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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Taser International has repeatedly emphasized in statements and literature how Taser use has saved lives. For example, in July 2004, the company issued a statement citing a case in which a woman advancing on officers with an eight-inch knife had been successfully disarmed with a Taser rather than shot with a firearm and another case where a suicidal man threatening to cut his own throat was similarly disarmed without injury. The company stated that it had received "over 500 similar reports where officers have used the Taser to save a life", estimating that the true figure was likely to exceed 5,000 cases.(24) Claims that Tasers save lives may, however, include incidents involving intervention at an earlier stage than a situation posing an imminent threat of death or serious injury. Taser International states in a lesson plan for US law enforcement agencies that: