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What are the risks of the police using Tasers?

In the early 2000’s, an innovation from the 1970’s gained increasing popularity with police departments all over the country that is still in use today. A Taser, also known as a stun gun, is primarily used to incapacitate someone who either poses a threat or needs to be immobilized to have handcuffs put on.

A Taser has two wires with probes and when it enters a body it will overload a person’s nerves with an electric shock. This will cause a person to fall to the ground with no ability to control movement.

The use of Tasers has seen its share of controversy with many people filing personal injury lawsuits after the device was used on them. Tasers have also been described as an alternative to a police officer using their weapon, though even this claim has been challenged.

When should a Taser be used?

Police officers are instructed to use deadly force when they are faced with a situation where their life is in grave danger. A Taser is supposed to be an alternative to using a gun to help aid in the apprehension of a suspect. Because Taser guns are not considered to be lethal weapons, Tasers are usually authorized to be used to gain control of a suspect in certain situations.

When is using a Taser considered abuse?

There has not been a standard definition applied to how the use of a Taser can be labeled as abuse. Each situation that is put into question will have a court decide based on the factors presented if there was abuse. Abuse from a Taser or the use of excessive force by a police officer using a Taser may come when:

  • The use of a Taser is used on a person who may only be passively resisting an arrest;
  • When multiple Tasers are used on a person;
  • When the use of a Taser is used repeatedly for no apparent reason;
  • When a Taser causes a death or long-term physical injuries;
  • When a Taser is used on someone who is elderly, pregnant or is a minor.

A report from 2017 showed there was 1,042 deaths relating to the use of Tasers and nearly half of those resulted in a lawsuit for wrongful death. The improper use of a Taser or one that is used in excessive force can cause seriously and life-long injuries. You should speak to an attorney to discuss the details of your case and see if what you experienced with a Taser was justified or not.

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