Stun guns, Tasers and other conducted energy weapons (CEWs) can be fatal, but those occurrences are “extremely rare,” according to a new study published by the non-profit Council of Canadian Academies.
A multidisciplinary panel of researchers examined reports on stun gun use, relevant research on electrophysiology and electrical engineering, and conducted site visits at Canadian military testing facilities.
They determined that while there have not been enough studies to make firm conclusions about long-term neuroendocrine, respiratory, and cardiac effects of CEWs, available research suggests that fatal complications are not common.
At least 33 deaths have followed CEW deployment since 1998 in Canada, researchers noted, but said it is not clear how many deaths were the direct result of CEW use. According to annual statistics from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police cited in the study, CEWs have been deployed by Canadian law enforcement thousands of times since 1998.
The researchers noted that CEWs are often blamed for sudden in-custody deaths, but those incidents typically involve complicated scenarios that include “multiple factors, all of which can potentially contribute to a sudden unexpected death.”
“This makes it difficult to isolate the contribution of any single factor,” researchers wrote.
Read the full report HERE.