Four days before a consultant suggested the New York Police Department expand its use of Tasers, Taser International was hit with a $6 million verdict for the death of a California man, the New York Daily News reports. A federal jury found that the Arizona-based company should have better warned Salinas, Ca., police that the weapon’s shocks were potentially dangerous. The jury held Salinas police financially blameless in the death of a 40-year-old drug user whose enlarged heart gave out after repeated shocks.
The American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International USA have called for a moratorium on Tasers; the Rand Corp. recommended that New York test wider use. NYPD has about 500 Tasers in use; a pilot program would put Tasers on the hips of rank-and-file cops in targeted police precincts. Rand estimated that 25 of the 455 police-related shootings it reviewed might have been prevented if cops had Tasers.