Figures show that since 2009, 57% of discharges have hit chest area, even though Taser warns of 'serious complications'
British police have fired Tasers
hundreds of times at suspects' chests despite explicit warnings from
the weapon's manufacturer not to do so because of the dangers of causing
a cardiac arrest, the Guardian can reveal.
Following the death last Wednesday of a man in Manchester after police hit him with a Taser shot,
figures obtained from 18 out of 45 UK forces show that out of a total
of 884 Taser discharges since 2009 – the year when Taser International
first started warning the weapon's users not to aim for the chest – 57%
of all shots (518) have hit the chest area.
There is evidence that shots to the chest can induce cardiac arrest. Dr Douglas Zipes, an eminent US cardiologist and emeritus professor at Indiana University,
who last year published a study that explored the dangers of chest
shots, told the Guardian: "My admonition [to UK police] would be avoid
the chest at all costs if you can."
He said the proportion of
shots landing on the chest was huge, adding: "I think the information is
overwhelming to support how a Taser shot to the chest can produce