Taser safety issues

Taser safety issues relate to the lethality of the Taser. The TASER device is a less-lethal, not non-lethal, weapon, since the possibility of serious injury or death exists whenever the weapon is deployed.[1] It is a brand of conducted electroshock weapon sold by Axon, formerly TASER International. Sharp barbed metal projectiles delivering an electric current are used, so misuse or abuse of the weapon increases the likelihood that serious injury or death may occur. In addition, the manufacturer has identified other risk factors that may increase the risks of use, including repeated, extended, or continuous exposure to the weapon. Because of this, the Police Executive Research Forum says that total exposure should not exceed 15 seconds.[2] Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Paul Howard Jr. said in 2020 that “under Georgia law, a taser is considered as a deadly weapon.”[3][4][5]

Police issue X26 TASER device with cartridge installed

A 2012 study published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation found that Tasers can cause "ventricular arrhythmias, sudden cardiac arrest and even death." At least 49 people died in 2018 in the US after being shocked by police with a Taser.[6][7]

Medical conditions or use of illegal drugs can significantly heighten such risk for subjects in an at-risk category.[8] In some cases however, death occurred after Taser use coupled with the use of force alone, such as positional asphyxiation, with no evidence of underlying medical condition and no use of drugs.[9][10]


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