August 24, 2014

559 Taser-Related Deaths in the United States Since 2001

Today we added 35-year old Timothy Griffis (Lake City, FL) as the 208th taser-related death in America since 2009. [NOTE: the full list is shown below].

According to Amnesty International, between 2001 and 2008, 351 people in the United States died after being shocked by police Tasers. Our blog has documented another 208 taser-related deaths in the United States in 2009-2014. That means there have been 559 documented taser-related deaths in America.

This blog has been pointing out incidents of police taser torture for quite awhile. The work done over the past few years by Patti Gillman and Cameron Ward continue to be the inspiration for our work. Gillman and Ward documented over 805 taser-related deaths in North America on their blog.

I wonder if anyone cares about the rising use of the taser as a lethal weapon?  At least we know that the Department of Justice cares.  They issued a report about the pattern of abuse against the mentally ill in Portland that included the frequent, unnecessary use of Tasers.   Recent deaths have begun to reignite the debate on taser torture.

On the other hand, I think that something is wrong in America when the police electrocute folks on a WEEKLY basis with their taser arsenal ... and the public is mute in its response. Cops are so liberal with their use of the taser that a blind man isn't safe! Sometimes it takes a lawsuit ... like the one recently settled in Ohio ... to get the police to cool it.  The police in Cincinnati, Ohio took the hint ... they changed their taser policy!

I encourage you to use our COMMENTS ('Post a Comment') option at the bottom of this blog post to let us know what you think about these weekly taser-related killings.

  1. Jan 9, 2009: Derrick Jones, 17, Black, Martinsville, Virginia
  2. Jan 11, 2009: Rodolfo Lepe, 31, Hispanic, Bakersfield, California
  3. Jan 22, 2009: Roger Redden, 52, Caucasian, Soddy Daisy, Tennessee-
  4. Feb 2, 2009: Garrett Jones, 45, Caucasian, Stockton, California
  5. Feb 11, 2009: Richard Lua, 28, Hispanic, San Jose, California
  6. Feb 13, 2009: Rudolph Byrd, 37, Black, Thomasville, Georgia
  7. Feb 13, 2009: Michael Jones, 43, Black, Iberia, Louisiana
  8. Feb 14, 2009: Chenard Kierre Winfield, 32, Black, Los Angeles, California
  9. Feb 28, 2009: Robert Lee Welch, 40, Caucasian, Conroe, Texas
  10. Mar 22, 2009: Brett Elder, 15, Caucasian, Bay City, Michigan
  11. Mar 26, 2009: Marcus D. Moore, 40, Black, Freeport, Illinois
  12. Apr 1, 2009: John J. Meier Jr., 48, Caucasian, Tamarac, Florida
  13. Apr 6, 2009: Ricardo Varela, 41, Hispanic, Fresno, California
  14. Apr 10, 2009: Robert Mitchell, 16, Black, Detroit, Michigan
  15. Apr 13, 2009: Craig Prescott, 38, Black, Modesto, California
  16. Apr 16, 2009: Gary A. Decker, 50, Black, Tuscon, Arizona
  17. Apr 18, 2009: Michael Jacobs Jr., 24, Black, Fort Worth, Texas
  18. Apr 30, 2009: Kevin LaDay, 35, Black, Lumberton, Texas
  19. May 4, 2009: Gilbert Tafoya, 53, Caucasian, Holbrook, Arizona
  20. May 17, 2009: Jamaal Valentine, 27, Black, La Marque, Texas
  21. May 23, 2009: Gregory Rold, 37, Black, Salem, Oregon
  22. Jun 9, 2009: Brian Cardall, 32, Caucasian, Hurricane, Utah
  23. Jun 13, 2009: Dwight Madison, 48, Black, Bel Air, Maryland
  24. Jun 20, 2009 Derrek Kairney, 36, Caucasian, South Windsor, Connecticut
  25. Jun 30, 2009, Shawn Iinuma, 37, Asian, Fontana, California
  26. Jul 2, 2009, Rory McKenzie, 25, Black, Bakersfield, California
  27. Jul 20, 2009, Charles Anthony Torrence, 35, Caucasian, Simi Valley, California
  28. Jul 30, 2009, Johnathan Michael Nelson, 27, Caucasian, Riverside County, California
  29. Aug 9, 2009, Terrace Clifton Smith, 52, Black, Moreno Valley, California
  30. Aug 12, 2009, Ernest Ridlehuber, 53, Race: Unknown, Greenville, South Carolina
  31. Aug 14, 2009, Hakim Jackson, 31, Black, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  32. Aug 18, 2009, Ronald Eugene Cobbs, 38, Black, Greensboro, North Carolina
  33. Aug 20, 2009, Francisco Sesate, 36, Hispanic, Mesa, Arizona
  34. Aug 22, 2009, T.J. Nance, 37, Race: Unknown, Arizona City, Arizona
  35. Aug 26, 2009, Miguel Molina, 27, Hispanic, Los Angeles, California
  36. Aug 27, 2009, Manuel Dante Dent, 27, Hispanic, Modesto, California
  37. Sep 3, 2009, Shane Ledbetter, 38, Caucasian, Aurora, Colorado
  38. Sep 16, 2009, Alton Warren Ham, 45, Caucasian, Modesto, California
  39. Sep 19, 2009, Yuceff W. Young II, 21, Black, Brooklyn, Ohio
  40. Sep 21, 2009, Richard Battistata, 44, Hispanic, Laredo, Texas
  41. Sep 28, 2009, Derrick Humbert, 38, Black, Bradenton, Florida
  42. Oct 2, 2009, Rickey Massey, 38, Black, Panama City, Florida
  43. Oct 12, 2009, Christopher John Belknap, 36, Race: Unknown, Ukiah, California
  44. Oct 16, 2009, Frank Cleo Sutphin, 19, Caucasian, San Bernadino, California
  45. Oct 27, 2009, Jeffrey Woodward, 33, Caucasian, Gallatin, Tennessee
  46. Nov 13, 2009, Herman George Knabe, 58, Caucasian, Corpus Christi, Texas
  47. Nov 14, 2009, Darryl Bain, 43, Black, Coram, New York
  48. Nov 16, 2009, Matthew Bolick, 30, Caucasian, East Grand Rapids, Michigan
  49. Nov 19, 2009, Jesus Gillard, 61, Black, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
  50. Nov 21, 2009, Ronald Petruney, 49, Caucasian, Washington, Pennsylvania
  51. Nov 27, 2009, Eddie Buckner, 53, Caucasian, Chattanooga, Tennessee
  52. Dec 11, 2009, Andrew Grande, 33, Caucasian, Oak County, Florida
  53. Dec 11, 2009, Hatchel Pate Adams III, 36, Black, Hampton, Virginia
  54. Dec 11, 2009, Paul Martin Martinez, 36, Hispanic, Roseville, California
  55. Dec 13, 2009, Douglas Boucher, 39, Caucasian, Mason, Ohio
  56. Dec 14, 2009, Linda Hicks, 62, Black, Toledo, Ohio
  57. Dec 19, 2009, Preston Bussey III, 41, Black, Rockledge, Florida
  58. Dec 20, 2009, Michael Hawkins, 39, Caucasian, Springfield, Missouri
  59. Dec 30, 2009, Stephen Palmer, 47, Race: Unknown, Stamford, Connecticut
  60. Jan 6, 2010, Delano Smith, 21, Black, Elkhart, Indiana
  61. Jan 17, 2010, William Bumbrey III, 36, Black, Arlington, Virginia
  62. Jan 20, 2010, Kelly Brinson, 45, Black, Cincinnati, Ohio
  63. Jan 27, 2010, Joe Spruill, Jr., Black, Goldsboro, North Carolina
  64. Jan 28, 2010, Patrick Burns, 50, Caucasian, Sangamon County, Illinois
  65. Jan 28, 2010, Daniel Mingo, 25, Black, Mobile, Alabama
  66. Feb 4, 2010, Mark Morse, 36, Caucasian, Phoenix, Arizona
  67. Mar 4, 2010, Roberto Olivo, 33, Hispanic, Tulare, California
  68. Mar 5, 2010, Christopher Wright, 48, Black, Seattle, Washington
  69. Mar 10, 2010, Jaesun Ingles, 31, Black, Midlothian, Illinois
  70. Mar 10, 2010, James Healy Jr., 44, Race: Unknown, Rhinebeck, New York
  71. Mar 20, 2010, Albert Valencia, 31, Hispanic, Downey, California
  72. Apr 10, 2010, Daniel Joseph Barga, 24, Caucasian, Cornelius, Oregon
  73. Apr 30, 2010, Adil Jouamai, 32, Moroccan, Arlington, Virginia
  74. May 9, 2010, Audreacus Davis, 29, Black, Atlanta, Georgia
  75. May 14, 2010, Sukeba Olawunmi, 39, Black, Atlanta, Georgia
  76. May 24, 2010, Efrain Carrion, 35, Hispanic, Middletown, Connecticut
  77. May 27, 2010, Carl Johnson, 48, Caucasian, Baltimore, Maryland
  78. May 29, 2010, Jose Martinez, 53, Hispanic, Waukegan, Illinois
  79. May 31, 2010, Anastasio Hernández Rojas, 42, Hispanic, San Ysidro, California
  80. Jun 8, 2010, Terrelle Houston, 22, Black, Hempstead, Texas
  81. Jun 12, 2010, Curtis Robinson, 34, Black, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  82. Jun 13, 2010, William Owens, 17, Black, Homewood, Alabama
  83. Jun 14, 2010, Jose Alfredo Jimenez, 42, Hispanic, Harris County, Texas
  84. Jun 15, 2010, Michael White, 47, Black, Vallejo, California
  85. Jun 22, 2010, Daniel Sylvester, 35, Caucasian, Crescent City, California
  86. July 5, 2010, Damon Falls, 31, Black, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  87. July 5, 2010, Edmund Gutierrez, 22, Hispanic, Imperial, California
  88. July 8, 2010, Phyllis Owens, 87, Caucasian, Clackamas County, Oregon
  89. July 9, 2010, Marvin Booker, 56, Black, Denver, Colorado
  90. July 12, 2010, Anibal Rosario-Rodriguez, 61, Hispanic, New Britain, Connecticut
  91. July 15, 2010, Jerome Gill, Race: Unknown, Chicago, Illinois
  92. July 18, 2010, Edward Stephenson, 46, Caucasian, Leavenworth, Kansas
  93. July 23, 2010, Jermaine Williams, 30, Black, Cleveland, Mississippi
  94. Aug 1, 2010, Dennis Sandras, 49, Caucasian, Houma, Louisiana
  95. Aug 9, 2010, Andrew Torres, 39, Hispanic, Greenville, South Carolina
  96. Aug 18, 2010, Martin Harrison, 50, Caucasian, Dublin, California
  97. Aug 19, 2010, Adam Disalvo, 30, Caucasian, Daytona Beach, Florida
  98. Aug 20, 2010, Stanley Jackson, 31, Black, Washtenaw County, Michigan
  99. Aug 24, 2010, Michael Ford, 50, Black, Livonia, Michigan
  100. Aug 25, 2010, Eduardo Hernandez-Lopez, 21, Hispanic, Las Vegas, Nevada
  101. Aug 31, 2010, King Hoover, 27, Black, Spanaway, Washington
  102. Sep 4, 2010, Adam Colliers, 25, Caucasian, Gold Bar, Washington
  103. Sep 10, 2010, Larry Rubio, 20, Caucasian, Leemore, California
  104. Sep 12, 2010, Freddie Lockett, 30, Black, Dallas, Texas
  105. Sep 16, 2010, Gary L. Grossenbacher, 48, Caucasian, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  106. Sep 18, 2010, David Cornelius Smith, 28, Black, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  107. Sep 18, 2010, Joseph Frank Kennedy, 48, Caucasian, La Mirada, California
  108. Oct 4, 2010, Javon Rakestrau, 28, Black, Lafayette Parish, Louisiana
  109. Oct 7, 2010, Patrick Johnson, 18, Caucasian, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  110. Oct 12, 2010, Ryan Bain, 31, Caucasian, Billings, Montana
  111. Oct 14, 2010, Karreem Ali, 65, Black, Silver Spring, Maryland
  112. Oct 19, 2010, Troy Hooftallen, 36, Caucasian, Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania
  113. Nov 4, 2010, Eugene Lamott Allen, 40, Race: Unknown, Wilmington, Delaware
  114. Nov 6, 2010, Robert Neill, Jr., 61, Caucasian, Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
  115. Nov 7, 2010, Mark Shaver, 32, Caucasian, Brimfield, Ohio
  116. Nov 23, 2010, Denevious Thomas, 36, Black, Albany, Georgia
  117. Nov 26, 2010, Rodney Green, 36, Black, Waco, Texas
  118. Nov 27, 2010, Blaine McElroy, 37, Race: Unknown, Jackson County, Mississippi
  119. Dec 2, 2010, Clayton Early James, Age: Unknown, Black, Elizabeth City, North Carolina
  120. Dec 11, 2010, Anthony Jones, 44, Black, Las Vegas, Nevada
  121. Dec 12, 2010, Linel Lormeus, 26, Black, Naples, Florida
  122. Dec 20, 2010, Christopher Knight, 35, Black, Brunswick, Georgia 
  123. Dec 31, 2010, Rodney Brown, 40, Black, Cleveland, Ohio 
  124. Jan 5, 2011, Kelly Sinclair, 41, Race: Unknown, Amarillo, Texas
  125. Feb 5, 2011, Robert Ricks, 23, Black, Alexandria, Louisiana
  126. March 15, 2011, Brandon Bethea, 24, Black, Harnett County, North Carolina
  127. Apr 3, 2011, Jairious McGhee, 23, Black, Tampa, Florida
  128. Apr 22, 2011, Adam Spencer Johnson, 33, Caucasian, Orlando, Florida
  129. Apr 23, 2011, Ronald Armstrong, 43, Caucasian, Pinehurst, North Carolina
  130. Apr 25, 2011, Kevin Darius Campbell, 39, Race: Unknown, Tallahassee, Florida 
  131. May 1, 2011, Marcus Brown, 26, Black, Waterbury, Connecticut
  132. May 6, 2011, Matthew Mittelstadt, 56, Caucasian, Boundary County, Idaho
  133. May 11, 2011, Allen Kephart, 43, Caucasian, San Bernadino County, California 
  134. June 13, 2011, Howard Hammon, 41, Caucasian, Middleburg, Ohio 
  135. June 22, 2011, Otto Kolberg, 55, Caucasian, Waycross, Georgia 
  136. June 28, 2011, Dalric East, 40, Black, Montgomery County, Maryland
  137. July 5, 2011, Kelly Thomas, 37, Caucasian, Fullerton, California
  138. July 10, 2011, Joshua Nossoughi, 32, Caucasian, Springfield, Missouri
  139. July 19, 2011, Alonzo Ashley, 29, Black, Denver, Colorado 
  140. July 21, 2011, La'Reko Williams, 21, Black, Charlotte, North Carolina 
  141. July 30, 2011, Donald Murray, 39, Caucasian, Westland, Michigan
  142. August 4, 2011, Pierre Abernathy, 30, Black, San Antonio, Texas
  143. August 6, 2011, Everette Howard, 18, Black, Cincinnati, Ohio
  144. August 6, 2011, Debro Wilkerson, 29, Black, Prince William County, Maryland
  145. August 6, 2011, Gregory Kralovetz, 50, Caucasian, Kaukauna, Wisconsin 
  146. August 12, 2011, Joseph Lopez, 49, Hispanic, Santa Barbara, California
  147. August 17, 2011, Roger Chandler, 41, Caucasian, Helena, Montana 
  148. August 21, 2011, Montalito McKissick, 37, Black, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  149. August 24, 2011, Michael Evans, 56, Race: Unknown, Fayetteville, North Carolina
  150. August 30, 2011, Nicholas Koscielniak, 27, Caucasian, Lancaster, New York
  151. September 11, 2011, Tyree Sinclair, 31, Black, Corpus Christi, Texas
  152. September 13, 2011, Damon Barnett, 44, Caucasian, Fresno, California 
  153. September 17, 2011, Richard Kokenos, 27, Caucasian, Warren, Michigan
  154. September 24, 2011, Bradford Gibson, 35, Black, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan
  155. September 24, 2011, Donacio Rendon, 43, Hispanic, Lubbock, Texas
  156. September 29, 2011, Howard Cook, 35, Black, York, Pennsylvania
  157. October 4, 2011, Glenn Norman, 46, Caucasian, Camden County, Missouri
  158. October 9, 2011, Darnell Hutchinson, 32, Black, San Leandro, California
  159. October 31, 2011, Chad Brothers, 32, Caucasian, Colonie, New York
  160. November 6, 2011, Darrin Hanna, 43, Black, North Chicago, Illinois
  161. November 13, 2011, Ronald Cristiano, 51, Caucasian, Bridgeport, Connecticut
  162. November 15, 2011, Jonathan White, 29, Black, San Bernardino, California
  163. November 22, 2011, Roger Anthony, 61, Black, Scotland Neck, North Carolina
  164. December 16, 2011, Marty Atencio, 44, Hispanic, Phoenix, Arizona
  165. December 22, 2011, Wayne Williams, 27, Black, Houma, Louisiana
  166. January 15, 2012, Daniel Guerra, 24, Hispanic, Ft. Worth, Texas
  167. February 29, 2012, Raymond Allen, 34, Black, Galveston, Texas
  168. March 5, 2012, Nehemiah Dillard, 29, Black, Gainesville, Florida
  169. March 12, 2012, Jersey Green, 37, Black, Aurora, Illinois 
  170. March 19, 2012, James Barnes, 38, Caucasian, Pinellas County, Florida
  171. April 10, 2012, Bobby Merrill, 38, Black, Saginaw, Michigan
  172. April 21, 2012, Angel Heraldo, 41, Hispanic, Meriden, Connecticut 
  173. April 22, 2012, Bruce Chrestensen, 52, Caucasian, Grass Valley, California
  174. May 10, 2012, Damon Abraham, 34, Black, Baldwin, Louisiana
  175. June 9, 2012, Randolph Bonvillian, 41, Caucasian, Houma, Louisiana
  176. June 20, 2012, Macadam Mason, 39, Caucasian, Thetford, Vermont 
  177. June 30, 2012, Victor Duffy, 25, Black, Tukwila, Washington
  178. July 1, 2012, Corey McGinnis, 35, Black, Cincinnati, Ohio
  179. July 5, 2012, Sampson Castellane, 29, Native American, Fife, Washington 
  180. July 6, 2012, Joshua Salvato, 21, Hispanic, Ocala, Florida
  181. September 1, 2012, Denis Chabot, 38, Caucasian, Houston, Texas 
  182. September 14, 2012, Bill Williams, 60, Caucasian, Everett, Washington
  183. September 17, 2012, Phillip McCue, 28, Caucasian, Bangor, Maine
  184. November 29, 2012, Robert Maurina, 46, Caucasian, West Allis, Wisconsin
  185. December 13, 2012, Philip Coleman, 38, Black, Chicago, Illinois
  186. December 25, 2012, Kevin Culp, 29, Black, Richmond, Washington
  187. January 1, 2013, Andrew Layton, 26, Caucasian, Mankato, Minnesota
  188. January 4, 2013, Marcus Slade, 32, Black, Marshall, Texas
  189. February 23, 2013, Christopher Parker, 33, Caucasian, Spokane, Washington 
  190. April 19, 2013, Anthony Howard, 51, Black, Gaithersburg, Maryland
  191. April 19, 2013, Anthony Firkins, 33, Caucasian,  Nampa, Idaho
  192. June 9, 2013, Mark Koves, 28, Caucasian, Thornton, Illinois
  193. July 21, 2013, Deomain Hayman, 28, Black, Wilmington, Delaware 
  194. July 22, 2013, Thomas Martinez, 40, Caucasian, Coralville, Iowa
  195. July 24, 2013, Dainell Simmons, 29, Unknown, Middle Island, New York 
  196. July 26, 2013, John Wrana, 95, Caucasian, Forest Park, Illinois 
  197. July 29, 2013, Zheng Diao, 76, Asian, St. Louis Park, Minnesota
  198. August 6, 2013, Israel Hernandez, 18, Hispanic, Miami, Florida 
  199. August 21, 2013, Michael Ruiz, 44, Hispanic, Phoenix, Arizona 
  200. February 4, 2014, Randall Hatori, 39, Asian Pacific Islander, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
  201. February 27, 2014, Treon 'Tree' Johnson, 27, Unknown, Hialeah, Florida 
  202. April 11, 2014, Gregory Towns,24, Black, East Point, Georgia
  203. May 11, 2014, Ron Hillstrom, 44, Caucasian, University Place, Washington
  204. May 14, 2014, George King, 18, Black, Baltimore, Maryland 
  205. July 19, 2014, Francisco Rocha, 41, Hispanic, Chicago, Illinois
  206. August 8,  2014, Jose Paulino, 38, Hispanic, Tamaqua, Pennsylvania
  207. August 12, 2014, Dante Parker, 36, Black, Victorville, California 
  208. August 24, 2014, Timothy Griffis, 35, Caucasian, Lake City, Florida

You can see that we don't know the race or national origin (RNO) for Kevin Darius Campbell, Michael Evans, Jerome Gill, James Healy Jr.,  Treon 'Tree' Johnson, T.J. Nance, Stephen Palmer, Earnest Ridlehuber or Dainell Simmons. We can use some research assistance from villagers to help us identify the RNO for these folks who died after being electrocuted by police taser guns.

We track the RNO information because we sense that these taser-related deaths are happening at a disproportionate level to people of color.

For example, we see that at least 91 (90 men and a 62-year old woman) of these taser-torture killings occurred against African Americans. Black people are only 13.6% of the total population, yet 44% of the 2009-2014 taser-related deaths in America are Black people.

At last count, there are more than 514,000 Tasers among law enforcers and the military nationwide. Tasers are now deployed in law enforcement agencies in 29 of the 33 largest U.S. cities. Some states, such as New Jersey, are loosening up their rules for taser use.  Other states, like Delaware, seek to justify taser use in spite of rising death toll.

However, the tide may be turning. As taser-related deaths and injuries have continued to rise (as well as the amount of Taser litigation), many departments are starting to abandon the weapon in favor of other means of suspect control. Currently, Memphis and San Francisco have opted to ban the use of tasers by law enforcement. Charlotte (NC) pulled all the tasers off the street.  Nevada revised their taser policy so that it would be more aligned to proposal from the ACLU.

South Carolina is beginning to question its use of tasers. Additionally, a federal court has ruled that the pain inflicted by the taser gun constitutes excessive force by law enforcement. The courts don't want police to electrocute people with their tasers unless they pose an immediate threat.


Perhaps the idea of an electric rifle made sense when it was first invented. "Taser" refers to an electrical weapon trademarked by the Scottsdale, Arizona-based company known as Taser International. The word Taser stands for "Tom A. Swift Electrical Rifle."

The Taser was developed by Jack Cover, a contract scientist on NASA's Apollo moon program in the 1960s. Inspired by his favorite childhood book series - Victor Appleton's Tom Swift - Cover drew up plans for a non-lethal weapon like the one the series' main character used.

In 1993, Rick and Tim Smith, who launched Taser International, worked with Cover to improve his design and introduced the device the next year. Since then, use of the word Taser has became part of the common American language.

However, we now see too much taser abuse. First available to law enforcement in February 1998, now used by more than 14,200 law enforcement agencies in more than 40 countries. More than 406,000 taser guns have been sold since the product hit the market. It may be time for congressional hearings.

Some tell us that tasers are making America safer. Police kill about 600 people per year in shootings. So what?! Should we be we be happy that they are ONLY killing people once-a-week with taser guns?

How Do Tasers Work? When a Taser’s trigger is pulled, two wires shoot out of the device at the suspect from up to 35 feet away. At the ends of the wires are probes that either embed in a person's skin or cling to clothing.
  • When the probes hit, an electrical pulse is delivered for five seconds, causing involuntary muscular contractions in the subject.
  • At the end of the first pulse, police tell the person to roll onto their abdomen, so they can be handcuffed. If they do not comply, they may be shocked again.
  • Once a person is arrested, police remove the barbs and call EMTs to the scene.
  • The person is taken to the hospital to be checked out. If the barbs remain in the person after police try to remove them, they are removed at the hospital.
  • The Taser is equipped with a chip that records information on each use, which can be used in court if someone alleges they were shocked multiple times.
Personally, I think that the 'Use of Force Continuum' needs to show tasers as 'near-lethal' ... definitely an error to claim that they are 'non-lethal'.

Many of us think that that immediate problem with Taser use is the lack of state and federal training standards for Taser certification. There are too many police officers with a taser on their hip and insufficient training on how ... or when ... to use it. Without set training standards (which includes a block on the liabilities of the weapons use in the event of bodily injury or death), officers are not fully aware of the ramifications of Taser use.

What say u?What would you suggest we do to deal with these weekly taser-related deaths?
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131 comments:

RiPPa said...

I admire and appreciate the way you keep this in the limelight Villager.

Villager said...

RiPPa - I wonder if it will make a difference?

Gunfighter said...

20 taser related deaths compared with how many uses of Tasers by police?

Villager said...

Gunfighter - I don't know where metrics on overall taser use in America is tracked. Can you point me in right direction for that data?

coachrlm said...

If there is one death we have to question the use of the taser. 21 deaths in less than six months, this should be the lead story on CNN, MSNBC, and any other alphabet, even Fox News. Instead we haven't seen much of anything on it. WHY??????

Villager said...

coachrlm - I figure that the mainstream media isn't on this story because it hasn't been brought together in one place yet. If the 72-year old grandmother had died ... we would see more action. As it is, the PTB ('powers that be') are content to blame these deaths on the victim ... and they are getting away with it right now!

Jaxx said...

Villager,

I'm a journalist and am writing about taser related deaths. Any information you could share with me about the recent death of Dwight Madison would be greatly appreciated. If you contact me at this address I'll be happy to share my journalistic credentials with you. mikemetzger9@yahoo.com

Thanks and keep up the great work.

Villager said...

Jaxx - I will contact you offline. Please let me know when your article is published so that we can promote it with our blog readers...

karen said...

Shawn was a devoted father of 2 small boys. He worked, he lived in society. He wasn't some wacked out phsyco drug addict. Yes, he had a problem. The family called for "help". He didn't deserve to die this way.

DNLee said...

I'm disturbed by taser death, too, mainly because it is suppose to be a non-lethal form of restraint of a suspect.

50K volts sounds like a lot. could this excessive amount of electrical energy be the cause of these deaths? Couldn't someone be apprehended and subdued with a fewthousand volts?
Or could it be that some cops are abusing use of the weapon and hitting people too much, resulting in a 100K or more hit to a person which causes these deaths.

At the very least more research seems to be in order on the safety of these devices.
At the very least

Villager said...

Karen - What was the race or national origin of Shawn Iinuma? Our prayers are with his family and children...

Danielle - I'm OK with the use of taser weapons by the police. I simply would like to see these weapons acknowledged as 'near-lethal', not 'non-lethal' in a standardized Use of Force Continuum. I would also like the police to stop their policy of demonizing the taser victims as a way of avoiding responsibility for the unwarranted deaths taking place in our nation...

Monie said...

Thanks for keeping track of this Villager. I had no idea so many people were being killed by tasers.

PPR_Scribe said...

Yes, I think the issue here is not necessarily the use of police force, but the use of force that is characterized as "non-lethal" but seems to be just that in an alarming number of incidents.

I sense this is an issue for police officers as well. As much as some try to paint them as monsters, most are not bent on going around killing folks. They need a true means of subduing suspects that will not result in harm to officers, other civilians or to the suspects themselves.

If tasers are not that option, then tasers need to be done away with until they can be investigated further.

But I also agree that we need better data about the deaths from tasers compared to their non-lethal but serious injury use compared to their non-lethal and non injury use.

Joining the thanks for keeping the issue prevalent in the blogosphere.

Villager said...

Monie - I hope that our sharing this information will make a difference...

PPR Scribe - I think that you have hit it on the head! I don't have an issue with the use of tasers. I have an issue that they are being used as a 'non-lethal' weapon in the use of force continuum instead of in the 'near-lethal' category.

Ehav Ever said...

DNLee Wrote:
50K volts sounds like a lot. could this excessive amount of electrical energy be the cause of these deaths? Couldn't someone be apprehended and subdued with a few thousand volts? Or could it be that some cops are abusing use of the weapon and hitting people too much, resulting in a 100K or more hit to a person which causes these deaths.

Ehav Ever's Response:
Both scenarios could be true. 50kV could easily kill certain types of people based on where it is applied and the personally physicality. Three primary factors affect the severity of the shock a person receives when he or she is a part of an electrical circuit:

* Amount of current flowing through the body (measured in amperes).
* Path of the current through the body.
* Length of time the body is in the circuit.

Other factors that may affect the severity of the shock are:

* The voltage of the current.
* The presence of moisture in the environment.
* The phase of the heart cycle when the shock occurs.
* The general health of the person prior to the shock.

Effects can range from a barely perceptible tingle to severe burns and immediate cardiac arrest.

The basic problem could also be a police officer's reliance on the device itself rather than using physical restraint or verbal communication to affect situation such as an arrest or post arrest event. In terms of can a person be apprehended with lower voltages. It depends on what the goal of the arresting officer is. If he/she is using the device to simply provide a quick stun to the person thus giving him/her time to use physical means of restraint a lower voltage can be used, or if he/she is using the device to completely incapacitate the person then a higher voltage can be used. The problem in both situations is the unknown of a how a person's body will react.

Ehav Ever said...

A couple of things I forgot to mention. Wet conditions are common during low-voltage electrocutions. Under dry conditions, human skin is very resistant. Wet skin dramatically drops the body's resistance.

When muscular contraction caused by stimulation (the electric shock) does not allow the victim to free himself from the circuit, even relatively low voltages can be extremely dangerous, because the degree of injury increases with the length of time the body is in the circuit. LOW VOLTAGE DOES NOT IMPLY LOW HAZARD! Thus the use of even a lower voltage taser can potentially kill someone.

T-Man118 said...

Just as an FYI a Taser X-26 which is pretty much the standard used by most lawenforcement agencies does not use 50,000 volts to disable the suspect. The arc of electricity that you see if you have watched any taser display videos is where the 50,000 volts comes from. When the device probes are deployed into the body of the suspect the current drops dramaticly to about 1200 volts with an amp charge of approximately .000000346.

Tasers are also not classified as "non lethal" the department of defence has classified them as a less than lethal use of force option. Meaning it is lower on the use of force scale than a 40 cal or 9mm but not without some type of risk.

I'm not sure anyone here will argue that a taser is quite a bit safer than a bullet and normally it is safer than the officer having to fight with the suspect to restrain him because if he is close enough to fight then he is close enough for his weapon to be taken away.

Villager said...

T-Man - I appreciate your feedback. I published the Use of Force Continuum that labeled tasers as non-lethal. Can you point me to some documentation that shows that they have been elevated to less-than-lethal status in the Use of Force Continuum?

Thank you in advance for your support in this research...

T-Man118 said...

Sure, here is one study released last year.
Less Lethal Weapon Effectiveness, Use of Force, and Suspect & Officer Injuries: A Five-Year Analysis
Mesloh, C., M. Henych, and R. Wolf. 2008, National Institute of Justice. i've got more just have to dig them out.

Black on Campus said...

I think it will definitely make a difference. You are playing a crucial role in getting the word out about this horrible misuse of a so-called *non-lethal* technology.

This is also very good information for us to include when we write our state and federal representatives. I would have been totally unaware of this phenomenon if you had not called it to my attention.

Villager said...

Ajuan - Thanx for the feedback and encouragement. It has been a learning process for me over the past few months...

Villager said...

T-Man - Thanx for the reference. I hope you will consider participation in the Dec 4 Day of Blogging for Justice: Stop Taser Torture. I'm going to post about it tomorrow morning...

AAPP said...

great post as usual Villager! Keep up the great work.

Attorneymom said...

I am going to post this on my blog. Keep up the great work.

Attorneymom said...

http://charactercorner.blogspot.com/2009/12/stop-taser-torture-blogging-for-justice.html

PurpleZoe said...

Excellent article as always.
My post is up for the Day of Blogging

I'm honored to be a part of it.

Shine on
-PZ

Mike said...

Great article. Thanks for keeping track of this. You should send this article over to Infowars.com and they will likely publish it and drive some traffic to this site.

Villager said...

Mike - To be honest, I wish that there wasn't a need for this recurring blog post...

Happy New Year!

Kyra said...

Thanks for continuing to share the list.

Vérité Parlant is Nordette Adams said...

You do a great community service by staying on top of this story. Because of your work, I've noticed how often in TV shows and movies, tasering is made to look like it's no big deal.

Villager said...

Kyra - Oddly, I had to stop posting stories about tasering in general ... and began to track just those stories that involve taser-related deaths. Averages about one per week...

Nordette - Yeah, Jack Bauer in '24' seems to be tasered every other episode! :)

Queenw said...

This story makes me sad. I think that if just as much time was spent teaching our youth proper morals and behaviour as is spent on complaining about "injuctices" our society would be a lot better off. The following is a report on murders and homocides in the USA in 2008:
African Americans were arrested more than any other race for murder in 2008, making up 36% of all arrests. African Americans, constituting approximately 12% of the general population, were significantly overrepresented in the total arrests made. African Americans were also significantly overrepresented in victimization, representing 47% of all murder victims. White Americans and individuals of Other race were significantly underrepresented in cases of murder and non-negligible homicide in 2008. Murder in White American and African American populations were overwhelmingly intraracial, with 83% of all White victims and 90% of all Black victims having been murdered by individuals of the same race. The same was true, though to a lesser degree, for individuals of Other race, with 52% having been murdered by individuals also of Other race.

Maybe more black people are being tasered because more black people are committing crimes? I have lots of black friends who agree that if more was done with (some of) our black youth to deter them from a path of crime these statistics would not remain what they are today.

David said...

Some of y'all might remember this. Tazer sued a medical examiner for mentioning their name as a contributing cause of death.
http://www.azcentral.com/business/articles/2008/05/02/20080502taser0503.html

You have to wonder how many deaths go unreported out of fear

Villager said...

David - One would hope that medical examiners would tell the truth regardless of potential consequences. Whatever happened to the Quincy types?

Thanx for sharing the link to the story about Taser Int'l suing medical examiners.

Iya said...

Villager, Perhaps if other bloggers pick this up and post it, it will eventually get into the hands of someone who can get this into mainstream media.

i don't have a blog, but i van certainly send this link to my email correspondents.

Iya

Iya said...

Villager,
I have also signed the petition here and had letters sent to President Obama, Senator Reid and my Congressional reps (Mmes Boxer and Feinstein). Great idea.
I missed that link on the first reading

Villager said...

Iya - Thank you very much for your support. I hope to continue sharing information about taser-related deaths. I'm convinced that these stories are often overlooked in the local area ... but, as you see the total picture it is evident that something is wrong.

Gunfighter said...

"Harris County deputy decided that the death-by-electrocution was appropriate punishment for a motorist being disrespectful to him."

That is unfair and inaccurate, Wayne. I expect better from you, brother.

First, if what was reported is correct, the Taser use in this incident is justified. Second, deathby electrocution is a completely loaded term, since there is no indication that there was any intent on the part of the officer to cause death.

Villager said...

Gunfighter - If my verbiage is over-the-top ... it is because I'm frustrated that nobody seems to care that police are killing people every week in taser-related incidents.

Something is wrong ... and nobody seems to notice or care.

Gunfighter said...

OK Wayne, I feel you... but I must ask again, that if tasers weren't an option, what then? Ask the suspect to put himself in handcuffs? Obviously that wouldn't work. So what is next? the use of brute force? I'll tell you that more people would be seriously injured by the zealous application of a steel baton, than are injured or even killed by a Taser.

Constructive Feedback said...

Villager:

Can you specifically tell me why you and other AfroSpear operatives are so motivated to go after "Taser Deaths" yet so relatively silent about "Street Pirate Murders"?

81 "Taser Related" Deaths in the entire United States versus 81 Murders IN ONE CITY alone.

There must be something that makes one "killer" superior to another based on the varied response.

Yet this doesn't even explain it. In Dekalb County Georgia - where "favorable people" now run the place there has been 2 "Taser Deaths" in the past 2 months yet there has been no civil rights protests.

I can tell you where the protesters are. They are gearing up for a trial of a WHITE MAN who beat up a Black woman in front of a Cracker Barrel. They will be in full force saying "No Justice No Peace".

Yet despite the fact that during the "Bloody Summer of 2010" where a Black man in the metro area is murdered every day - for some reason his KILLER does not merit a protest rally at his arraignment hearing.

I am struggling to find the formula that defines the response by the "Progressive Justice Seekers".

One Cop Killing of A Black Person is equal to X number of Street Pirate Killings of a Black person.

Can you help me out?

Villager said...

Gunfighter - I'm no longer convinced that the population is safer with a taser than without. I didn't see this many people killed with the police baton ... there are human beings dying at a rate of once-per-week ... there is something wrong in a system that allows a 17-year old boy in Alabama to be killed for breaking into a car ... or a 62-year old women in Toledo being killed because she was loud in a mental-health institution.

I don't know about alternatives ... I just know that there are too many taser-related killings going on in America without anyone saying much of anything.

Villager said...

Constructive Feedback - I don't know who the other "AfroSpear operatives" are ... but, for myself, this effort to publish information about taser-related deaths occurred organically.

I would love to stop publishing information on these taser-related deaths, but they keep coming. Our country averaged over one per week since the beginning of last year.

The fact that I'm tracking these taser-related deaths on my blog doesn't keep you or others from tracking other injustices or street pirates.

~Silky Dreams~ said...

All, except 1 mentally ill woman, in your list, are men.
I applaud all studies and all knowledge and search for answers.
I'm just saying, the overwhelming commonality in all issues concerning violence, is "men."
The perpetrators of MOST problems of violence, wars, killing, dominance, aggression, taking by force, lack of compassion, etc... are MEN.
Why is it that this, the major commonality in all the issues, is not at the forefront of all the research and dialogues?
If you find a way to correct or control the ONE HOLDING THE WEAPON, is that not the most effective way of dealing with ALL WEAPONS and ACTS OF VIOLENCE?
Research towards understanding the aggression of men, what can be done about it, chemically, surgically and/or through council, guidance and education, is what REALLY needs to be done to protect our citizens.
The entire way that our society is forced to exist, like some idiotic, out of control, destructive, and on the defense, beings trying to grab all the stuff before the other guy gets it and beat down whoever gets in the way is... an aggressive, out of control, poorly functioning brain. Now, why is this problem so much more prevalent in male brains? Is it testosterone?
Whatever it is, we're all being held in the terrorist camps of male dominating societies.

Don't just fight for a kinder gentler weapon to control the out of control people. Fight for a kinder gentler SOCIETY where peaceful, innocent citizens aren't living EVERY DAY being SHOCKED and TORTURED and HARASSED and MURDERED by out of control "HUMAN TASERS!"

SOLVE THAT, and you solve ALL the problems for ALL the people.

But, you don't hear a lot of talk about men being the major contributors to all of societies aggression problems do you? You don't hear much about coming up with solutions WITHIN the male, do you? Because men also have a very hard time admitting their problems/weaknesses, and because men are widely feared because of their aggression and lack of compassion.. and, if we talk about it, men might get mad!

People are so stupid. We cause our own problems. We're ignorant, weak beings, with dangerous technology in our hands.
Somebody has to stop MEN or MEN will STOP THE WORLD.
And that's the truth.

(By the way, for those who didn't notice that I didn't say ALL men, I'm only speaking of the violent, aggressive, domineering males. I am blessed to have men who are incredibly wonderful, strong, loving, intelligent, peace-keeping, compassionate, problem solving, wise leaders and great fathers in my life, and as a partner.)

Gunfighter said...

Wayne,

If the people you mentioned were all folks who were Tased while standing still, being compliant to the commands of the officers on hand, I would probably be shoutings as loudly as you, but that isn't really the case, is it? All of those people were tased while resisting arrest.

Resisting arrest (or detention), or attempting to flee, changes the game entirely.

Silky,

Does the answer lie in a matriarchal society?

Villager said...

Gunfighter -- ...Resisting arrest (or detention), or attempting to flee...

The police need to rethink their taser policy as "resisting arrest (or detention), or attempting to flee" should never be punished with the death penalty (or prejudicial electrocution).

Villager said...

All - Amnesty International noted that 90% of the Taser deaths examined involved people who were unarmed and did not appear to present a serious threat to the officers. A large number of the fatalities involved misuse of the weapons, including multiple Taser shocks or exposing suspects to prolonged shocks. [SOURCE]

cottoncurl said...

Thank you so much Villager. Those of us who have lost a love one to tasering and police brutality are so grateful to you for this website. I am the first cousin of Preston Bussey III and I'd like to advise you that he too was Black American. He was tased multiple times by two different officers, but unlike Robert Dziekanski, who was tasered in Canada the incident wasn't caught on tape. It's shameful that terms like "excited deliurum" have been created to explain and excuse killing innocent people. Such a shame

Villager said...

CottonCurl - My prayers are with you and your extended family as you continue to deal with the loss of your first cousin. Thank you for providing me with the encouragement to continue documenting these taser-related deaths.

I can't do it without help, support and encouragement from you & other villagers.

Do you know if the taser policy in your town has been improved since Preston's untimely passing?

Petet said...

I am one of the attorneys representing the family of Derick Jones who lost his life in Martinsville, VA after being subjected to one single TASER discharge. I also represent families around the country who have also lost loved ones after they were subjected to TASER discharges. My case, Heston v. TASER Intl., was the first and remains the only wrongful death/ products liability verdict ever obtained against TASER, Intl.

Yesterday, I sat in on oral arguments in two significant TASER cases being heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California - Brooks v. City of Seattle and Mattos v. Agarano. Both cases deal with the appropriate use of TASER electronic control devices (ECDs) in relatively minor situations that do not involve armed, violent criminals.

Ms. Brooks was pulled over for a traffic stop for allegedly speeding in a school zone. Pregnant at the time and sitting in her parked car with the engine off, she refused to sign the traffic citation. When she refused to get out of her car, she was tased in the chest and shoulder (drive stun mode) and pulled out of the car.

Ms. Mattos asked her daughter to call the police as a result of an argument she was having with her intoxicated husband. When the police arrived and attempted to arrest her husband, Ms. Mattos, the victim, allegedgly blocked the officers path to her husband and then put her hands up to push one of the officers away from her body. She was tased in probe mode and arrested.

The panel of 11 judges who listened to the arguments of counsel in these two cases seemed genuinely concerned about the use of TASERs against unarmed, non-violent offenders.

I suspect the opinions in these cases will be issued within the next 2-3 months. They bear watching very closely by all of us who are engaged in the fight to limit the use of these very dangerous and lethal devices.

Villager said...

Petet - Thank you for taking time to share updates on the two recent cases. I hope you will visit with us regularly and let us know what is new in the area of taser legislation.

Do you have any suggestions on what people who are concerned about taser abuse should do next? Is there any form of online activism that makes sense?

PKB said...

Hi,

I'd be very interested in sharing information with EV. In brief, I'm working with a coalition to ban the taser in Montreal (Canada) since 2007, mainly as a researcher.
Since January 2011, I have a web-site/blog on the global outreach of tasers - and there's a lot to learn from others, as well as for others to learn from the kind of work you're doing - still at it I hope! - as well as the occasional good news and too frequent abuses of the taser in the US and, not far behind, in Canada. The site's called www.globalshock.org and already has a lot of info (800 posts) under the Front Page. I invite you to look in and would welcome any comments, from you and EV followers.

"a luta continua!" (Frelimo's clarion call in Mozambique, still appropriate as "coalition" forces appear headed for another bloodbath in Libya, and where next.

But, on the home front, we must keep up the battle against tasers, and I fully accept your racial profiling position

PKB said...

Hi,

I'd be very interested in sharing information with EV. In brief, I'm working with a coalition to ban the taser in Montreal (Canada) since 2007, mainly as a researcher.
Since January 2011, I have a web-site/blog on the global outreach of tasers - and there's a lot to learn from others, as well as for others to learn from the kind of work you're doing - still at it I hope! - as well as the occasional good news and too frequent abuses of the taser in the US and, not far behind, in Canada. The site's called www.globalshock.org and already has a lot of info (800 posts) under the Front Page. I invite you to look in and would welcome any comments, from you and EV followers.

"a luta continua!" (Frelimo's clarion call in Mozambique, still appropriate as "coalition" forces appear headed for another bloodbath in Libya, and where next.

But, on the home front, we must keep up the battle against tasers, and I fully accept your racial profiling position

Villager said...

PBK - I look forward to visiting your blog, Global Shock, often in the coming weeks and months. It is nice to see that online activism is ongoing against the taser abuse taking place in North America and beyond.

RainyDay said...

You really need to clean up your column. You have listings of all of the people that died, & then you list their RACE in bold to point out something you feel is being overlooked. But guess what, "black" is not a RACE, it is a COLOR. Things such as this just highlight your childish & petty nature. You start off with a good article & a good point & then you turn it in to trash when you can not even get something as simple as RACE correct. It really undermines your attention to detail & questions the validity of your information if you can not report correctly on something so simple.

Villager said...

RainyDay - What title would you prefer us to use instead of "Black"?

earthpigg said...

@RainyDay - It's fine. While there may be no biological definition of 'race', nor any definition accepted by the mainstream hard sciences, there are certainly an abundance of social definitions and awareness.

This blog is about social issues and no one here is claiming to be a physicist or biologist - thus, so social language norms are appropriate.

c819fd46-efda-11e0-8764-000bcdcb8a73 said...

Follow these 3 steps and even you, Villager can be enlightened.

Step 1. Read this http://www.aele.org/law/2007-04MLJ501.pdf

Step 2. Read this http://www.laaw.com/cdsldm.htm

Step 3. Read this http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_go1613/is_1_20/ai_n57311431/

People having been dying after being taken into custody since police work began. The 505 that evolved a taser, pales in comparison to sudden in custody deaths that do not evolve the taser. The simple fact is, if a taser was not deployed, it would have happened in the majority of cases happened anyway.

It is more likely the case that deployment of taser has led to less in custody death over the past 10 years.

The taser is less of a strain on your heart then fighting during a state of excited delirium in which case heart rates were documented at over 200 BPMs. The taser actual has little to no effect on your heart's BPMs(I cannot recall the exact number so I make one up. I do know taser intl has tased 100,000 law enforcement officers over the years while they were hooked up to an EKG machine to find this out).

The use of "near lethal" is just ignorant, a taser being used on a person not under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs will not cause any harmfully side effects in 99% people. "near lethal" means close to lethal. I know you know this but it's just not true.

On a side note most law enforcement Depts. do not officially even use the words "non lethal" anymore, most use "less then lethal" and have been so for a very long time. Normal it's the media that will call it "non lethal".

The Auctioneer said...

As an outsider, I think that the message behind your blog may be lost inside a racially motivated sentiment that black people are somehow being targeted more often than other people and are being killed more often.

The statistics you use to assign disproportional outcomes are highly subjective. What constitutes being black? Does black mean only African-Americans? Does it include West Indian, Aboriginal, Pacific Islanders, Brazilian or any other number of dark skinned individuals?

It's very easy to say "Oh they killed him because he was black" but what are the surrounding circumstances to each death? Were there underlying medical issues we are unaware of? Was their race even a determining factor in their death at all?

It would read a lot better to say that overall, the instances where a taser has been utilised where another form of submission could have been used is far too high and has resulted in many unnecessary deaths.

Why bring race into it? What good does it do other than to turn a worthwhile argument into a racially motivated political statement?

I believe that the injudicious use of taser throughout the US police forces is less to do with what race a person is and more to do with how lazy some members of the police have become. How many times have you seen a video where a person who appears to pose no legitimate threat to the officer and in some cases even backing or walking away from them, is tased instead of being taken down in a physical manner that is no danger to the person's life.

The police will say the officer has a duty of care to themselves first, but it would seem that many of them have either forgotten or choose not to use their training in takedown techniques in favour of pulling out their taser because it is easier. This becomes far more dangerous when an initially calm suspect becomes enraged from being tased and the incident escalates resulting in multiple uses.

The police need to use their taser as they would their firearm - sparingly. They seem to think "I won't use my gun because that would be excessive but I can use my taser because it's unlikely I will kill them with it" which is a lame excuse for being lazy.

When tasers are used as a last resort instead of the first thing they think of, deaths will plummet to miniscule numbers.

Don't get me wrong with my first few paragraphs, I am on your side. I just think there is a bigger picture outside of what race someone is.

Villager said...

Auctioneer - I appreciate you for the time you took to share your thoughts. I agree with you that the rise of these taser-related deaths is probably a result of laziness rather than any other factor. Another factor is the technology. Why should the taser gun be enable to shock someone for more than 5 seconds? I notice that many of these deaths are from multiple shocks or elongated shocks of 15- or -20 or -30+ seconds.

re: race. I was first attracted to this subject because of taser attacks on Black people. However, over time my interest as expanded to taser-related deaths in general. I keep track of the 'RNO' (race or national origin) simply because it is in line with the theme of my blog, however, I hope that my moral outrage as shown by individual blog posts is the same regardless of the race or national origin of the victim.

That said ... it does appear that African Americans are being killed in taser-related deaths at a much higher rate (40%) than our place in the population (13%) ... that does say something about the issue.

Anyhow, thanx again and I hope you find reason to visit with us again in the future!

Do Not Tread on Me! said...

Taser use is torture plain and simple, don't think so, go get hit with one. If common sense dosn't focus the issue consider that both the United Nations and the U.S. Military consider the use of electrical shock for information collection or behavior modification to be torture. Ironically U.S. citizens can be electrocuted, tortured to death, on the streets of America.
I have to mention that when you focus the issue on race you do an injustice to the tragedy of these deaths. How many of you, how many of us, how many of them plays into the divide and conquer mentality that keeps issues like this from ever being seriously addressed by everyone. This is not a race issue!!

Villager said...

Do Not Tread On Me - I appreciate your perspective. The major point of this updated blog post is to track all taser-related deaths in America regardless of race or national organization.

That said ... the blog is focused on issues that impact people of African descent, so I do try to track the RNO of the taser-related victims.

In any case, I hope that the number of taser-related deaths begin to decline as more police get better training.

aura1946 said...

i am a 70 yr old women arrested and taken to jail.i was booked and placed in a holding cell and was ignored for bathroom call.finally i was allowed to relieve myself after banging on window for attention and was placed in a public holding ares. i conversing with 3 other women in the area and made a comment about my dirty feet. i was then ordered back into a cell and ordered to kneel on a cement bench.i refused and was tasered. while lying on the floor i was tasered at least 5 more times. i don't think i will psychologically ever get over that treatment..

Villager said...

Aura - My mom is 75-years old. I can't imagine the police ever having the audacity to use a taser on her. I'm very sorry that a taser was used on you. Very sad commentary on our law enforcement officials...

KJFX said...

Thank you for this info, I will place a link on my Facebook profile. Cops have a difficult job and I understand ppl on these comments who defend their procedures. I also understand that these numbers reflect ppl who may have otherwise been shot and killed by officers who were defending themselves. I however understand these numbers are to show that tazers can be and are lethal in many cases. Just because guns don't always kill the intended subject doesn't mean they are considered less than lethal. Tazers can be considered a great tool in subduing a possible dangerous subject when the intent is to hopefully keep the person alive and protect the officers, but the problem is the tazer is being used as an instrument of intimidation in incidents where other tactics would be much better suited. The risk of death and permanent damage is very real and well documented and should only ever be used in a situation of self defense and when the question of possibly pulling there side arm as possibility is in play. Tazing ppl for simple non compliance and mild civil disobedience should never even become an option. I would like to own a tazer myself, again I feel they are an effective tool, but myself or an officer should only be able to use them in similar ways and for similar situations. They are a self defense tool, not a tool for simple compliance.

Brother Roy said...

Peace & Blessings to The Whole Village! I believe that in all taser related deaths a outside watch group should be assigned to Investigate. Becuase if you were to probe the officers' envolved you would find 9 times out of ten that the officers may have prior history of misconduct,abuse,and even So, Called Justifiable Homicide on their record.The Taser is another way of Inflicting pain on A Human being in the most violent manner!I also believe that this issue of Taser Deaths needs to be taken to The Government, Human Rights are being violated night & day. I Will Fight The Good Fight! Nehemiah! R.I.P

Villager said...

KJFX and Brother Roy - Thank you both for your comments. It would be good to see some action on this issue taking place in the 'real world' and not just online. I guess we need to wait for a blue-eyed blond woman to be tased-to-death before that happens. The unfortunate thing is that many of the taser victims are not given much sympathy because of the actions which led to their confrontation with the police.

clarkcountycriminalcops said...

You have incorrect information about Las Vegas. They still use tasers, although they did change the usage policy recently. Here it is at ...clarkcountycriminalcops...https://clarkcountycriminalcops.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/metro-agrees-with-aclu-report/

Villager said...

Clark County Criminal Cops - Thank you for the updated information on the taser policy in Nevada. I've updated the blog post accordingly with the link you provided to us.

Kate said...

Taser-related deaths are shaping up differently this year, which I suspect may be due to the warnings about fatalities making the police use them a bit differently. There are slightly fewer deaths, but the reports are also becoming harder to find, with information coming out later in the case. We are now almost 14 weeks into 2012 and my count has 12 taser-related deaths. One(Marin) may not belong in my list after more information appears.

Of this year's 12 deaths, I think only one is Caucasian. Seven are Black (Lumpkin, Warren, Bennett, Allen, Dillard, and Green) , 4 are probably Hispanic (Marin, Serrano, Guerra and Carbonne), and one Caucasian (Barnes).

58% Black, 33% Hispanic, 8% Caucasian

I think that the percentage of Caucasian deaths has decreased, raising the minority percentages, but haven't kept track of enthicity in my list. I suspect that police remember the warnings better when dealing with Caucasians.

Niklpenny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Niklpenny said...

Simple truth...Cops usually hate most everybody...they don't favor blacks, It's just that blacks commit more crimes and more likely to run/resist/attack. Black people only 13% of population but commit the highest number of crimes...come on now thats why they are most prevelant in most Criminal/law stats, get real people

Unknown said...

Wow. I'm usually more aware of the "fun" taser stories like this one: http://badtadmd.com/?p=489

Thanks for bringing up the more serious aspect!

Hilary

Julie said...

I want to know why there isn't a petition to stop cops from being allowed to have tasers in the first place, this needs to be nationwide and sent directly to our congressman,our President and anyone else in power. we the people need to fight for our rights and take the inhumane weapons out of the hands of the police. They have abused it and murdered to many citizens already.

Dave Knight said...

It is unbelievable that the cops are still killing people with Tasers. The cops' arsenals are being restocked too, and unfortunately, here in the UK their use is increasing. I continue to support the campaign for banning the Taser on my blog TheDuckShoot.com

Villager said...

Unknown - Nothing fun about these taser-related deaths.

Julie - I'm at a loss. I'm hopeful that some of you reading these posts will come up with an action-oriented strategy to effect change...

Zeke said...

There is now ANOTHER taser death in Seattle area in addition to Victor Duffy in Tukwilla. Sampson Castellane, 29, was killed in Fife! See Seattle October 22 facebook page.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/October-22-Coalition-To-Stop-Police-Brutality-Seattle/168280703224023

Villager said...

Zeke - Thank you for the heads up on the taser-related killing of Sampson Castellane. Hopefully we will learn more as media and police interview the 2nd person in the room.

Louis LaFountain said...

the death count would be substantially much higher from the use of firearms if not for the Taser. Thanks to Taser International for such a wonderful tool in the fight against crime.

Louis LaFountain said...

the death count would be substantially much higher from the use of firearms if not for the Taser. Thanks to Taser International for such a wonderful tool in the fight against crime.

Zeke said...

Victor Duffy was black. See Seattle October 22 facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/October-22-Coalition-To-Stop-Police-Brutality-Seattle/168280703224023

Zeke said...

A revolutionary knows how to say it straight: "The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and the order that enforces all this oppression and madness." Bob Avakian, revolutiontalk.net

Villager said...

Zeke - First, thank you for the RNO information re: Mr. Duffy. I've updated the list accordingly. Second, I must admit that I feel the passion in the revolutionary post re: police. In fact I've used that quote on a recent photo that I pinned to my Pinterest account.

Villager said...

Louis - Actually, I think that the death count would not be as high. The police are much more reticent about pulling a trigger on their revolver ... they are more likely to take full advantage of the other options on the 'use of force continuum' if they weren't able to pull out that taser gun. Don't you agree?

Zeke said...

I think what makes the death count so high is the priorities in this type of society. Police are trained that above all they must prevent harm to the police. Shoot at any threat, and shoot to kill. In a different type of society, the first priority would to avoid harm to the people. So for example if an emotionally disturbed guy were waving a knife around, they would call for back up, get a net, etc.

Zeke said...

Thanks much for your good work in keeping this list Villager. Samson Castellane should be listed as Native American. See his obituary here: http://www.pipermorleymellingerfh.com/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=1530891&fh_id=13377

Zeke

Kenneth Turner Law said...

I appreciate your work here. Keep it up. This country needs to hear your perspective.

Zeke said...

Another Taser death in Seattle area. Bill Williams, a mentally ill 60 year old white man. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/49054412/ns/local_news-seattle_wa/#.UFaAFq40_RR

Golam Kibria said...

Hi There, I just spent a little time reading through your posts, which I found entirely by mistake whilst researching one of my projects. Please continue to write more because it’s unusual that someone has something interesting to say about this. Will be waiting for more!

Villager said...

Zeke - Thank you for the updated RNO information on Samson Castellane ... I've updated the list and used your suggested URL with the solemn obituary written by his mother.

Golam & Kenneth - Thank you for the encouraging comments! I must admit that I didn't know what I was getting into when this thing started so long ago.

NeuroPsychic said...

It appears that from the large number of taser deaths among the black community, they have less resistance to high voltage.

Perhaps the NAACP can convince Taser to install a black/white switch which would give the black man 20% less voltage and drop it down to 40KV or so?

They might even have a third setting for white people of German decent which would boost the power level up to say.. 80KV. But then you know how us Germans are, always building Tesla coils and stuff.

Unless... Are you suggesting that black people get tased more? If that is the case, I would taser you right now bro!

NeuroPsychic said...

That dude that beat the preacher to death with an ELECTRIC guitar down in Texas got tased to death.

Talk about instant karma huh? :-)

Villager said...

NeuroPsychic - I guess you're being sarcastic. The issue is real. Sarcasm doesn't help move us forward in a positive direction.

NeuroPsychic said...

Villager - I am against taser pain compliance as much as the next guy and if it were up to me, they would be illegal.

What I don't like, is that three is a race angle associated with the cause. We all die of taser equally but do we we all commit crime equally?

The fact is, about 96% of the crime is done by 4% of the population. Crime is a function of poverty and poverty is a function of a lack of morals and education.

Having some crappy parents is what will lead to death by by a taser, not the color of your skin.

Villager said...

NeuroPsychic - There is no question that our criminal justice system is racially biased ... and that bias does appear to have impact on the willingness of police officers to unleash the deadly force of their taser guns on people of color at a disproportionate rate.

At the end of the day ... my intention is to raise awareness of the issue of taser-related killings in America. I defer to you and others for analysis and proposal alternative solutions.

abster said...

saying a death is taser related does not mean the same thing as saying a taser caused a death. many in custody deaths happened long before tasers existed, and continue to happen w.o tasers. in the vast majority of these deaths, evidence of excited delirium exists, as well as polydrug use, dehydration, pre-existing heart problems, malnutrition, gross obesity, and all sorts of other factors that make people more prone to die when involved in a prolonged struggle involving fight or flight syndrome and the massive adrenaline dump that corresponds with same. the relevant statistic would be death rate per arrest (obviously a small fraction) in agencies that use tasers vs. those that don't. is there a statistically significant higher rate of in custody deaths per arrest in taser using agencies? i have no idea, nor do i see a statistic supporting or refuting such a claim. i have seen several studies that show that both officer and suspect rate of injury and severity of injuries DECREASE in agencies that employ tasers.

ChewyBees said...

It's no wonder that tasers are so popular as a response by LEOs. Have you seen the physical and mental condition of the people employed by law enforcement?

I know that there are situations that require extreme measures. What bothers me is that there is a quick to act mentality that makes LEOs believe that control is necessary immediately at all costs. In many cases, intelligent analysis and a controlled perimeter will do.

All one has to do is look at any police pursuit, where half (or more) of the the force is chasing a single car, adrenaline jacked and just waiting to get that stranger bastard under control. There is little doubt that if one wanted to commit a serious crime in a spectacular way, all that would be required is a diversion that would attract police like flies on a rotted corpse on the other side of town.

The deaths aside, how many unnecessary taser shots have been fired at people because the cops felt that it was the easy way to control the situation, and how many victims rather than criminals were tasered simply because they were in shock and not complying with the ridiculous orders of the all controlling policeman.

I'm going to visit the police station tomorrow. I have done it before, and what sickens me is the 50 - 100 pounds overweight people with a badge working as law enforcement. I know behind that is the mask of a man or woman that has been indoctrinated into a gang of ruffians, who's primary purpose is protecting government assets, including their unionized jobs.

Reggie said...

Excellent post!!!

I must say, you write an excellent blog!!!

Slayer_ said...

The amount of deaths is appalling. How many cops have gotten away with murder by electrocution? I bet the number is staggering. Bad news..

Slayer_ said...

This list isn't even complete. Research and add the rest. Good work tho.

Wayne Hicks said...

Slayer - I am woefully behind in my taser-killing research. Hopefully, I can find time to catch up over the coming days and weeks.

Hanz VonBraun said...

To scare the cops and cause media headlines, every killer cop that kills a person with a taser should have a group show up at their door when they're sleeping and tase them to death in the spirit of self defense of course CONSISTENTLY to set a good example. You will find that tasers then would quickly become unavailable for cops. This may seem drastic but then its the ONLY way the world will listen. Ask yourself this, do you want to have your name added to the list of tased deaths by killer cops? If they murder us and the court and system protects them then who protects us? WE THE PEOPLE DO. An eye for an eye to evoke change. This is my opinion which I stand steady on.

Zeke said...

Christopher J. Parker never made it to the hospital. After after calling 911 to say he was diabetic and had ingested methamphetamine, the Spokane, Washington, Fire Department paramedics arrived and told police it was ok to take him to jail instead. Apparently he never saw a doctor. In jail he was tased, put in a restraint chair, and died. The cops involved were Brad Dahlin, William Miller, Sandy Rief, Timothy Wirun, Alfred Torres and Kenneth Kuiper.

Wayne Hicks said...

Zeke - Thank you for the information on Christopher Parker. His information has been included on the list. Our prayers go out for his family and friends.

Iya said...

How can we create a concerted effort to get this information out to our various cities and towns, hopefully to media. I, too, admire how you have kept this information ever before the Villagers. Now it needs to go out further.

Wayne Hicks said...

Iya - I'm certain that I don't have the energy or bandwidth to create the concerted effort. It is beyond my ability to maintain this list any longer.

That said ... I think it would be good to focus on alternative solutions. Some of the villagers keeping up with this issue could help if they would create a simple 'problem statement' and proposal some 'alternative solutions'. That is the discussion that needs to be held next (IMHO).

Reggie said...

Amazing!!!

Absolutely amazing.

Zeke said...

I think Carl Dix has made the best "problem statement" and solution already. Check his statement on you tube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40dodNHMMko

patrick casey said...

I was just tased the other day.. didn't even affect me... the police pulled their guns out and I knew they would shoot next... I was told to sit on the ground so I did while sitting I see my friend (102 pound women) getting thrown around and having excessive force being used on her so I stood up.. as soon as I stood I was tased... police at scene said they were on edge because an hr earlier they had to shoot and kill s man stabbing his wife to death in a park.. same officers that used excessive force and tasered me without warning or telling me to sit down again.. the taser had no affect whatsoever I was able to walk, put my hands above my haed and it didn't hurt not one bit... I do feel sad for those who have died...

Kozmonov said...

Anthony Howard is not caucasian. He is actually black.

Gunfighter said...

If you were tased and it had no effect, the officers probably failed to get both probes in you.

No one is immune to being tased. No one.

annie y said...

I found your website when searching for more information about taser events that result in death.

My younger sister was tasered over 20 times by admission of the police. She died 36 hours later. According to the police and ME, her death was from natural causes. I was told that for a taser to cause a death, the person would have to drop dead on the spot.

My sister was unarmed, non-threatening, did not commit any crime and does not have a criminal record. She is bipolar, ran into the woods, was cornered by four police officers who tasered her repeatedly. I am very sickened and saddened by this incident.

Shouldn't police officers be trained to recognized people who have mental health issues?

Rusty Taylor said...

Did anyone do a study to see what caused them to die.

Thousands of people get tased every year so these people must have had a medical condition, drugs in their system, etc. to make this a lethal form of law enforcement.

If these are so lethal let's take them away from the police and let them go back to just using their guns.

Rusty Taylor said...

I think being tased is still better than being shot!

Wayne Hicks said...

Rusty - here are over 540 people on this list who disagree with you about the preference of being tased over being shot. These folks died. Something is wrong.

NeuroPsychic said...

Most people that get tased, would not have been shot by the police. Police tend to kill people (gladly) that have a knife or weapon and use a taser to cause pain just because they are secondary psychopaths with a gun.

What causes the person to die hours or days afterward is the taser reverse phases their heart. You should always get an EKG after being electrocuted.

NeuroPsychic said...

The people that die hours or days later, die because the taser reverse phases their heart or they may have an underlying medical condition such as low grade sepsis.

Most of them would not have been shot. The police use tasers most of the time becuase someone did not comply to the secondary psychopath police officer.

geoffrey howerton said...

All I can say is they shouldn't use the same method to execute(in some states) as they do to subdue someone. After all, some proponents against the death penalty have argued with some success that electrocution is cruel and unusual punishment. So now we are using the EXACT same method to subdue a non compliant, non convicted in most cases, person. Archaic at the minimum...deadly no matter how you frame it.

geoffrey howerton said...

I would be interested to see if electrocution killed more people sentenced to death or "accidentally" by police. ...

Reality Chick said...

Villager, I am pleased to be able to fill in some of your "race/national origin" blanks, according to my info:

Ronald Armstrong - Caucasian
Kelly Brinson - Black
Kevin Darius Campbell - Unknown
Michael Evans - Unknown
Jerome Gill - Unknown
Gary Grossenbacher - Caucasian
James Healy Jr. - Unknown
Clayton Earl James - Black
Anthony Jones - Black
Derrek Kairney - Caucasian
T.J. Nance - Unknown
Phyllis Owens - Caucasian
William Owens - Black
Stephen Palmer - Unknown
Ernest Ridlehuber - Unknown
Sukeba Olawunmi - Black
Ronald Petruney - Caucasian
Donacio Rendon - Hispanic
Larry Rubio - Caucasian
Dennis Sandras - Caucasian
Daimon Simmons – Unknown (and I believe his first name is “Dainell”)
Edward Stephenson - Caucasian Christopher Wright - Black

Patti Gillman
http://truthnottasers.blogspot.com

Reality Chick said...

PS - I believe Blogger Kozmonov is correct when he says (above) "Anthony Howard is not caucasian. He is actually black."

Patti Gillman
http://truthnottasers.blogspot.com

Wayne Hicks said...

Patti ('Reality Chick') - Thank you very much for the updated RNO information. I also updated the number of taser-related deaths in North America as tracked on your blog!

Anything you can do to support the online petition by Morgan Brown would be very much appreciated.

Reality Chick said...

You're most welcome. And I've "tweeted" Morgan's petition @truthnottasers

Zeke said...

A black man, Jason Nalls, died after being Tased in July in Washington State http://www.wenatcheeworld.com/news/2013/jul/24/waterville-man-dies-after-being-handcuffed/

Zeke said...

The number of people who died after being tasered in Washington state in the 13 month period between 6/30/2012 and 7/23/2013 is staggering. The dead include the following eight people: Victor Duffy, Samson Castellane, Mike Chen, Bill Williams, Kevin Culp, Jenny Lynn Borelis, Will Berger, and Jason Nalls.

William Cormier said...

My name is William Cormier and I will be linking to your site on a two part series I am writing on America's emerging Police State. My site has been up for close to ten years now and I have only had to make two (2) retractions during that time. Anything I write is substantiated to the highest degree and have a strong US presence as well as a fairly good International readership. Congratulations for providing this most valuable information that will soon appear on my site as well in excerpts that help to demonstrate our slide into a fascist/totalitarian state.

Thank you for your vigilance and hard work.

Wayne Hicks said...

William - I look forward to visiting your blog. Can you pass along the URL for it to us?

admin said...



If there is one death we have to question the use of the taser. 21 deaths in less than six months, this should be the lead story on CNN, MSNBC, and any other alphabet, even Fox News. Instead we haven't seen much of anything on it. WHY??????


schemas et Montages electroniques

Zeke said...

Feb. 5, 2014, Liberty City, Florida, 21-year-old Willie Sams, Miami-Dade police used a Taser on him, he died.

Also Feb 5, 2014, Miami-Dade police used Taser on Maykel Antonio Barrera in South Dade, he died.

It's included at end of this story: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/03/03/3972231/dead-mans-mother-said-hialeah.html#storylink=cpy

Anita Yott said...

This is without doubt a most disturbing fact. Law enforcement officials work for us, NOT the other way around. We elect for this institution by choice to protect & serve us, & pay their salary with our taxes. Yet somehow politics has succeeded in over-ruling & abusing the ones who positioned them in the first place... its citizens, & now we ALL fear this organization who we can rarely depend upon & virtually never trust. We should fire them all & begin fresh with candidates who truly want to serve society, just as this structure was intended to. Po-po... never around when I need them... always up my ass when I don't!
Perhaps initiating a petition to the Supreme Court is something that could impact change to this issue: http://www.gopetition.com/petition-campaigns/Law-reform/

Wayne Hicks said...

Anita - Thank you for the link to the online petition. I don't have the bandwidth to create such an online petition. Perhaps someone else reading this blog post and comments will see the link and take the initiative on our behalf!?!