Taser Abuse in the United States

Since June 2001, more than 351 individuals in the United States have died after being shocked by police Tasers. Most of those individuals were not carrying a weapon. Amnesty International is concerned that Tasers are being used as tools of routine force — rather than as an alternative to firearms.

Medical studies so far on the effects of Tasers have either been limited in scope or unduly influenced by the weapons’ primary manufacturer. No study has adequately examined the impact of Tasers on potentially at-risk individuals — people who have medical conditions, take prescription medications, are mentally ill or are under the influence of narcotics. Rigorous, independent, impartial study of their use and effects is urgently needed to determine what role Tasers may have played in the 351 deaths and to determine appropriate guidelines for future Taser use.

Given the unresolved safety concerns, Amnesty International recommends that police departments either suspend the use of Tasers and stun guns pending further safety research or limit their use to situations where officers would otherwise be justified in resorting to firearms.

Taser Overview

More Background Information on Tasers

Taser Reports and Briefings by Amnesty International

Taser Policy Recommendations and Campaigning Tools

Personal Tasers

Amnesty International believes Tasers and other electro-shock weapons should not be sold to members of the public, whose use of the device cannot be monitored, constrained or accounted for. Civilian Tasers have been used in domestic abuse, theft and other crimes.


NPR’s Diane Rehm Show on Tasers, December 5, 2007

United Nations Documents on Use-of-Force Guidelines for Law Enforcement Agencies

Tasers on Video

Viewer discretion is advised — graphic content.

  • March 20, 2008, Charlotte, NC – Darryl Turner was struck by a Taser after being in an argument with his store manager. He was shocked for 37 seconds, and then shocked again, and later died. Video
  • December 20, 2007, Daytona Beach, FL – Elizabeth Beeland was struck by a Taser after she became loud and unruly at a Best Buy store. Video
  • November 18, 2007, Trotwood, OH – Valreca Redden was struck by a Taser while pregnant. Police claim that they did not know she was pregnant at the time. Video
  • October 14, 2007, Vancouver, BC – Robert Dziekanski became agitated after waiting ten hours in the Vancouver International Airport. Police shocked Dziekanski with a Taser multiple times, and soon after he was pronounced dead. Video
  • September 17, 2007, Gainesville, FL – Andrew Meyer persistently questioned Senator John Kerry at a university forum. University of Florida police tried to escort him from the auditorium and later struck him with a Taser for resisting arrest. Video | Statement | Statement on report on incident
  • September 14, 2007, UT – Jared Massey was struck by a Taser for refusing to sign a speeding ticket. Video
  • September 2, 2007, Warren, OH – Heidi Gill got into an altercation with a bartender and mistakenly got into the wrong car while waiting for her friend to drive her home. When she refused to get out of the vehicle, she was struck by a Taser multiple times. Video
  • November 23, 2006, Austin, TX – Eugene Snelling was pulled out of his car after trying to get his license and registration. He was struck by a Taser less than a minute later. Video
  • November 14, 2006, Los Angeles, CA – Mostafa Tabatabainejad, a student at UCLA, neglected to show his student identification card at the library. He was then asked to leave, and when he refused he was struck by a Taser multiple times. Video
  • November 13, 2006, Sheffield Lake, OH – Kristina Fretter was taken to the Sheffield Police Department after being picked up for drunk driving. She was later struck by a Taser while wearing handcuffs. Video

Law and Disorder Radio’s Taser Series

List of People who died from tasers


Published in: on May 6, 2010 at 3:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

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