Alarmed by the recent deaths of two jail inmates who had been shocked with Taser electronic stun weapons, the Orange County Grand Jury on Wednesday recommended that deputies no longer use the weapon if other means to control inmates are available, reports the Los Angeles Times. In its annual report, the State of the Orange County Jails, the grand jury said the recent inmate deaths were a “cause of alarm.” The report noted that jail staff used Tasers on 437 inmates between 2004 and 2007.
Jason Gomez died April 1, six days after deputies used a Taser while restraining him at the Intake Release Center in Santa Ana. In October, Michael Lass died after deputies used a Taser while trying to restrain him at the Central Men’s Jail in Santa Ana. A sheriff’s spokesman said department policies already prohibit the use of the Taser unless other less intrusive options are ineffective or would create a greater danger to the deputy or the inmate. Taser International Inc. issued a statement defending its product as safe and effective if used properly.