Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Among Rising Taser Fatalities, 'Safer' Model Promises Fall Short

Besides a new safety feature, the X2, which replaces the X26 can be used against two targets without reload

New taser technology was announced in Texas this week, as the Fort Worth police department expressed a desire to phase out lethal taser incidents. The new T2 taser model, produced by Taser International, is promised to prevent sustained shocks to victims, as apposed to the widely used T26 model which allows unlimited shock time.

However, due to lack in funding for the new technology, the Fort Worth police force, among most departments around the country, will continue to use the older, more lethal, technology.

According to Amnesty International there have been at least 500 'energy device' deaths in the United States since 2001, with the largest number (92) in California, followed by Florida (65) and Texas (37).

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports:

"The voltage is the same and the darts themselves had no major design revision. The main two points we were looking for was the automatic cut off at five seconds after being deployed, even if an officer holds the trigger down. That was a safety issue that was very important for us." [...]

The older model did not prevent a longer shock. In 2008 in North Carolina, a teenager died of cardiac arrest after a police officer shocked him twice with a Taser, first for 37 seconds, then for five. [...]

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