by Tim O’Hare
Texas ranks third in the nation, behind California and Florida in Taser-related deaths, according to Amnesty International. Between 2001 and 2012, more than 500 people in the U.S. died after being shocked with a Taser during arrest or while in jail. Thirty-seven of those deaths were in Texas.
A Taser gun discharges 50,000 volts of electricity into a person, which overrides the central nervous system causing uncontrollable muscle contractions. If the volts hit near a vital organ, such as the person’s heart, the shock can lead to serious injuries or death.
Last fall, five police departments in North Texas — Mansfield, Richland Hills, Crowley, Murphy and Burleson — discontinued the use of Tasers by officers in their departments. While it wasn’t made clear by these departments why they dropped Tasers from their list of equipment used, it is suspected that the departments did so to prevent a lawsuit following a person’s injury or death due to the Taser.
In January 2013, police in the city of Marshall, Texas shocked a man seven times with a Taser. Marcus Slade, who was 32-years-old, died from his injuries. His family has filed a suit against the city, its police chief at the time and several police officers for what the suit claims was excessive force by police officers.
A disclaimer issued by Taser International warns of death or serious injury if the product is not used correctly. Sadly, the use of Tasers by police officers has resulted in nearly 40 deaths in the state of Texas. While that disclaimer is used to protect Taser International from lawsuits, last year the company paid out $2.3 million in settlements to plaintiffs who sued the company.
The use of a Taser to subdue a suspect during an arrest or an unruly jail inmate should be considered a last resort, rather than something used flippantly or without a great deal of caution.
If you have suffered a serious injury or if you have lost a loved one as the result of Taser use, contact contact the experienced legal team at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare. We will help you receive all due compensation for your injury or loss.
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