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Correction and elaboration on prone positioning study report

Editor’s Note: Our thanks to alert reader Jim Wilson, a certified Force Science Analyst, for calling the discrepancy to our attention.

Our apologies. We misinterpreted one set of statistics cited in our recent report on a new study that challenges the assertion that prone positioning is especially dangerous for subdued subjects.

We stated that of the subjects in the study who were TASERed, about 29 percent ended up in a prone position, while 25 percent ended up not prone. That’s incorrect.

We should have written:

“Of the large number of subjects studied, about 29 percent of those who ended up prone had been TASERed, and of those who ended up not prone 25 percent had been TASERed. No deaths were recorded in the prone group.”

The researchers’ conclusion remains as we reported: Prone positioning after CEW deployment is not more dangerous for the subject involved.

Meanwhile, Dr. Christine Hall, lead author of the study, reports that some critics of the research have questioned its validity on grounds that officers involved “knew they were being monitored so they faked the data.” Hall offers this rebuttal, which you may find useful if you encounter similar objections:

“For nearly 2,000 officers to fabricate three consecutive years’ worth of data would require a very widespread and sustained systematic fabrication of virtually ALL use-of-force report forms for that time period. Such widespread, let alone sophisticated and preplanned, fabrication is highly unlikely to have occurred across a large variety of shift-working officers.”

Even though “hundreds of individuals in the study were proned without untoward outcome, leaving someone restrained in that position — or any other — without direct monitoring for anything over a few minutes is a poor plan,” Hall cautions. “We advocate active monitoring of the face of the individual so that early distress may be detected in any position.” 

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