June 06, 2008
Training Bulletin Just Released by TASER
Release Date: 6/12/2008
Subject: Recent Jury Verdict in TASER Use-of-Force Case
Background: On June 6, 2008 a jury verdict in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in the case of Betty Lou Heston, et al. v. City of Salinas, TASER International, Inc. (TASER), et al. found that the extended duration of a TASER Electronic Control Device (ECD or device) contributed 15 percent to the death of Mr. Robert C. Heston on February 19, 2005 (Mr. Heston’s own actions, including toxic methamphetamine ingestion were found liable for 85%). This has lead to much speculation in the media, and misinformation from third parties seeking to mischaracterize the outcome and implications of this case.
This bulletin will set forth the salient facts and address some of the misinformation being circulated misconstruing the Heston verdict against TASER as a liability risk to law enforcement agencies who are using TASER devices. In fact, the Heston jury found just the opposite; that the prolonged and multiple TASER ECD exposures by Salinas police officers was NOT excessive use of force and exonerated the City of Salinas, the Salinas Police Department, and Salinas police officers from all liability. The Heston case continues a long line of extensive court rulings that have held that the appropriate use of the TASER device is not excessive use of force and affirms the overwhelming data from our customers showing that deployment of the TASER device significantly reduces excessive use of force claims for law enforcement.
Read the rest of the bulletin (PDF).