Taser Welcomes Report from Department of Defense

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Taser welcomed the release by the United States Department of Defense of the full report…

… “Human Effectiveness and Risk Characterization of the Electromuscular Incapacitation Device – A Limited Analysis of the TASER.” An executive summary for the report was released in the fall 2004.

“This is the third major, independent safety study of TASER devices released in the past two weeks, following closely on the heels of studies from the government of the United Kingdom and the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies,” commented Rick Smith, Chief Executive Officer of TASER International, Inc. “Yet, Amnesty International USA has stated in a press release this morning that they find independent studies ‘elusive’ — accordingly, we have posted the full text of these studies on our website at www.TASER.com.”

Responding to other comments from Amnesty International, Smith continued, “We are disheartened at Amnesty’s rhetoric and continued misrepresentation of the facts regarding TASER devices. This behavior is disingenuous and not helpful to the public discourse on this important subject. Meanwhile, Amnesty continues to allege ‘103 TASER-related deaths’ despite the fact that their own report finds TASER merely ‘mentioned’ in 17 of these cases.” Independent analysis of this data from the Potomac Institute concluded, “Thus, from Amnesty’s compilation, we are able to confidently isolate stun device application as the principal contributor to death in one instance, and this was due to secondary means (by falling).”

In fact, at a public forum with TASER International Chief Executive Officer Rick Smith on March 9, Amnesty International’s Executive Director Bill Schultz clarified Amnesty International’s position, stating, “What Amnesty International is saying is not that your product causes death. And if there have been any Amnesty International representatives who have said that, they are not reflecting Amnesty International’s position … The real debate is not whether TASERs have saved lives. I think there’s no question about that. The real debate is about whether they may have also contributed to causing deaths.” A complete and unedited copy of the full forum is available in video or transcript at www.TASER.com.

“While we appreciate Dr. Schultz’s clarification on this issue in person, we find the public statements of the organization hypocritical and misleading,” related Smith. “Further, Amnesty indicated they have reviewed 685 reports where the use of the TASER saved a life or averted serious injury. While they dispute the conclusion that the TASER clearly saved a life in 111 cases, they implicitly recognize that the TASER likely saved a life or prevented serious injury in the remaining 574 documented cases. Amnesty challenges our estimate that only one in ten of these reports are submitted to TASER International, leading us to an estimate of 6,000 lives saved. Experts in law enforcement support our estimate and believe, in fact, it is conservative. While we agree that not all of these people would have died with 100% certainty if the TASER had not been present, it is clear that each of these cases posed a high degree of risk of serious injury or death that was successfully averted with the TASER device.”

“Finally, we take issue with Amnesty International’s statement regarding truthfulness. Amnesty International has continually misreported independently validated facts, including the very existence of the numerous independent studies of TASER device safety. They continue to allege 103 ‘TASER-related’ deaths despite the fact that their own research shows TASER mentioned in a mere 17 cases, and was found to be causal in only one of the cases involving injuries resulting from a fall after a TASER device application.”

“In addition these outrageous and unsubstantiated claims, Amnesty has failed to accept our repeated invitations to jointly fund medical research, provide us with specific test protocols or even participate in a TASER training session to learn the facts about how TASER devices operate.”

“If Amnesty International is truly interested in providing helpful input into improving public safety, we implore Amnesty International, USA to stop the misrepresentation of facts, and engage in a constructive discussion of how the technology can be appropriately used to save lives and reduce injuries,” concluded Smith.

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Taser Welcomes Report from Department of Defense
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