but Ryan was pronounced dead at that scene. After an autopsy was completed, no alcohol or drugs were in his system and they concluded that the cause was attributed to the Taser shock, physical exertion from the chase and that one of his heart arteries was unusually small (Talvi). This story should be used as a lesson to all police officers regarding the dangers of applying this type of force, as the result could be death.
Ryan Lewis - Taser Death by Talvi
Arrhythmia - National Heat Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Analysis: Taser-related deaths in US Accelerating by Tencer