Taser stun gun kills California man

SAN FRANCISCO: A 26-year-old man died on Friday after police used a Taser stun gun to bring him under control, a local sheriff's office in California said.

The incident occurred in San Jose, 70 kilometres southwest of San Francisco, at a hospital where police were called to break up a fight.

In trying to subdue an alleged troublemaker described as "a 26-year-old Hispanic male resident of San Jose," police fired a Taser gun at him leaving him unconscious, the Santa Clara sheriff's office said in a statement.

"Deputies observed that the subject was unresponsive. CPR was started immediately by deputies and officers on-scene," it added.

The injured man was taken to a hospital emergency ward but died a few minutes later, the sheriff's department said.

"The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office is conducting the primary investigation and it is being monitored by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office," it added.

Amnesty International said on Tuesday in a recent report that 334 people died in the United States between 2001 and August 2008 after being zapped with Tasers, with medical examiners and coroners concluding that Taser shocks caused, or contributed to, at least 50 of the deaths.

At the end of November, Amnesty criticised the British government's decision to equip police in England and Wales with 10,000 Tasers, following earlier trials. Regular British officers do not carry guns.

Last Friday, prosecutors in Canada opted not to press charges against four police officers seen on video jolting a Polish immigrant with a Taser in Vancouver airport in October 2007. The 40-year-old man died within minutes. - AFP/de

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