Queensland review recommends curbs to Tasers

Queensland review recommends curbs to Tasers

A joint Queensland Crime Commission and Police review has found that Tasers can kill and could not have been modified to prevent the death of a 39-year old man this year, the Australian reports.

“The possibility of Taser use causing or contributing to death is possible and cannot be ruled out,” the review warns.

Despite the fact that Taser International says that Tasers cannot kill – in fact, they have sued medical examiners in the US for finding that Tasers were the cause of death- they do tend to acknowledge that people who are experiencing “excited delirium” may have adverse reactions to being Tasered.

In the case of 39-year old Antonio Galeano, however, Taser international has insisted that, even though he was shot with the stun gun 28 times, it would not have killed him.

There is increasing evidence that Tasers have been linked to deaths across the world.

New Scientist recently reported a study which found that deaths in custody increased 6-fold in California in the year Tasers were introduced, while Amnesty International has an ongoing campaign against the machines.

In fact – because I am looking – most days I see news stories about someone dying after being shot with a Taser. I had originally intended to report these deaths on this blog, but the numbers are so large that I would have to post almost every day on this issue.

While some of these deaths may be coincidental, or (as is likely)  the Taser may only be a contributing factor rather than the whole cause of the death, it is high time that we as a society acknowledge that when we give a police officer a Taser we are giving them an extremely serious and potentially deadly weapon that should only be used in very dangerous situations.

Here is a link (pdf) to the report.

About the Author

Amy is a Sydney-based journalist and commentator with an interest in politics, music, culture and evidence-based medicine. She is currently working as a medical journalist for a series of "Specialist Update" websites, and she has also been published in The Sydney Morning Herald, Crikey, New Matilda, and Vibewire's anthology "Interface". She was a panelist with the Sydney Writers' Festival in 2007 and 2008, organised the Sydney Writers' Festival event "erotic fan fiction" in 2009, and is a regular broadcaster on FBi radio.