At a time when police departments say offenders are becoming more violent and officer injuries are on the rise, Tasers have become an invaluable tool, allowing officers to subdue suspects without deadly force, reports the Christian Science Monitor. But critics say police have become too enamored of them, and they point a death last Tuesday in Miami Beach as evidence that the use of electroshock weapons is too often replacing caution and common sense.
Most police departments do not publish data on Taser incidents, as they do on incidents that involve firearms. But statistics and police statements suggest Taser use is on the rise. The trend is “societal,” Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. “Lots of economic frustrations, lack of respect for authority. It’s a byproduct of what is happening in our country.” A 2012 study by Amnesty International found that 500 people had died from being shot by police with Tasers since 2001.