The makers of Taser stun guns say their claims of safety are backed by more than 100,000 police officers who have been shocked during training sessions without suffering a single serious injury. Yet a doctor working for Taser says a one-second burst from the stun gun was responsible for fracturing the back of a Maricopa County, Az., sheriff’s deputy in 2002, the Arizona Republic reports. The doctor, in a memo obtained by the Republic, tells Taser that he found the officer “sustained a T7 compression fracture as the result of the Taser incident.” The officer has filed a product liability lawsuit against Taser International.
“This is not a problem with law enforcement. It’s a problem with Taser,” says Phoenix lawyer John Dillingham says. “Police officers are brainwashed into thinking that the (stun) gun is safe. They are brainwashed into taking a hit during training and then to use it in the field anytime they want.” Taser lawyers say the Arizona deputy should have refused to be shocked because he had previously been treated for two herniated disks and had been warned about the muscle contractions caused by Taser. Taser International has required officers to experience an abbreviated shock before being allowed to carry the stun gun, but that was changed to a “strong recommendation” after police unions worried about shocks becoming a condition of employment.