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Canadian Study — Stun Guns Lethal

Posted on August 13, 2010

The controversy in Canada is being heard over the border by law enforcement in the U.S. A government inquiry there found stun guns could be lethal and urged police to limit their use, according to Reuters. On Tuesday, August 10, a Canadian judge allowed the findings to stand and refused to follow pressure from Taser International, a stun gun maker, to quash the findings.

Taser International had argued that the findings were unreasonable and it was treated unfairly by the government inquiry. Stun guns, also known as Tasers, are used by law enforcement to immobilize a suspect by delivering a jolt of up to 50,000 volts of electricity. The shock has caused some people’;s hearts to fail.

The Canadian inquiry began after a Polish immigrant was tasered to death at the Vancouver airport. He had received seven shots with the stun gun before he died. Taser International denies any weapons it makes could cause any deaths. The Arizona-based company says the inquiry has cost it sales.

The inquiry Commissioner, retired judge Thomas Braidwood, suggests law enforcement restrict using Tasers just to crime where there is a clear threat of danger to the public. He also suggests that the “gun” should not be shot near a person’s heart.

Taser International had previously made the same recommendation to law enforcement in the U.S. after the deaths of several suspects including 56-year-old Emily Delafield. In 2006, police were called to her Florida home. Delafield, a schizophrenic, was found sitting in her wheelchair in the street holding a hammer and kitchen knives.

Two officers from Green Cove Springs, Florida decided to stun her to bring her under control. Unfortunately, the shocks, which were applied for 121 seconds brought the heart of the obese woman to a stop. Her family sued the two police officers after her death was ruled a homicide.