Taser International co-founder and CEO Rick Smith shows how the company's X-26 Taser can be mounted to a rifle. The X-26 is being used in this manner by the military in Iraq. (pic. In These Times)

In November there was outcry after a 10-year-old American girl was tasered by police called in by her mother when she refused to take a shower. Police have so often been accused of using Tasers gratuitously that the firm started fitting them with digital cameras that recorded every firing. This “Taser-cam” got the firm’s boffins thinking: why not equip police with cameras that can record entire incidents (not just the brief moment when a Taser is used) and even beam the recordings instantly back to the higher-ups at headquarters?

The result is a “tactical on-officer network computer” called AXON, which is being tested by several police forces in America. Recordings are uploaded to a restricted website, evidence.com, to be viewed by approved personnel. Mr Smith says that the creation of a sort of “secure YouTube of global law enforcement” could be beneficial both for the public, who would get more accountable police, and for officers on the beat, who could be vindicated more quickly if falsely accused of brutality. But the biggest winner would be Taser, which expects to charge $1,700 for the hardware, plus $99 per device per month to manage all the data.

Mmm yes if there’s one thing our police murdering people has shown is that when video exist of the crime they certainly are forthcoming with it…Jeebus, Martina and Jeremy, this will give Taser inc and police HQ a head start in muddying the waters, counter claiming and defending from brutality and wrongful death suits and if the video inescapably proves Tasers killed a person… Yeah that will get released voluntarily by the police and Taser Inc. sure it will, you can have their word on that as manufactures and users of non-lethal weapons …that have killed over three hundred people. Who have autopsy reports altered and sues local authorities for protecting their own citizens as part of an ‘aggressive’ global legal campaign to destroy negative information about their non-lethal lethal weapons.

Oh and remember all the new gear they have coming, of course we are buying some-

Last June it launched the XREP (extended range electronic projectile), a wireless device that can be fired from a shotgun to zap someone up to 100 feet (30 metres) away. Unlike the pinprick caused by the original wired dart, which has a range of up to 35 feet, “this will leave an ugly mark, but it won’t kill you,” says Mr Smith. In November it launched the X3, a semi-automatic stun-gun that allows three shots, “in case the first one misses”.

the Home Office is considering issuing UK police forces with the new wireless stun gun called the Taser X-REP

One Third of UK TASER Usage is by Non-Firearms Officers

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Colombia Orders 140 Tasers

Woohoo, that bastion of human rights best practice and US ally/deluxe military base has tested the ethical standards of Taser Inc. and found yes indeed they will sell them to such wonderful not at all death squady torture happy Colombian cops, also gotta love the ‘electronic control devices‘ euphemism Taser employ…

(FinancialWire) Taser International, Inc. (NASDAQ: TASR), a market leader in digital evidence solutions and electronic control devices, announced an order from the Colombian National Police for 140 Taser(R) X26 ECDs and related accessories. The contract was placed with Tasers exclusive distributor, Eagle Commercial, S.A. in Colombia.

North Wales Police Taser Use

COPS in North Wales used taser guns 58 times last year, new figures show. However statistics released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal they were only actually fired 16 times. The 50,000 volt guns were drawn, aimed or pressed up against people on 42 other occasions. The youngest person threatened with one was aged 14 and the oldest was 63. But of the 16 who did have the electric barbs fired at them, the youngest person was 19 and the oldest was 58. In a Freedom of Information response a North Wales Police spokesman said they aimed tasers without removing the safety catch twice. But the safety catch was removed to allow officers to shine a red light at people 28 times. On three other occasions, the taser was pressed against people and cycled which gives a shock without firing the probes.

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When All You’ve Got Is A Hammer

Every problem looks like a nail-

A police decision to use a Taser gun on an 89-year-old man who was threatening to cut his own throat has been upheld by a watchdog. The Independent Police Complaints Commission(IPCC) said North Wales Police officers were protecting the public and the man’s life. The retired carpenter and World War II veteran walked out of a residential home in Llandudno, Conwy in January.

He smashed a window and ran off clutching a piece of glass. Police said at the time that they used the 50,000-volt stun gun to control the man, who has not been named, because they thought he might kill himself. The IPCC has now upheld the decision of an internal North Wales Police inquiry in to the incident. Relatives had disagreed with the decision and said the Taser could have killed him, that handcuffs were unnecessary and that the officers should have used other ways to calm him down.

This is the IPCC that has now been revealed to be complicit in attempting to cover up the killing of Ian Tomlinson

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) planned to announce that it had completed its assessment into Tomlinson’s death on 1 April and discovered nothing suspicious. At 11.30am on 4 April, investigators prepared a document announcing Tomlinson died of a heart attack after being caught up among protesters “dressed entirely in black” who, it said, were charging police.

“It was during this charge and retreat that Mr Tomlinson has seemed to have been caught up in the crowds and a number of people describe seeing him ‘collapse and fall to the ground’.”

The statement went on to say the IPCC had examined CCTV of the incident, police records and statements from independent witnesses, and been “satisfied that there is no evidence that the actions of those officers present on Cornhill contributed in any way to the sudden and untimely death of an innocent bystander”.

Their premature conclusions were read over the phone to Tomlinson’s family, but then appear to have been shelved at the last minute.

The logs also reveal the family were told by police there were “no marks” on Tomlinson’s face, a claim they contested after viewing his body. In their first interview, on Thursday, the family said City of London police, the Met and the IPCC discouraged them from talking to the media and said they believed there were attempts to cover up details about the death.

They said they were only given a selective account of a postmortem which found Tomlinson died of a heart attack.

The logs appear to confirm they were not told that the pathologist also discovered large amounts of blood in Tomlinson’s stomach and other injuries.

“Looking back, it is obvious we were misled by police in the hours and days after Ian died,” Paul King, Tomlinson’s son, said.

“There is still a lot to come out about how we were prevented from knowing the truth about Ian’s death.” He added that the family had been in shock when police family liaison officers were appointed and, he said, “trusted them too much”.

(ht2 Harpymarx)

The IPCC is a sham, they are too close to the police to fulfil the role of police oversight and investigation of criminal activity by the police. Their continued existence tells you all you need to know of authoritarian desires for police control of the population amongst the establishment, all wrapped in the shiny false pretences of accountability.

Ian Tomlison’s widow Julia and son Paul King, were interviewed in the Guardian (I wonder if the Guardian had not decided to take this stance would the killing be swept under the carpet despite coverage in independent media, because clearly the IPCC were part of the scam and citizen media is not that powerful)-

Julia Tomlinson criticised the IPCC failing to properly investigate her husband’s death until after the video was broadcast – almost a week after his death.

“The IPCC should have been there from day one – definitely – not left it five days later,” she said.

King added: “We’ve asked to see the evidence that [the IPCC] passed to the CPS. We’re still waiting for it … we haven’t seen it.

“Everyone knows that there was a lot of cover-up in the beginning. The truth will come out in the end.”

The family believe police misled them over Tomlinson’s death from the outset.

“It was half past four in the morning – a knock at the door and Stephanie, the second youngest daughter, answered the door,” Julia Tomlinson said.

“There were two police officers standing there and they asked to speak to Sam, my eldest daughter. I came down the stairs and they asked if I was Mrs Tomlinson, and I said yes.

“They said: ‘Have you heard about the G20? I said: ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’

“They said: ‘If you’d like to sit down, then we’ll explain to you. And they said: ‘Your husband was caught up in the G20 riots, and he suddenly collapsed and died of a heart attack.”

Police then refused to allow her to see his body in the Royal London Hospital, she added.

“Six days later, I wasn’t allowed to go and see him,” she said. “I didn’t understand why they didn’t want me to go and see him – if someone dies of a heart attack, you get to go and see him. But they weren’t letting me.”

They also disclosed that, when a post-mortem examination was completed three days after Tomlinson died, police gave them an edited version of the results.

The family were not told that a forensic pathologist had found large amounts of blood in his stomach, a suspected dog bite on his leg and a number of other injuries.

“Now we know that it wasn’t a heart attack … that he died of internal bleeding.”

King said: “We’ve been confused by the City police, Metropolitan police, IPCC to not say anything: ‘Don’t say anything, because you’ll jeopardise the case’.

“I think we’ve been so confused with all that – don’t say this, don’t say that, even down to don’t talk to the media – they’ve made us quite scared to talk.

“The IPCC have finished their investigation, we haven’t been able to talk, and we just want to let people know how we feel. We are grieving.”

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Cost of Tasers in North Wales

I have to say LibDem Tom Brake does a superb job in his comments on this, concise and informative on the key issues.

ARMING more North Wales cops with Tasers will cost the force almost £40,000 this year, records reveal. And training up the rank and file to use the American-style stun guns will also take each officer off the streets for at least two days. Until this year only the most highly-trained fire arms squads could carry the weapons, which emit 50,000-volts to temporarily paralyse targets.

But a relaxation of the rules means 30,000 more junior officers are set to be trained up nationally. North Wales police have trialled the use of the weapons, set to be rolled out to other forces this year. Under the Freedom of Information Act North Wales police admitted piloting the use of Tasers cost £22,428, while rolling out the scheme this year will cost £39,191. The figures do not take in to account any costs for the officer’s time.

Tom Brake, the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman who uncovered the information, said: “Having police out patrolling the streets would be of far more benefit to the public than locking them away for two days and training them to use deadly weapons. Tasers have killed over 300 people in America since 2001 and yet the Home Office maintains that they are non-lethal. It is ridiculous that the Home Office is lavishing millions on Tasers when some police forces do not want even want them. Tasers should be left in the hands of specially trained firearms officers. By giving 30,000 officers Tasers we are descending the slippery slope towards armed, US-style policing.”

Against Guidelines, Police Clearly Using Pain Compliance

This was a Tasering sent to Trent FM in Nottingham

(sorry Daily Mail) According to guidelines from the Association of Chief Police Officers, they must not be used indiscriminately. Guidelines issued to forces state: ‘The use of taser is one of a number of tactical options available to an officer who is faced with violence or the threat of violence.

 ‘Its purpose is to temporarily incapacitate an individual in order to control the threat that they pose.

‘It must not be used to inflict severe pain or suffering in the performance of official duties.’

So either the cops broke the guidelines or this is a big fib they are being taught to use pain compliance or in other words electro-torture to make people do whatever the officer wants them to do. Oh yeah, they punched him a fair bit too.

Taser– This machine creates fascists.

Night & Fog?

Just caught this odd snippet of news-

POLICE swarmed a property in a usually-quiet cul-de-sac last night.

A resident reported seeing eight officers with Taser guns arrive at a property in Bryn Canol, Bedwas, at 7.50pm yesterday, but Gwent Police said none of the officers had been armed.

A spokesman for the force refused to explain the incident to the Echo and said: “It is nothing I’m willing to discuss at this time.”

Now is that ok that the police are refusing to explain their actions and are they saying Tasers do not count as being armed? If it isn’t admitted to does it not happen? Strange.

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Tasers- Open Letter Editorial From Globe & Mail Canada To Jacqui Smith

To: Rt. Hon. Jacqui Smith, British Home Secretary

Re: What you should know about tasers

It has come to our attention that you intend to put 10,000 electric stun guns in the hands of front-line police officers across England and Wales. Pardon our impertinence, but have you considered removing your ubiquitous security cameras first?

Ms. Smith, the police in Canada tell themselves lies about their beloved tasers. For instance, that tasers do not kill. No amount of deaths (22 in five years in this country with some taser connection) will convince them otherwise. In September, a Quebec coroner said tasers should be deemed capable of leading to death, until more is known. Police don’t believe it.

A myth: Tasers are an alternative to guns. The government official who approved the first taser use in Canada – Ujjal Dosanjh, in British Columbia – insists police told him so. (The police deny it.) Anyway, that is certainly not how they are used now. Their range is just 21 feet, and the optimal distance is 15 feet, and they don’t work on anyone in thick clothing. The answer to a gun- or knife-wielding maniac 20 feet away remains the gun.

Tasers are particularly prone to overuse – the Mounties went from 597 incidents in 2005 to 1,400 times in 2007 – and, let’s face it, abuse. Frank Lasser was shot in his hospital bed – he’s 82, for goodness’ sake – because he refused to drop his penknife. Robert Dziekanski was a 40-year-old Polish immigrant left stranded for 10 hours in an airport, unable to find his mother. Four Mounties approached and, within 30 seconds, tasered him twice. He died. (A bystander caught this on video. Very embarrassing.) If tasers are the answer to the stranded and the confused, well, it doesn’t speak very well of human ingenuity. Please, when you train your officers: Show them what not to do. Show them the fatal Dziekanski takedown. And allow tasers to be used only when there’s a real risk of serious bodily harm.

Police use the taser as a ready response to combative individuals – it’s usually safe, especially when officers cross their fingers – but the use of such overwhelming and disproportionate force will sow distrust between the police and the communities they serve. With cameras ubiquitous, be prepared for the excrement to hit the fan.

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Shocker Doctrine

“They are not a non-lethal weapon – they are just a less lethal weapon.”

Australia NSW Ombudsman, Bruce Barbour. Calling for a two-year moratorium on any further roll-out of Tasers, pending a further independent review.

Do you remember when the UK trials of tasers came to a close and all the results were open for public scrutiny and there was a debate in Parliament over the general arming of police with stun weapons proven to be fatal and there was expert testimony before a commons committee? Well done if you did because it never happened. As usual a consultation period/trial is really just a way of introducing something incrementally to acclimatise us stealthily,  the intention to always go ahead with the full scale plans. So UK cops are all going to be mobile electrical torture machine happy as we enter a severe recession with no indication the policies that have impoverished us while enriching the already wealthy will be changing. So add electrocution to the status quo’s arsenal. Love The Times article repeating spin, ‘knife-wielding thugs and other violent suspects

Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, is to arm police with 10,000 Taser stun guns in an escalation of the government’s fight against violent crime. Smith will unveil plans tomorrow that will enable all 30,000 front-line response officers to be trained in firing the electric guns at knife-wielding thugs and other violent suspects. Smith said yesterday that £8m will be made available to all 43 police forces in England and Wales to buy the new 50,000-volt weapons.

Taser use worldwide has killed over 150 people and is disproportionately used on ethnic minorities and the mentally ill. NOT ‘knife-wielding thugs and other violent suspects‘. Taser inc. work with the authorities to crush autopsies or reports that name tasers as a cause of death, they have a mutual interest to not be found liable for deaths,

The attorney from the prosecutor’s office representling the medical examiner said of the case: “It was an interesting case and an uphill battle,” said Manley. “Taser is quite a force to be reckoned with and does everything to protect their golden egg, which is the Model X26.”

So in fact the 150+ is probably inaccurately low.

Put it this way, when you march against the next war or the police shooting another tube passenger and the barbs are shot into you and 50,000 volts course through your body, it’ll be too late to do something about it.

As we’ve reported before, tasers might not be as safe as their makers like to claim. Juan Flores Lopez, a Texas man who had doused himself in gasoline, became the latest unfortunate taser-related casuality when police used the stun device (which sometimes emit sparks) during his arrest. “We don’t know what ignited the fire,” perplexed officers admitted.

Taser Crazeee

Home office figures released today show Taser use is up as the police trials continue, which is to be expected as they get used to using them (stats here).

The third quarter statistics from a 12-month trial, which extended the use of Tasers to specially trained units in the fight against crime, reveal the devices were used 159 times and discharged 26 times in the last three months. Overall Tasers have been used 411 times and discharged 57 times since the trial began in September 2007.

Figures also published today include a breakdown of all Taser use across England and Wales since it was first introduced in April 2004.  Statistics revealed a total of 2,662 uses and 834 discharges.

However the experience in the US and Canada is that Tasers actually create a whole new category of police-public interaction where before no weapons would be used they are now casually using Tasers to force compliance on people. It is also becoming apparent that deaths due to their repeated use are increasing and the instances where they are used as an implement to torture, often subdued and contained persons, is also increasing. What this means is they are not a magic stun gun but a weapon that can be both lethal and used to torture suspects. Police are still allowed after an incident to get together to agree their story before the investigators can question them. Also Taser Inc. aggressively use the law to stifle medical examiners who find Tasers were a cause or contributory to a death, they also release scientific reports funded by themselves claiming Tasers are harmless. They work closely in partnership with state and security forces to avoid scrutiny and accountability, our government is so far not showing much independence from this state corporatism that is bringing Tasers in to our standard police arsenal. And should the paramilitary drift of US police be a guide for where our police see themselves? Certainly as inequality rises and the recession bites social control of the masses is a priority for the state, corporations and the ruling class. As such arming police under the guise of ‘non-lethal’ stun guns is less about public safety and more about ensuring the established order have the tools to maintain their position. A heavily armed police is a disincentive to tackle the real roots of crime. America and the prison industrial complex shows us that. Leftwing Criminologist covered the fascinating history of the Police Union, which illuminates how our security forces were stripped of any progressive elements part 1 & part 2

However, on 24th February 1919, after the board refused to accept one of Macready’s orders he moved against the union and drew up plans for elected three different boards each representing a different ranks of the police force, constables, sergeants and inspectors individually. Union activists were dismissed and the Home Secretary in support of Macready that any policemen who retained membership of the Union would lose their jobs, and on 8th July 1919 starting bring forth a bill to ban police from being members of a trade union. Crucially, however, the government combined repression with concessions that vastly increased pay and used the new three-tier representative structure to establish the Police Federation, a kind of company union that still exists today.

The Police Federation as it was established and still exists today is a vehicle for suppressing police militancy. Constables, who are the lowest rank in the police, were the most militant section of the police both before and during the strike. Thus the new representative structures that the Federation embodied minimised their role. This was done by splitting the structure by rank with constables, sergeants and inspectors each electing their own representatives, where each rank made up a third each of a joint negotiating body. Given that there are many more constables than sergeants, and many more sergeants than inspectors, this was a deliberate weighting to suppress the more militant ranks.

And the prison officers union here who of late are getting active again and as Stroppyblog says-

And should anyone fear that such strikes would be illegal, just stop and ask yourself … Who exactly is going to lock us all up?!

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Taser Inc. Gets Coroner’s Report Censored

It is vital to Taser Inc. that they can promote their gadget as non-lethal, as it then allows governments implementing their use to claim they are a ‘stun’ weapon and a less dangerous alternative to firearms. Although in use what happens is they not only replace firearms in some situations but they are used in incidents where before no weapon would have been deployed. Violence in the form of electrocution is increasingly used to force compliance as Taser use creeps into everyday interactions between public and the police, who are especially vulnerable to authoritarian tendencies. Here the corporation, police department and judiciary act in concert in a very worrying manner for professional integrity & human liberty-

A Summit County Common Pleas judge ordered the county medical examiner to delete any reference that Tasers contributed to the deaths of three Ohio men. All three men were in an ‘agitated’ state and ‘on drugs’ when police officers shot them with Tasers, and the judge ordered their deaths be ruled ‘accidental’ also that any reference to “homicide or “electrical pulse stimulation” should be deleted from death certificates and autopsy reports.”

Five sheriff’s deputies had been indicted on charges related to the death of one of the men, who also had a history of mental illness. The judge further ordered that man’s death be ruled as “undetermined” and to “delete any references to homicide and the death possibly being caused by asphyxia, beatings or other factors.”

The court hearing centered around the “very narrow issue” of whether or not the use of the Taser Model X26 could contributed in any way to the cause of death.

A Taser International spokesman issued the following statement after the court ruling: “Taser International believed from the beginning that these determinations of cause of death must be supported by facts, medical research and scientific evidence,” spokesman Steve Tuttle said in a prepared statement Friday.

As of mid-April, 68 wrongful-death or injury lawsuits have been dismissed or judgments entered in favor of Taser, according to the company. The company has not lost any product-liability lawsuits.

The attorney from the prosecutor’s office representling the medical examiner said of the case: “It was an interesting case and an uphill battle,” said Manley. “Taser is quite a force to be reckoned with and does everything to protect their golden egg, which is the Model X26.”

The BBC Try To Make Taser Inc.’s Marketing Department Redundant

While simultaneously threatening the livelihoods of Metropolitan Police recruiters (and why report from anywhere in the UK when you can just report from London!). Propaganda here.

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As Taser Use Increases The RCMP Redact Details

I think maybe authoritarians think of Tasers as like remote controls… for humans. And as their use rolls out across the world by uniformed goons everywhere such lack of transparency is a big red FLAG! Our own trials here at the four month stage lack many specifics, something that should be remedied (*begins researching FOI procedure*). There is much more to the below article and it is worth reading in full (full version below the fold or click link), this is not how a police service should act in a democracy-

A joint investigation by The Canadian Press and CBC found the Mounties are now refusing to divulge key information that must be recorded each time they draw their electronic weapons. As a result, Canadians will know much less about who is being hit with the 50,000-volt guns, whether they were armed, why they were fired on and whether they were injured. Taser report forms obtained under the Access to Information Act show the Mounties have used the powerful weapons more than 4,000 times since introducing them seven years ago.

Information stripped from the forms includes details of several Taser cases the Mounties previously made public under the access law. In effect, the RCMP is reclassifying details of Taser use – including some telling facts that raised pointed questions about how often the stun guns are fired and why.

A Canadian Press analysis last November of 563 incidents between 2002 and 2005 found three in four suspects Tasered by the RCMP were unarmed. Several of those reports suggested a pattern of stun-gun use as a handy tool to keep drunk or rowdy suspects in line, rather than to defuse major threats. But the Mounties are now censoring Taser report forms to conceal related injuries, duration of shocks, whether the individual was armed, what police tried before resorting to the stun gun, and precise dates of firings.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Taser Trial- 163 Uses In 4 Months

Police firearms officers have used Taser stun guns 163 times in four months – an average of more than once a day – the Home Office has said. It also said specially trained units who were not firearms officers used the stun guns 16 times in the first stage of the trial involving 10 forces. Minister Tony McNulty said the figures were published as part of the “rigorous and measured approach” to Taser use. The 12-month trial of Taser use by unarmed officers began in September.

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Tasers As ‘compliance tool’

Vancouver police regularly use Tasers to subdue people who are unarmed and non-violent, according to internal reports released by the force.

The reports indicate that, in most cases in which Vancouver officers fired the Taser from a distance, the person was acting violently — from fighting with officers to threatening themselves or others with a weapon.

However, in a number of cases, police used the Taser as soon as someone displayed a “fighting stance” or simply to get a non-violent suspect to do what they were told.

Jason Gratl, president of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, said he was troubled to see Vancouver police are using the Taser as a compliance tool. “The officers seem content to Taser individuals for lack of compliance with verbal commands or aggressive posturing,” said Gratl. “It is dead certain from these reports that Tasers are not merely an alternative to the use of sidearms but are used in practice as a convenient tool to gain physical control over individuals.”

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