Last week's guest with George Knapp, John Alexander, an expert in non-lethal weapons, claimed that no one has ever been killed by a Taser. George received a number of emails to the contrary. In this letter, Alexander responds:
There is no doubt that people die after the use of Taser. People die after reading newspapers, watching TV, or just breathing, but that does not infer a causal relationship. A few coroners have listed Taser as a possible contributing cause, but most of those have lost out in court.
Bottom line, despite the claims of Amnesty International (AI), there is zero probability that Taser has caused any death, and exceedingly small probability that Taser was a contributory cause of death in any case. AI simply lists every case in which death follows the use of Taser. At times, those deaths have been days later...
The common factor in all deaths following the use of a Taser was the behavior of the suspect that led them to interact with police. The two leading issues are drug use and exertion from fighting with police. Excited delirium is an established cause of death and there are a few people who are unaware that they have potential heart problems.
There is also the oft repeated figure of "50,000 volts" shot through their bodies. This number is specious and totally irrelevant. Volts don't kill, amps do. See how many stories report the amperage, or in Taser's case, milliamps. The amps are 0.0026. That is far less than what one would receive from a Christmas Tree light bulb, which runs about one amp...
We do have a control group that can be measured. Now over 750,000 people have been exposed to Taser voluntarily, and when they were not involved in illegal or aberrant activities, there have been ZERO (0) deaths in that group. IF Taser were even a contributory cause of death, there would be some small number of death anticipated. BTW: contrary to opponents comments, all of these volunteers were not medically screened healthy young males.
To date, Taser has been held "partially responsible" as a cause of death in one of the about 80 cases that has gone to court. That bizarre finding held that Taser was 15 percent responsible, and that the victim's voluntary use of illegal drugs was 85 percent responsible. In 41 states, Taser could not have been held responsible when the irrational behavior of an individual was the primary cause. That California case is not over yet, but the jury's award for punitive damages were thrown out...
Tasers save lives!
FTR: I have no relationship to Taser International