Federal jury awards $6.2 million in Taser death lawsuit

Nov 15, 2008 - Here on Law and Disorder we've talked with many guests on the dangers of Taser stun guns. Recently Taser International Inc., the largest stun-gun maker, lost a $6.2 million jury verdict over the death of a California man who died after police shot him multiple times with the weapon. A San Jose, California jury says that Taser failed to warn the police of Salinas, California that prolonged exposure to Tasr's electric shock could cause a risk of heart attack. The 40 year old victim Robert Heston died February 20, 2005 after his father had called Salinas police because his son was "acting strangely," and seemed to be on drugs, according to the lawsuit complaint. This is the first defeat for Taser International in a product-liability claim. Though, a product liability claim, another issue of concern is how police abuse and torture people indiscriminately with tasers. Nearly 400 people in the United States have been killed in Taser-related deaths in the past 7 years. Stun guns are already widely abused on people who take too long to pull out ID, who are loud in public, elderly, disabled or in the wrong place at the wrong time. Medical examiners are afraid to rule Tasers as the primary or contributory cause of death out of fear of retribution. In meetings with coroners, Taser International has actually threatened to sue if stun guns are cited on death certificates. Taser International has formed questionable PR ties with law enforcement. It established and funded the Taser Foundation for Fallen Officers in 2004. Taser International Slogan: Saving Lives Everday. Civil rights attorney John Burton who litigated the case says there are 68 more Taser-related death cases to be litigated.

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