An expert panel of medical professionals has found no conclusive evidence of a high risk of death or serious injury from the direct effects of Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs), such as Tasers, reports the National Institute of Justice, the U.S. Justice Department’s research agency. The panel is studying deaths related to the use of CEDs. In an interim report, the panel said law enforcement agencies need not stop using CEDs, but cautioned that they should be used reasonably and only after proper training.
Many of the deaths that followed a CED discharge took place when it was used repeatedly or continuously. The medical risks involved in repeated or continuous CED discharges are unknown. Thus, the expert medical panel urges caution in using multiple activations. Certain groups may be at much higher risk of injury or death from CEDs. These groups include children, the elderly, pregnant women, people who have heart disease, and those who show signs of “excited delirium.” Police officers should avoid the use of CEDs against these populations unless the situation excludes other choices. The Justice Department is aware of more than 300 cases of Americans dying after exposure to CEDs. More than 260,000 CEDs are in use by American law enforcement and corrections agencies.