Report: The truth about taser safety
Nick Langewis and Mike Aivaz
Published: Thursday January 31, 2008 |
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The following CBC documentary highlights the growing number of unnecessary uses of the taser, which one operates by shooting electrified metal barbs into a human target, instantly disrupting his or her central nervous system with 50,000 volts of electricity.

Rick Smith, CEO and co-founder of Arizona's Taser International, says his original inspiration for what would later become the "non-lethal" taser came from the 1993 death of two friends to shots fired during a traffic stop.

Tasers are widely touted by law enforcement as devices that officers of the law can use to defend themselves, and/or "gain compliance," without resorting to guns, chemical means or physical activity.

Over 300 people in North America have died after being "tased." Blame for taser-related deaths is largely put on drug use or a word-parsing phenomenon called "excited delirium," which research suggests could be described as an extended disruption of heart rhythm following the shock, especially depending on where the current enters the body.

Taser International has funded numerous studies of its own, which it touts at conferences and on its website. Taser has also exhibited a litigious nature, against medical examiners in particular, when it product is found to be a contributor to, or outright cause of, a person's death.

The following video is from CBC's The National, broadcast on January 30, 2007

Part 1

Part 2