Long considered controversial and possibly deadly, police stun got a clean bill of health from a medical study released today by the Annals of Emergency Medicine, reports the Orlando Sentinel. The three-year study found no links between the 50,000-volt weapons and fatal heart attacks. “We finally have a real-world estimate of the risk associated with these weapons  and we found that to be low,” said Dr. William Bozeman of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. “That’s important because these are violent encounters, and a small scrape or bruise is simply not the same as serious head injury or life-threatening internal injury.”
Researchers at five medical schools reviewed 1,201 shock-arrest cases and found just three in which serious injuries could be tied to an electronic-control weapon. Better known as a Taser — the name of the primary manufacturer — the weapons are carried by more than two-thirds of U.S. police agencies. It is the first study of its kind to medically evaluate every suspect who had been stunned and taken into custody. None showed any irregular heart activity attributable to the electrical charge, said findings reviewed by the American College of Emergency Physicians. More than 70 in-custody deaths across the U.S. involving Tasers have been blamed largely on combinations of the suspects’ drug abuse, medical conditions and struggles with police.