Cop-Cams: Taser’s Last Shot at Getting Beyond the Stun Gun

Then, in July 2004, the New York Times ran a front-page story questioning claims by Taser that its stun guns were “nonlethal.” Three months later, CBS News released the results of a yearlong investigative report that said getting shocked by a Taser could, in fact, be deadly. Those reports mentioned at least 50 cases in which someone Tasered by police died soon afterward. That same year, Amnesty International released a report that accused Taser of contributing to violations of “international standards prohibiting torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”

In Taser’s 2003 annual report, the company cited six cases of open litigation against it, two of which involved the deaths of people who were shocked with Taser weapons. Two years later, in 2005, it listed 56 cases of product liability alone, 31 of which alleged wrongful deaths. That winter, the Securities and Exchange Commission began an informal inquiry into the company, which had told shareholders its weapon was “nonlethal.” From December 2004 to September 2005, when the SEC formalized its investigation, Taser’s stock price dropped 80 percent.

Taser said fatalities tied to its devices were the result of drug use by suspects in custody, preexisting health conditions, or misuse by police officers who failed to follow its training. The SEC eventually dropped the matter.  Personal injury lawyers did not…

So far hundreds of lawsuits alleging wrongful death or serious injury have resulted in tens of millions of dollars in judgments against the company, although many of the awards have been sharply reduced on appeal…

In his most recent case, a 50-year-old actress named Angela Jones was approached by police on an Encino (Calif.) road in June 2012 while sitting in her car, which was illegally parked. She offered to drive on. The officers conducted a field sobriety test, which she passed. Then they said they wanted to check her background and asked to see her purse. In a video taken by a dash-cam in the cruiser behind her car, Jones responds, “I just don’t feel like I want you to take my purse from me,” and gets back in her vehicle. As she reaches for the door, one of the officers deploys a Taser, striking her in the chest. Jones starts screaming as the Taser shock goes on for nearly 40 seconds, and then becomes unresponsive, having gone into cardiac arrest…

Taser is already benefiting from the national demands for transparency, which have been building for years. In last year’s fourth quarter, when Obama made his proposal, Taser’s Axon revenues were $6.4 million, a 159 percent increase from a year earlier. This year, Taser’s body camera sales were up 288 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier. The company’s shares, which have been on a tear since August, ended at a 10-year high on Friday after the Justice Department announcement…

Not one mention in this article about Taser’s activities in New Mexico, which is chronicled on this website:

Tuesday, May 05, 2015
Which Councilors Are Running For Mayor? Taser Sour Here But Sweet Nationally And The Richest Man In NM Not Quite As Rich Now

That DOJ blessing could be be enough to keep Taser around ABQ for a long time, despite its controversial involvement with Schultz. Still, there is this:

A high-ranking retired member of the department (says) they had serious concerns about those (Taser) cameras. They say the gear was “shoved down their throats,” even as people questioned their reliability…

One thought on “Cop-Cams: Taser’s Last Shot at Getting Beyond the Stun Gun

  1. More police brutality. Keep the cams though and give the public a fair shake at what is right. Then each month go over the cams and see what interesting information comes as a result. It is almost as we need lawyers along for every arrest, in courts and the jails.

    Liked by 1 person

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