Brett Elder, 15, from Bay City, Michigan died after police used Tasers to break up a fight between him and another teenager.
Disturbingly, Brett is already the second teenager to die after being Tased this year. In January, an unarmed 17-year-old boy in Virginia died after police responding to a minor street incident shocked him in his apartment. As of today, the total number of deaths after the use of Taser guns in the U.S. has surpassed 334 since June 2001 and it keeps rising. Perhaps what’s most unsettling is that in over 90% of those cases, the person shocked didn’t even have a weapon.
The news of these teen deaths comes soon after the unveiling of a new Taser weapon, the Taser Shockwave, capable of shocking entire crowds at once. Clearly, this money could have been better spent conducting rigorous safety testing and research into why so many have died after being shocked with a Taser. Amnesty International has called on U.S. law enforcement departments to cease using the weapons, pending further safety studies, or to strictly limit their use to a weapon of last resort.