Belinda Merhab; 20/11/08; (2 Items)
The NSW Ombudsman has recommended a two-year freeze on further roll-outs of Taser guns, saying police standards for their use are inadequate, and the health risks are unknown. Bruce Barbour told state parliament yesterday that general-duties police, who were issued the stun guns last month, were using Tasers at a higher rate than special operations police, who began using them in 2002. “It is clear the number of incidents where Tasers will be used in the future will increase significantly,” Mr Barbour said. “There is already evidence of this. Tasers have been used on people on five occasions in the first two weeks of general-duties use. This compares with only 48 incidents over a five-year period” by special unit officers… The use of Tasers, which stun a victim by emitting a 50,000-volt electric shock, have been linked to heart complications and death.
Police silence on man’s death after they shot him with a Taser
Dylan Welch; 20/11/08
A MAN died of a heart attack after being repeatedly shot with a Taser in one of the first uses of the weapon in NSW, but police omitted it from official records, including on the man’s death certificate. Gary Pearce, a violent, mentally-ill 56-year-old, died about two weeks after being shot with a stun gun when he threatened police with a frying pan in May 2002. The link between his death and his being shot by a Taser could have been used as evidence of the risks of the controversial weapon, but was only made public by the NSW Ombudsman on Tuesday.