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Injuries to officers highlight taser dangers

13 September 2006

Injuries to officers highlight taser dangers

Green Party Police Spokesperson Keith Locke has written to the Police Minister asking her to reconsider her support for the taser trial following a disclosure that three New Zealand police officers had been injured during tests.

Two officers had received minor flesh injuries, and one was dazed after falling badly.

"Taser victims often 'fall badly' because they have no muscular control to cushion the impact," Mr Locke says.

"Presumably the dazed officer was tasered on a soft surface, unlike many taser victims, who will knock their head on a hard road, a curb, or a protruding object.

"Overseas, such falls have caused death or serious injury. On June 4, 2004 Jerry Pickens was tasered in Bridge City, Louisiana. He fell backward, hit his head on his driveway, went into a coma and died.

"The taser is also dangerous to people with heart conditions, or those whose cardio-vascular system is affected by drugs. The police 'guinea pigs' would have been fit and healthy, unlike many of the people they will be tasering on the street.

"I have written to Police Minister Annette King to ask her to reconsider whether the trial should go ahead in the light of this new evidence," Mr Locke says.

"The risk to the public is too great to justify the continued use of this weapon."


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