By Jared Feuer
Guest editorial for the Tennessean.com
Undoubtedly, it is in society’s interest to provide law enforcement with the necessary tools to protect the public safety. International standards encourage nonlethal or “less lethal” measures to decrease the risk of death or injury from firearms and other impact weapons. Taser devices, once widely touted as a valuable innovation in this regard, are today at the center of much debate.
Since 2001, about 400 people have died — 39 this year — after being Tasered by law enforcement personnel in the U.S. Amnesty International believes it is time to reconsider the use of Tasers. We believe this is even more essential as Taser International has issued new recommendations calling on law enforcement to avoid shocking people in the chest. This is the first time Taser has admitted a potentially serious health risk with the devices, and we believe it underscores our call for a full evaluation of their use.