Injuries caused by Direct Taser Use


Injuriescaused by Direct Taser Use

Injuriescaused by Direct Taser Use

ATaser is a device used as a non-lethal weapon by the policemen forself-defense as it weakens an assailant due to electrical shock.However, the use of Tasers have been said to cause direct andsecondary injuries to the subjects. The occurrence of direct injuriesemanates from the Taser’s needle-like probes which pierce the skin.Therefore, this paper discusses subject’s injuries emanating fromthe use of Tasers by the policemen.

Ithas been found that Taser devices cause direct injuries when used bythe policemen to defend themselves against aggressive subjects.According to a number of studies (HECOE, 2005 Donnelly et al., 2002Winslow &amp Bozeman, 2005), numerous injuries emanate from the useTaser weapons. Some of the direct injuries include but not restrictedto facial lacerations, eye injuries, groin lacerations, and skininjuries such as irritation, blistering, and redness. In a broad riskanalysis, HECOE (2005) approximated the possibility of Taser injuriesto subjects who are punched with the Taser’s needle-like probes.Based on the report delivered by U.S police department, HECOEconclusively asserted that serious injuries are not likely to occurthrough continued use of Taser to subjects, and estimated that therisk of lacerations and minor burns may not exceed 87 percent and 81percent respectively. However, potentially serious groin and faciallacerations are approximated to be utmost 3 percent and 1 percentrespectively. Moreover, the potential risk of eye injuries wasreported to be extremely low, at 0.04 percent.

Equallysignificantly, further studies show that most of the subjects exposedto Taser devices uphold no serious body harm (Battershill et al.,2004). For instance, the police Portland Bureau reports depicted that63 percent of the subjects exposed to Tasers lacked documentedinjuries (CPRC, 2005). However, 76 percent of those subjects whodocumented injuries experienced slight injuries such as bruises andlacerations, while the rest had injuries not related to use of Tasersuch as self-inflicted injuries. Additionally, the department ofSettle Police report indicated that 68 percent of Taser subjectsresulted in slight lacerations where the needle-like probes hadpierced the skin of the subject (Donnelly et at, 2002). Similarly,New Zealand police reported that the deployment of the Tasers causedno major injuries to the subjects or the officers (New ZealandPolice, 2008).

Also,Taser caused secondary injuries to the subjects due to the inductionof electricity to muscular contractions. Therefore, secondaryinjuries occur when the subject succumb head injuries in case headcollide with a hard surface (Winslow &amp Bozeman, 2005 Donnelly etal., 2002). The risk of secondary injuries is potentially seriousespecially when the subject is standing on a higher platform such asroof, balcony and staircases (Donnelly et al., 2002). Furthermore,the use Taser may cause ignition on subjects wearing flammableclothing or covering (Donnelly et al. 2002). Donnelly furtherillustrates that the use of Taser in environment with petrol vaporsuch as such as may cause ignition leading to fatal fire accidents.

Inconclusion, the use of Tasers by the policemen causes primary andsecondary injuries to the subject. The primary injuries occur whenthe needle-like probes pierce into the subject’s skin causingslight injuries such as facial laceration, skin irritation, skinredness, blistering, groin lacerations, and occasionally, eyeinjuries. Secondary injuries occur due to other reasons rather thanthe use of Tasers such self-infliction and downfall.


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CanadianPolice Research Centre. (2005). Reviewof conducted energy devices,CPRC, Ottawa, retrieved from 3rdJuly, 2014.

Donnelly,T, Douse, K, Gardner, M &amp Wilkinson, D . (2002). PSDBevaluation of Taser devices, Police Scientific Development Branch:Home Office Policing and Crime Reduction Group, Woodcock Hill, UnitedKingdom, retrieved from on 3rdJuly, 2014.

JointNon-lethal Weapons Human Effects Center of Excellence (HECOE).(2005). Humaneffectiveness and risk characterisation of the EM incapacitationdevice — a limited analysis of theTaser,retrieved from on 3rdJuly, 2014.

NewZealand Police. (2008). Operationalevaluation of the New Zealand Taser trial,New Zealand Police, Wellington, retrieved from 3rdJuly, 2014.

Winslow,JE &amp Bozeman, WP . (2005). ‘Medicalaspects of less lethal weapons’,The Internet Journal of Rescue and Disaster Medicine, vol. 5,retrieved from 3rdJuly, 2014.