Last Friday in Townsville a man died after police hit him more than 20 times with a Taser. Anthony Galeano died about 15 minutes after he was Tasered. Deputy Police Commissioner Ian Stewart confirmed the Taser was activated 28 times but refused to say when police realised.
The idea of arming police with Tasers — electric stun guns — is straight forward, it is seen as an option to the deadly use of firearms.
A Taser gun fires a pair of barbed spikes into the flesh attached by wires to the gun’s battery pack which delivers a 50,000 volt kick to immobilise a person.
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The young lad pictured here was shot with a Taser by police in WA after a fight with a bouncer — but pulled the two barbs out — keeping the one pictured:
Normally in Western Australia, taser barbs are to be removed by a doctor.
This was hardly a life threatening situation and it would seem that Tasers are also used to replace negotiation and physical restraint which worked when the Taser failed.
The death of a man in Queensland reminds us that Tasers do kill people wherever they are used. Amnesty international has warned about Tasers over a number of years. In a report delivered last year and referred to by The Guardian , Amnesty outlined that “Tasers have killed nearly 350 people in the USA over the last seven years. Late last year Amnesty also raised further concerns regarding their use with the introduction of a further 10,000 Tasers into 10 more police forces.”
Though the ‘charge’ is meant to last no more than five seconds its use in dangerous and unpredictable real life situations has seen the charge used multiple times. People with mental health and drug issues cannot always be pulled up with a single Taser shot, encouraging the use of multiple shots.
Yet it is these people that are most likely to be subjected to the use of Tasers — and most likely to suffer beyond the ‘torture’ of being electrocuted.
Variations in Taser equipment can also lead to differences in both charges Tasers deliver.
Though powered by compressed air to shoot spikes connected by wires to the gun up to 10 metres Taser Guns are not particularly accurate.
Police risk shooting each other ) or people other than the intended “victim”. Earlier this year a Canadian officer was accidently tasered in the head, which led to a “brain seizure”.
Then there is the problem of how Tasers are actually used in situations that confront police.
In the USA at a university in 2007 a persistent questioner of Senator John Kerry was hit with a Taser.
A lot more care needs to be taken to evaluate and monitor the existing use of Tasers before they are introduced into additional police forces. However, the more widespread use of Tasers is likely while politicians and senior police are pressured to ‘do something’ about Law and Order.
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