Tasers and similar stun guns, increasingly popular among law enforcement agencies, are generally safe for law enforcement to use, says research reported by the Associated Press. In the first large independent study of injuries from Tasers, researchers reviewed 962 cases in six locations. Nearly all the cases they found resulted in no injuries or minor ones such as scrapes and bruises. “This is the first time we’ve got an accounting of how likely it is that you’ll be seriously injured by one of these devices,” said lead researcher Dr. William P. Bozeman, an emergency medical specialist at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He presented the research yesterday at the American College of Emergency Physicians in Seattle.
Taser critics say the devices are prone to misuse by police who fire them too readily at people who may be mentally ill, high on drugs or vulnerable because of medical conditions. By July, Amnesty International USA had tallied 250 cases in six years in which people died after being stunned with Tasers; the group didn’t track the individual causes of death.