New Tasers that automatically shut off after a five-second discharge will soon be in the hands of Fort Worth police, an important safety feature that should prevent sustained shocks to unruly suspects, reports the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. Police administrators said 250 Tasers will be given to patrol, neighborhood, and zero-tolerance officers by midyear. The X2 replaces the X26, both manufactured by Taser International.
Taser International has described the weapon as less lethal because the 50,000-volt shock it deploys for a short time is safe. The older model did not prevent a longer shock. In 2008 a North Carolina teenager died of cardiac arrest after a police officer shocked him twice with a Taser, first for 37 seconds, then for five. In 2009, a Fort Worth officer fired her X26 at Michael Jacobs Jr., 24, a mental health patient acting erratically. The barbs struck him in the chest and neck after the officer inadvertently held down the trigger for 49 seconds and shocked him again for five seconds after he failed to comply with officer commands. Jacobs died.