Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Today's TASER Travesty

"At the same time Taser International is publicly telling police to avoid aiming at a suspect's chest, the company is privately telling police officers [in conference calls closed to the public and press] that there is virtually no problem aiming at a suspect's chest."

Then why did Taser bother to issue the training bulletin in the first place?

"Instead, Taser officials told police the bulletin is not about safety as much as it is about liability. By advising officers to avoid shooting at the chest, they are avoiding a potential controversy if a case ever goes to trial."

It's clear that the company's recent actions are much more about rear end-covering than a serious attempt to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries resulting from misuse of their product (cops deploying the TASER as a compliance tool rather than a less-than-lethal weapon intended for the self-defense of both police officers and innocent citizens). This latest move from the company is right in line with some of their other actions in recent years, which also tend to contradict their official statements:

"Taser maintained that no officer had ever been injured during training exercises. At the time, police across the country were reporting injuries that they blamed on Tasers.

Taser said independent medical studies confirmed the safety of the stun gun. However, Taser officials were involved in many aspects of the studies and government researches said they did not look at stun gun safety.

Taser officials have said they welcome scientific debate about the stun gun. But the company has sued reporters, researchers, medical examiners and others who have raised questions about the stun gun's safety."

To cap things off, Robert Anglen, who authored the piece, reports that the Arizona Republic contacted Taser and openly asked to listen in on the conference call between the company and police agencies, even though the paper had been alerted to the call and was in possession of the means to monitor the conversation in secret. Taser declined:

"Note: The Republic learned about the tele-conference in advance and was provided access codes. Rather than listen surreptitiously to the conference, a reporter contacted Taser and asked permission to listen. Taser refused."

The more we learn about Taser International and their questionable business practices, the less we think of them. We're irritated that they share our current location in Scottsdale, Arizona, because we believe that their presence reflects badly on this city.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's simple -- if an officer improperly uses a Taser, let the victim (or his survivor) shoot the officer with a Taser in the same way the cop did.