March 29, 2006
Taser Use Expands; Deaths Too
WASHINGTON, D. C. -- The number of people who have died in the U.S. after being shocked by police stun guns is growing rapidly, Amnesty International says in a report that catalogs 156 deaths in the past five years.
Deaths after the use of Taser stun guns rose to 61 last year from three in 2001, the international human-rights group said.
However, there also has been a marked increase in the number of law enforcement agencies employing the devices made by Taser International of Scottsdale, Ariz. About 1,000 of the nation's 18,000 police agencies used Tasers in 2001; more than 7,000 had them last year, according to Congress' Government Accountability Office, and police used Tasers more than 70,000 times as of last year.
"Amnesty International continues to ignore the fact Taser systems have been medically cleared in nearly all of these incidents," Steve Tuttle, a Taser vice president, said.