Recent Deaths Raise Questions about Safety of Tasers
by findingDulcinea Staff
A rise in Taser-related deaths is arousing concern about the potential misuse of this increasingly common weapon.
On the morning of Monday, June 9, Tony Bradway of Brooklyn died after police in Southampton, N.Y., used a Taser to restrain him, making him the fifth person to die a Taser-related death in Suffolk County since 2004, according to Newsday.
Just days earlier, the New York City Police Department decided to consider arming officers on the streets with these stun guns. According to Reuters, stun guns such as Tasers have been used by the NYPD since 1984, but were usually kept in cars because they weren’t portable.
On Monday, the NYPD released a study to evaluate the effectiveness of the city’s firearms training program after the 2006 shooting death of Sean Bell, who was killed by police in a barrage of 50 shots just hours before his wedding. The study recommended the department issue non-lethal devices as an alternative to guns, Reuters reported.
Human Rights organizations have opposed the adoption of Tasers as a commonplace method for restraining criminals. Amnesty International said that while it is hopeful that the use of Tasers eliminates shooting deaths, it still is concerned over its safety and overuse.
“Our concern is a lot of people are dying after they’re shocked and Tasers are being marketed as a nonlethal devise,” Amnesty International’s Curt Goering told Reuters.