USA: Excessive and lethal force? Amnesty International's concerns about deaths and ill-treatment involving police use of Tasers

Report
November 29, 2004

USA: Excessive and lethal force? Amnesty International's concerns about deaths and ill-treatment involving police use of Tasers

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  • a female driver of a stolen vehicle being followed by police who, after she crashed the car and fled on foot and was caught by officers, "would not comply with verbal commands and made a move towards her waistband".
  • A trespassing suspect who was tasered when he "resisted being handcuffed".
  • a female suspect who had broken into her grandfather's apartment and was tasered when she "attempted to walk away from the officer" and "pulled away" when he tried to stop her. The Taser was applied five additional times before other officers arrived on the scene.
  • a burglary suspect hiding in an attic when he "refused to comply with commands".
  • a suspect who, stopped for driving with a suspended license, ran away from police.
  • an autistic teenager after he assaulted his mother and wrestled an officer to the ground.
  • a man standing on the sidewalk yelling and screaming at the sky. He was threatened with the Taser if he did not comply with police commands to be quiet. He refused to comply and the Taser was then deployed. The Taser was effective but "as the subject began to get up, the Taser was cycled a second time".
  • A thirteen-year-old girl was tasered in a public library after she threw a book at someone and was "yelling obscenities". The case summary states: "The juvenile continued to be verbally disruptive and resisted when officers attempted to place her under arrest. The Taser was displayed and threatened. The juvenile continued to resist by curling into a ball. As the juvenile was preparing to kick at the officer, she was touch-stunned in the middle of her back". (51)


The Chandler Police Department study reported on 17 instances in which the Taser was used solely as a touch stun gun. In most of the cases, it appears to have been used in order to gain compliance and included the following cases: