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(en) US, Phoenix, Upheaval* #2 - Taser Updates, 2005

Date Tue, 17 Jan 2006 09:42:02 +0200

October 1st: 77-year-old Ignacio Huerta
of San Antonio, TX is recovering from
open-heart surgery due to injuries from
being tasered and beaten a few days
The Nashville, TN Police Department
takes most tasers out of the hands of its
officers after the taser death of a young
man a week earlier. Tasers will now be
used by supervisors only, who are to
receive further training.
September 29th: A man who was
tasered three times and pepper-sprayed
by Austin, TX police officers died minutes
September 28th: In response to an
investigation by the US Securities and
Exchange Commission, Taser
International decided to alter the way
they market their products. In particular,
safety claims are being updated to avoid
the suggestion that the taser is not dan-
gerous, or that medical experts confirm
the taser is safe. They promised to
replace terms like "safe" with "safer,"
and to reduce their use of the mislead-
ing term "non-lethal."
September 27th: Michael Clark, a
33-year-old Austin, TX man, died after
being tasered by officers. The man and
officers had an altercation which
involved the officers using both pepper
spray and a taser on him. He went into
"medical distress" and later died in the
A Florida man's shirt caught on fire
after he was pepper sprayed and
tasered by police. Amnesty International
reported last year that the combined use
of pepper spray and the taser weapon
has a potential for igniting, but police
officers continue to act surprised when
this happens.
On the same day, Taser
International's stock hit a 21-month low
while being investigated for stock manip-
ulation and safety claims.
September 26th: For the second time
in four days, a student was tasered at
school when a Charlotte-Mecklenburg
police officer tasered a 17-year-old male
named Wahib Amin during an altercation
with an assistant principal. Several
activists demonstrated about a week
later to call for an end to tasering stu-
September 25th: A Nashville, TN man,
21-year-old Patrick Aaron Lee, went into
cardiac arrest and died after being
tasered up to 19 times by officers. Later,
around fifty supporters attended a
protest at the capitol building, holding
signs and handing out leaflets about this
September 24th: Timothy Michael
Torres, 24, of Rancho Cordova, CA, was
pronounced dead after being tasered
during a struggle with officers. He is the
4th man to die after being tasered in the
Sacramento area since June.
In North Carolina, a 14-year-old-girl
was tasered at school by an
officer after
attacking her vice
A coroner ruled that
the taser that officers
used against Maury
Cunningham caused his death. The 29-
year-old Cunningham was pepper-
sprayed and tasered six times by officers
while in the Lancaster County, SC jail. It
was determined that he did not have any
drugs or alcohol in his system.
September 22nd: Taser International
officials argued in a news release that
they did nothing unethical when provid-
ing stocks and employment opportuni-
ties for officers who promoted tasers.
Although the company tried to keep
information about who they have given
stock options to secret, the information
was leaked; now critics are saying that
Taser International's actions may have
created a conflict of interest between
the company and the police depart-
ments they supply.
September 21st: The family of Ray
Charles Austin filed a federal lawsuit
against members of a Gwinnett County,
TN sheriff's department for the wrongful
death of their son. Two years earlier,
Austin was tasered as many as eight
times while in the county jail, and died
shortly afterwards. The family of another
man who died under similar circum-
stances also plans to sue.
September 20th: A lawsuit was filed in
Chicago, IL, bringing attention to a case
of excessive force against 54-year-old
Alfredo Lee Florez. Witnesses say that
police, unprovoked, beat and tasered
Florez, who is visibly retarded. Officers
were not charged with any crime.
September 18th: David Anthony Cross,
44, died in a Santa Cruz, CA jail after
being tasered.
September 12th: A male senior citizen
with hypertension is suing Taser
International, the City of Gresham, OR,
and the police department for $75,000.
He was tasered in August of 2003, and
says that police were not trained proper-
ly for the use of tasers on people with
medical conditions.
September 8th: A 12-year-old girl was
tasered and charged for disorderly con-
duct and resisting arrest after she was
disruptive and refused to go to class at a
Cincinnati, OH school.
September 3rd: An Akron (OH) grand
jury decided that two officers would face
no charges in a case in which a man
died in police custody in mid-June. The
man was said to be acting strangely.
Video evidence showed the man being
hit and kicked by officers after he was
tasered. He was then handcuffed, and
later died in the hospital.
Law-enforcement agencies in Palm
Beach County, FL have determined that
tasers should be used only to handle
active resistance. This was reflected in
new taser policies in all of those agen-
cies, which in the past have been incon-
September 2nd: In a letter published in
the New England Journal of Medicine,
two doctors came to the conclusion that
a 14-year-old Chicago boy suffered from
"ventricular fibrillation" after being
tasered by police. Paramedics had
immediately used a defibrillator to
restart his heart.
A man sued Illinois' Belleview Police
Department for civil rights violations.
After Bryan J. Schmittling, 41, was
injured in a one-car traffic accident, he
says police arrived and tasered him sev-
eral times, even though he was not
resisting arrest. The shocks caused
Schmittling to lose control of his bowels.
He was charged with driving under the
influence of alcohol and resisting arrest,
but the latter charge was dismissed.
August 30th: Shawn Norma, a 40-year-
old Laurelville, OH man, died after he
was tasered three times by police. A
cause of death has not been determined
by officials.
August 28th: Officers plan to
carry Tasers in three high
schools in Concord, NC for the
upcoming academic year.
August 27th: The Southern
Christian Leadership
Conference announced it would
hold a march in Gwinnett
County, GA to protest the use of
tasers. They are organizing a
tasers. They are organizing a
three-mile march on November 12 to
call for a national moratorium on the use
of tasers.
August 26th: A Port Salerno, FL man
who was allegedly on drugs died of car-
diac arrest after he was tasered one or
more times by police. Florida leads the
nation with twenty-seven taser-related
deaths since 2000, according to a Palm
Beach Post analysis.
A Houston police officer was fired for
intimidating three customers with a
taser at his other job at Wal-mart.
August 21st: A Florida man who was
tasered in the groin last year is suing the
City of Tallahassee and Taser
International. He says he has "no control
or feeling" in his genitals.
In Oakland, PA, police used tasers
and dogs on protesters who were
demonstrating at a recruitment center.
August 20th: Police officers from five
states have sued Taser International for
injuries caused by tasers during training
classes. The injuries included broken
backbones, burns, shoulder dislocation,
heart damage and strokes.
August 12th: The mother of an Akron,
OH man filed a wrongful death lawsuit
the previous week against a Springfield
Township police officer, township offi-
cials, and Taser International. Her son
died May 28th when the officer stunned
him with a Taser.
August 7th: Phoenix Police tasered a
47-year-old man five times. He was pro-
nounced dead at the hospital.
August 6th: Palm Beach County, FL law
enforcement has chosen to change their
Taser policy to make it legal for cops to
only use tasers when a suspect is active-
ly resisting or pose a threat to someone.
August 5th: Glendale Police tasered
Olson Ogodidde at least twice. He died
shortly afterwards.
Lloyd King, 28, of Kenosha, WI, was
pepper-sprayed and tasered by police, a
combination which ignited the man's
clothing. King was injured but not killed.
Police claimed not to know that this
could happen, even though Amnesty
International had reported on this possi-
bility at least nine months before.
August 2nd: In response to Taser
International's warnings of possible
death or injury, police in Dekalb, IL
decided to stop using tasers.
August 1st, 3rd, & 4th: Three men in
northern California died after being
tasered by police: Brian Patrick O'Neil,
33, of San Jose; Eric Mahoney, 33, of
Alameda; and Dwayne Zachary, 44, of
Foothill Farms.
July 30th: After medical examiners in
Clark County, IL claimed that 54-year-old
Ronald Hasse died as a direct result of
being tasered by police, officials in
Chicago, IL ruled that tasers were a
cause of death. This was the first time
since police began using tasers in the
United States that the weapons were
acknowledged as lethal. The ruling may
have set a precedent for the use and
legality of tasers in the US.
July 29th: Taser International stock has
plummeted 70% since December 2004.
Kimberly Miller filed a wrongful death
lawsuit against Ohio's Springfield Police
Department, the officer involved, and
Taser International. Her son, Richard
Thomas Holcomb, 18, died from cardiac
arrhythmia in May after he was tasered
by police.
July 28th: The NYPD tasered Terrence
L. Thomas, 35, in Queens. Thomas died
of cardiac arrest shortly afterward in the
station house, with evidence of cocaine
July 27th: Indiana's Merrillville
Police Department decided to
get rid of its tasers to avoid lia-
bility risks.
July 26th: Police in Orange
County, FL tasered someone to
stop a fight, after which angry
neighbors were reported to have
attempted to flood the 911
operator with false emergency
calls in retaliation.
July 25th: Taser International launched
a new marketing campaign aimed at
public consumers.
July 24th: Witnesses say that North Las
Vegas Police tasered a pregnant woman.
Even though the witnesses shouted at
the police that she was pregnant, police
still tasered her more than once. She
and the fetus are reported to be fine.
July 22nd: The Kansas City Board of
Police Commissioners upheld the firing
of two police officers after they were
filmed tasering a handcuffed man a year
July 20th: A class-action lawsuit was
filed against Taser International by a
Boca Raton, FL law firm on behalf of the
City of Dolton, IL, after the company mis-
led police departments about the safety
of tasers. The mayor of Dolton said the
tasers need more testing, and suspend-
ed the use of the weapons following
deaths in other cities.
The family of Eric Hammock, 43, are
suing Taser International for his wrongful
death after he was tasered multiple times
by police in Fort Worth, TX in April.
July 15th: Phoenix, AZ police tasered
Ernesto Valdez three times during a strug-
gle. He died shortly afterwards.
June 28th: Taser International issued a
training bulletin to police, warning that
repeated blasts of the taser can "impair
breathing and respiration" and that in
a state of delirium, prolonged or repeated
taser shocks can pose "significant
and potentially fatal health risks."

* Journal of the Phoenix Anarchist Coalition

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