Taser Nation: Are Cops Using Tasers Too Often?

Taser-Related Deaths

No federal agency keeps track of injuries or deaths related to Taser usage. Amnesty International claims that since 2001 it has registered 270 "Taser-related deaths," or incidents in which a Taser was used prior to a suspect's death "but not deemed the primary cause of death by a coroner or medical examiner."

Amnesty International has recorded only seven cases in which a medical professional directly linked a Taser to death.

"In 2004, there were 48 related deaths. In 2005, there were 65 related deaths. That's a 27 percent increase," said Amnesty's Mona Cadena. "More cops using more Tasers equals more deaths. We have to ask ourselves: Is the Taser really nonlethal?"

Taser has its own figures. In the 54 wrongful death cases brought against the company, it has won every single one.

"We're 54 and 0 in wrongful deaths cases. In a courtroom sound bytes don't count. We have time to debunk the junk science and demonstrate the safety of our product," Tuttle said.

In many Taser-related deaths, the victims were using drugs, were overweight and in an already excitable state some doctors call "excited delirium."

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