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Are Tasers Safe?

Broward criminal lawyer explains that Tazers are stun-gun-like devices that law enforcement officers frequently carry, says Broward criminal lawyer William Moore. They are supposed to be used on suspects who are resisting arrest with violence, fleeing police officers, or are perceived to be dangerous. Although tasers are frequently applied directly to the victim’s person, they can also be “shot” with long-distance sights. When placed directly onto the suspect, the device causes high levels of pain, and law enforcement officials are often successful in getting the suspect to cooperate using this method of “pain compliance.” When the taser is shot, the suspect who is hit with the electrical impulses will experience muscle contractions throughout the entire body, because many nerves are stimulated by the electrical impulses, according to Broward criminal lawyer Moore.

Law enforcement agencies have been using the devices since at least the early 1990s, when police in Los Angeles, California attempted to use a faulty device on Rodney King. Now, they have become increasingly common at local police departments, says Broward criminal lawyer Moore. Unlike in most other developed nations, tasers are not deemed to be firearms, and civilians are carrying them as self-defense tools with increasing frequency.

The tools have come under scrutiny from human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, due to the severe pain a suspect can experience from being tased. The organization has documented more than 70 lethal uses of tasers and has also found that police officers often use them inappropriately. For example, they are sometimes used on suspects who are already in police custody, or to retaliate against a suspect who was difficult.

Electo-shock weapons are particularly open to abuse because they leave very little evidence. Unlike a police beating, which leaves bruising and other obvious injuries, tasers leave behind few telltale signs of their use – which causes “extreme pain,” according to one sheriff. The company that manufactures tasers has studied their use, determining that 80 percent of suspects subjected to the shocks are not armed; in fact, many are already handcuffed and in police custody. Sixty-five percent, according to the same study, were either resisting (but not attacking or threatening an officer) or were verbally non-compliant only. Police may also use the device repeatedly to gain the suspect’s compliance; for example, using the device five times on a suspect who is on the ground but on whom the arresting officers are having difficulty placing handcuffs.

Broward criminal lawyer William Moore has years of experience in criminal defense, including sex crimes and DUI. A felony or misdemeanor conviction of any type can have far-reaching consequences on your freedom, your employment, and your personal life. If you have been arrested in south Florida, contact William Moore, P.A., with offices in Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward, and Fort Lauderdale Counties.

Article contributed by Mallory Shipman, Esq.

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