Thursday, July 05, 2007

All WA police to carry stun guns

July 5, 2007: Perth Indymedia research reveals that the WA Police Force has tendered for Supply and Delivery of Bulk TASER equipment at a cost of over four million dollars for another 1100 Taser stun-guns. WA Police say all officers on duty will soon be equipped with the so-called "non-lethal" stun guns.

Shaped like a gun but battery-operated, a Taser fires two fishhooklike barbs into a person's skin and disrupts a person's muscle control for five seconds. Taser darts have a range of over 6 metres and can be pressed directly against a person to use in stun mode. Victims say the pain is "excruciating". WA Police say officers will have a one-day training course on how to use the guns.

Tasers are used by over 7,000 of the 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the USA. Tasers incapacitate people by conducting 50,000 volts of electricity into your body which induce skeletal muscle spasms that immobilise and incapacitate, causing you to collapse.

More than 150 people have died in the US after being struck by tasers since June 2001 - 61 in 2005 alone - and numbers are continuing to rise. Most who died were subjected to multiple or prolonged shocks. In 2006, Nickolos Cyrus, a 29-year-old man diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, was shocked 12 times with a Taser stun gun after police found him trespassing on a construction site. AMNESTY

Police have fired Tasers at a teenager who ran after not paying a $1 bus fare, a 71-year-old man who refused to get into a police car, and a partially deaf man who couldn't hear deputies ordering him to stop. Three out of four of those shocked by police were unarmed.

Critics say Tasers are being drawn too quickly and with extreme unnecessary force. They worry about potential abuses as more officers come to rely on tasers to subdue people who pose no serious threat. Amnesty International has published a comprehensive report detailing serious concern over the use of tasers - calling for a suspension of Taser use pending an independent, rigorous and impartial inquiry into their use.

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MORE: Tasers Kill People - WA next? Perth Indymedia: Feb 2005 || Death by TASER: The Killer Alternative to Guns || Excessive and lethal force? Amnesty International’s concerns || Video of US Police Taser Abuse || SEARCH Perth Indy for "Taser"

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