back to article Oz cops in Taser fatality

A north Queensland man has died after being tasered by police officers during a "domestic incident", Australia's ABC News reports. Police were called to deal with "a naked man was acting aggressively and destroying property at a residence at Brandon", according to a statement. He was allegedly armed with an iron bar and covered …

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A crazy situation

The authorities claim that tasers are non-lethal, but I think the number of people who have died after being tasered rather disproves that theory. If someone has a pacemaker, a taser can cause it to malfunction, resulting in probable death, People with cochlear implants could suddenly find they can no longer hear the police shouting at them if they are tasered.

If you use an electronic cattle or pig prod on an animal, you will be prosecuted for cruelty to animals. Call it a taser, and the police are allowed to use it on people. This means that animals have more rights than people.

Still, who are we to complain? We are merely humans, who must be subservient to our mighty masters.

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'Appropriate use'?

Isn't the investigation into 'appropriate use' superseded by the fact that the guy was killed directly, or indirectly, by being tasered? Even if use of a taser is deemed appropriate, it seems slightly more significant that people can die from it...

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Unhappy

This is alarming

In this case the taser may have been justified.

However in the US, hospital security tased a man trying to leave the hospital with his newborn. You can watch the madness on Youtube.

Another Youtube vid shows two cops pull over someone for speeding. He is upset. The two cops are quite clearly spooked and administer an unprovoked tasing.

I should get off my butt and write to the police minister and ask what regulations/training there is with regard to tasers.

I hope they are sensible down here in Oz.

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Anonymous Coward

Taser happy

If you watch the granny taser video, he says that she need to be kept away from the carriageway. But she is arguing with him and it's him that is too close to the carriageway. It was a bad choice, he could have simply walked to the side and she I reckon would have followed him.

But It's interesting to see the self justification that goes on when they make a bad choice and face criticism. You never see a policeman put up their hands and say "I made an error of judgement". They're always right.

BTW, when Ian Tomlinson (the newspaper seller) was killed at the G20 protests by the officer, there was a story claiming he was drunk, there were multiple autopsies, but I never did find out if he really was drunk. Was he? Also what happened to the third autopsy?

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Anonymous Coward

"...on the appropriate use of the taser."?

"...on the appropriate use of the taser."

How can the use of a taser ever be considered appropriate? Humans just don't get along with extra electricity.

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Coat

Someone has to say it....

It's always been risky to be shot or tasered Down Under....

Mine's the one with the barbs in it, trailing wires...

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Appropriate?

Even on death is one too many. There is no appropriate use of a taser, it's a battlefield weapon in the wrong hands.

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IT Angle

I'm guessing

It all depends on where you get Tazered...

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@Privateofcourse

"How can the use of a taser ever be considered appropriate? Humans just don't get along with extra electricity."

They get on even less well with bullets. Or are you some liberal bed wetter who thinks the police should sit down and "open a dialog" with the criminal while he continues to assault people and property?

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Stop

before tasers?

Now they all have these magical devices it's as if before tasers they were just cavemen, did not have other process they should have tried first, like the good old baton of old?

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What?!?

"Police were called to deal with 'a naked man was acting aggressively and destroying property at a residence at Brandon', according to a statement. ... 'It is believed that a Taser was deployed and that police managed to physically subdue the man. However, before the ambulance could arrive at the scene the man stopped breathing.'"

Huh? It is BELIEVED that a Taser was deployed? Are they actually saying that they don't know if they deployed a Taser or not? I'm sorry, but if the police are so incompetent that they don't know whether or not they deployed a Taser, then they have absolutely no right being police officers or carrying Tasers.

On a side note, how many deaths must occur before the juice-happy people stop calling the various zappers (Tasers, stun guns, etc) "non-lethal" weapons? And don't even try to use the euphemism "less lethal". Either something is lethal or it's not. Guns don't always kill people, but we still consider them to be lethal weapons. And since law enforcement consider cowboy boots to be deadly weapons*, I see no reason why a Taser should not be considered a deadly weapon. You know damn well that if a regular citizen attacked a police officer with a Taser, the prosecutor would call it a deadly weapon and file the charges appropriately.

* Yes, if someone is wearing cowboy boots when they kick another person, they can be charged with "assault with a deadly weapon". It has happened multiple times in the US

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Coat

appropriate

Sounds more like the bloke died of shock in which case being dealt with by the police at all could have caused it. Don't forget that here in the UK our main methods of compliance are hands (holding, punching etc), PAVA/CS Gas or Baton each of which has some very nasty effects. It's quite easy to severely injure people by punching them, PAVA/CS/Captor etc can trigger alergic reactions in people (if someone suffers from severe asthma for example which is a damned site more common than people with pacemakers or implanted AED's) and baton's can break bones and cause internal bleeding without realising it, let alone having to stike someone in a red area which could kill on impact.

People die when they come into contact with the police because there is 'safe' way of subdueing people, there isn't a magic spiders web you can eject on someone. When faced with arrest people struggle, people play very dirty to avoid arrest, which gets much worse when they are drunk, on drugs, have learning difficulties, are built like the proverbial outside WC or are female (women are the worst!). We have techniques for dealing with people who've been gassed but still won't give up, causing more danger to us and them.

Taser is a relitively 'safe' method as it's visual impact is huge, people know that that red dot on there chest is going to turn into pain followed by hitting the deck and in the vast majority of cases thats as far as it goes (here in the UK at least). Where an officer has to then fire the weapon in the majority (99+%) the effect is a positive one, dropping the detained person long enough for them to be restrained. If two or three people worldwide have a bad outcome then maybe it's something that has to be lived with.

If confronted with a taser equiped police officer, comply!

Mines the day-glow one...

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Flame

NO MORE TASERS!!

Have the cop PULL A GUN and then proceed to SPLATTER YOUR BRAINS all over the sidewalk.

And this will keep you twats complaining about tasers happy, huh?

Personally, I rather face a cop with a taser then one with a gun. At least with the former I can always try and sue the police for wrongful arrest, excessive use of force or whatever. With the latter, my choices are likely to be a lot less. No matter how right I am and how wrong the cop is.

Of course, common sense seems to be lacking here.. especially when getting all self righteous about "The Pigs" and their "Tasers" after watching youtube taser vids or reading ego^H^H^Hblogs or however you select to waste your freetime on crap....

<muttering>dumb tards<mutter mutter>

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jcw
Flame

Tazers should be banned (and so should other stuff)

Yes, I agree, these things are lethal, one death is one too many and they should be banned completely, rather than fixing the incidences when they're used inappropriately. I'd much rather be smashed around a bit with a baton.

In the same way we should ban all motor vehicles rather than the foolish current approach of prosecuting people who use them dangerously (which would also remove all the problems associated with deciding exactly what is and what isn't dangerous ways to use them).

And don't let me get started on the topic of fertilizer...

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Paris Hilton

Pun on the word "Tas"

I know what you're all thinking, but are too scared to say; did he have an erection when they tazered him, and if so, did the erection thrive or wither after the tazering? This is the kind of thing we need to know. Did they tazer his cock? There are places in Soho where people pay good money for that kind of thing; could this be a way of getting a cheap freebie?

Reading between the lines, I get them impression that they zapped him, and then sat on him once he was on the ground; but they sat on him too heavily and for too long, and he either suffocated or had a heart attack. I suspect the result would have been the same if they had used another method to subdue him, e.g. by clubbing him with a truncheon, hitting him, using pepper spray etc.

It's a philosophical question, really. "How do you subdue a naked man?"

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Coat

Tin foil angle?

Mine's the tin foil one with matching hat and trousers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re : McFlurry

"If confronted with a taser equiped police officer, comply!"

Oh yes get on your knees and bow to the almight copper. 'cos he is RIGHT.

Even when the copper in question is abusing his authority, bare your arse and pepare to be shafted.

For he is a copper and you are lower than sh!t. So thank the good policeman for trampling your rights, killing your kin and then lying about it. Because he is only doing all this for your greater good.

Anon - because while I despise our 'wonderful' police force; I'm not totaly stupid.

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They've already decided the outcome

>He concluded: "We need to allow the full investigation of all of those agencies to take place and they will be focusing, I'm sure, very critically on the appropriate use of the taser."

Reading this it means they are going to have an investigation and conclude that the use of the taser was appropriate. Whilst we all know that this is what will happen it's rather brazen of them to say so upfront.

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Stop

Mostly Harmless.

Most certainly not. But certainly not mostly lethal.

To the taser detractors - Have you ever seen what a knife can do? Have you ever seen how fast it can be done?

I personally believe tasers used appropriately are the right sort of kit cops should be armed with. However, like a conventional firearm, use should be in dire circumstances only.

In this case, the perp was armed. He had apparently also cut himself.

It is unfortunate that there was a death but at least it was not like the other taser death fiasco recently in, was in Canada? Now that was grossly inappropriate.

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@AC 11:54

you said:-

"Personally, I rather face a cop with a taser then one with a gun. At least with the former I can always try and sue the police for wrongful arrest, excessive use of force or whatever."

not if your heart stops and you die as a result of the tasering, chum, you won't. One presumes that you would be happy to be one of the "unfortunate exceptions" and perhaps you should carry a note on your person stating that you would completely exonerate the officer for killing you and that it was entirely your own fault that you had provoked him to the point that he had to taser you?

methinks you should have engaged higher brain functions before your "dumb tard" comment.... :) never mind eh?

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Maybe

Just maybe a person should comply with the law. Call me crazy, but it has worked for me so far.

Some of the police force here in Maine have gone through a taser training which involves getting tased themselves. I guess so they know what they are inflicting on another person.

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@Re: McFlurry

"Anon - because while I despise our 'wonderful' police force; I'm not totaly stupid."

Well apparently you are (or are on strong medication) if you seriously think the police are going to track you down and do you over for posting a rather juvenile sounding critical comment about them on El Reg.

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Stop

Taser myths and lies

Tasers are typically used about 100 times as often as police ever used their guns. So the pathetic argument that tasers in any way replace guns is approximately 99% incorrect. This is support by the deployment rate, and by a common sense look at the taser news reports where people are being tasered that would never have been shot. Anyone that makes this taser-vs-guns argument is simply revealing themselves to be completely ill-informed.

Where the taser darts happen to land is obviously a critical and totally random factor. In fact, it may be the largest contributor to the real-world safety factor. If you pay attention, you'll notice that when the police or voluteers are tasered for training or demos, it is never done with the taser darts directly on the chest. This is not a coincidence.

Taser International claims that the tasers are inherent safe, other than external risks (such as falling down and banging ones' head). They claim essentially ZRO risk from internal effects (such as cardiac). I happen to believe that they're lying. I believe that they have internal data showing that the X26 taser is way above and beyond the older M26 taser in the correlation to the taser-associated deaths. I believe that they've probably got access to data showing that the dart placement is correlated to death. If I'm wrong, all they have to do is provide the data (real-world results, not fake studies) that shows the opposite.

www.Excited-Delirium.com (do not forget the dash)

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Tazers less lethal than guns

Yes and guns are less lethal than an air strike.

A kid was tazered here last week for using his cell phone in a school corridor, presumably if they didn't have a tazer the police would have been forced to shoot.

Our police need to be properly equipped to deal with Polish visitors that refuse to speak English, patrol cars must be replace with Apache helicopters or at least they should be given artillery support when dealing with under age cell phone users.

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Better than guns?

"Personally, I rather face a cop with a taser then one with a gun."

I'd rather face a cop with a gun than one with a nuclear warhead.

"At least with the former I can always try and sue the police for wrongful arrest, excessive use of force or whatever."

What prevents you from doing it if the guy uses a gun? (assuming you're not in the US, where the cops can't stop at one)

Anyway in this case it seems like the use of the tazer might have been justified. If the guy was armed, completely out of control, and threatening directly the life of other persons... if not (like, if it had been possible to let him wreck a couple appliances while keeping everyone else safe, it should have been done. What's wrong with charging him for the broken furniture/windows/whatever after he'd calm down?). But again, in this case at least it sounds like there might have been a valid reason to deploy the tazer.

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Black Helicopters

@Boltar

Stand by sir! We are hot on the McFlurry case, proceeding in a puddingy direction.

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Anonymous Coward

We have a serious problem here

Taser has been sold to police forces as a beautiful, efficient, NON-LETHAL accessory. Before this when they were using guns, they also had to use their brains and carefully analyze the situation before pulling the trigger because they knew their act might have serious consequences. Now they are using Taser indiscriminately before and instead any other attempt to deal with the suspect because guess what ? it`s harmless. There is a sad story here in Canada about a Polish immigrant who died at the airport after being tasered 5 times, three of them while he was face-down on the floor. The four or five policemen involved in the incident declared they felt threatened by the man who was angry and pointing a paper stapler at them. Believe me, police force is in love with this device because they can't be made responsible if someone dies.

To see what I mean just visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Dzieka%C5%84ski_Taser_incident

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Joke

probing the death

So he gets a probing and tasering. jolly good!

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Anti taser ranters

What would you have the cops do ?? The guys was destroying property and he assaulted a person . Would you preferred the they clubbed the guy ? There is a chance that he was on drugs, if he was running around naked destroying things.

By they were there has been lots of cases were comes struggled with suspect on drugs and the suspected died . It was not cause the cops beat the shit out of them, but do to the stress of the incident .

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Bronze badge

They used it 2 or 3 times

Last night the Commisioner said that he was tas(er)ed 2 or 3 times - that would probably kill anyone.

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Anonymous Coward

The Australian NEWS services give a much better version

The guy was off his dial on some psychiatric head trip etc., and up to all sorts of off the planet stuff.

They used capsicum spray on him but that didn't work - so they said.

It wasn't that they tazered him, but they did it THREE TIMES......

Me thinks.... I thought the first time would drop anyone?

Having been on the front line with nut cases with knives etc., I think the issue is not to have completely unrealistic expectations, but to have an assessment - to stop from getting knifed and to subdue the attacker.

SOME deaths are going to be inevitable....

When 1000 people are shot at to stop them, or 1000 people are tazered to stop them, as far as their use goes - depending upon circumstance when given the choice of shooting in self defence or zapping them, relative to the injuries and deaths etc. from using guns, the second choice and the death rate is going to be far far lower.

However the cops zapping the guy three times? Aussie cops like pulling guns on mentally ill people who are sitting there with a knife in an open area, doing nothing but talking to their imaginary friends - they make for good target practice.

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Flame

@AC 15:57

Couple of points here:

Policemen and brains? The brainy ones don't attend incidents, they're writing reports (or getting professional consulting pedants so to do). Take a look at the ACPO (Association of Police Chief Officers) website to see the sort of twaddle they spend their time and our money producing. Looks like they don't really know what they're supposed to be doing but they'll try to define it in a report anyway.

Most of the coppers I know enjoy a good brawl and prefer getting "stuck in" the old-fashioned way, using batons occasionally but who also think tasers are for wimps. What is the model target for taser deployment? Not an armed crim, obviously, since they need something a bit more drastic. Nor 72-year old female motorists surely? I guess that leaves naked knife-wielders. Oops, overcooked that one.

While I'm on a rant, who has been the major beneficiary of the "Age of Terror"? Yep, it's them again. More staff, lots of overtime, loads of reports to write and lots more speed & snoop cameras. How much actual followup to the events of 7/7? Well done Osama, the real success of your campaign - billions of our pounds blowing in the wind.

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@Bolatr - really? Think again,

@Boltar - er, really? Think again. The police have trawled forums looking for "evidence", and it has been accepted by the judicary as evidential.

And if you are one of these people who insist on a "link" - google for it. Pistonheads is a good place to start.

Ever wonder why the Govt wants all all network usage recorded? To simplify the search process. Ever hear of Coppers Blog? The assorted mid-england police forces went to extraordinary attempts to identify the blogger.

The authorities can and do search net postings. Its one of the easiest methods of "policing" there is. They can and do identify - or attempt to - posters. And if this doesnt worry you, then consider exatcly what the criteria is to be considered a "person of interest"... *anything* that is critical of the police, their methods, or the Govt... Or simply knowing or having any form of contact with a person with a criminal record (who is a current subject of interest).

And yes, I am already a person - or potential person - of interest.

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RE: A crazy situation

"If you use an electronic cattle or pig prod on an animal, you will be prosecuted for cruelty to animals. Call it a taser, and the police are allowed to use it on people. This means that animals have more rights than people."

I think you'll find if an animal is running wild and threatening the safety of people the police will shoot it.

Then again, it seems the police are quite prepared to shoot Brazilian electricians who aren't running wild or threatening people, so maybe you have a point.

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Dead Vulture

Me and the Police

For 78 years I have not attacked the Police and they have not attacked me.

I think both sides are happy with that arrangement.

They have been very helpful on a couple of occasions when I have called them regarding crimes, as has my daughter , burgled twice and the criminals were all caught .

It is fashionable to critisise and denigrate the police , but if they are not there you will have far greater problems . Read up on the Police strike in Melbourne, Australia in 1923.

Looting , arson etc was the result , and it must have been a happy population to have law and order restored.

The reason for the strike - the staff were unhappy about being spied on by the management.

That sounds a lot what you have got over there now.

Finally , regarding the Brazilian who was shot in Britain. That was a very rare thing there, and if you

check on the number of people shot by the police in Brazil , you will appreciate living where you are.

With Death Squads and routine police brutality , you should multiply the number killed in Britain by a thousand or two.

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Stop

"non-lethal" ?

No... they're not billed as non-leathal, they're billed as "less leathal".

Ef Why Eye.

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The Police Acted Appropriately

I am appalled at the anti-police, idiotic comments here by people who seem to feel that any action on the part of the police is automatically wrong and morally criminal. Even the commenter who quoted that the man "was acting aggressively" failed to mention that he was also "armed with an iron bar."

Do any of the outraged pacifists on here have any idea of the physical damage that a crazed psycho (he was naked and acting aggressively) can do with an iron truncheon? Unless those officers were wearing riot gear, at across-the-room distances said psycho was easily capable of killing or hospitalizing one or more of those officers within seconds or less.

They tried pepper spray;he was too whacked out to be affected. They tried verbal commands; they were ignored. The only options left involve physical force, i.e, truncheons, taser, or firearms. Use of a nightstick would almost guarantee one or more officers injured at best. Use of firearms would mean almost certainly killing him. The taser was the best option offering the best chance of everybody including the perpetrator leaving alive and unhurt. The fact that the wacko died simply means that even the best odds offer no guarantees but at least the good guys went home safe and alive that night.

In short, the police did what they had to do and doing that is what keeps idiots who criticize them from the safety of their homes alive to continue criticizing.

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Anonymous Coward

Interesting

Seem to be a lot assumptions here about what people actually think, rather than actually reading the actual opinions presented/posted...[this is me saving my breath]

There is a laughable attempt to draw me into an argument above, but I honestly laughed so hard when I read it that I just couldn't come up with anything as funny when I tried to reply. In the end I left it to sit there festering like an angry boil.

Electricity does not do humans any good, even relatively low levels of it. Grab hold of a cow fence and see if you enjoy the experience. Oh no, hang on, better not do that actually, as there have been far too many deaths from doing that silly trick already.

There are those that advocate the use of electricity for all sorts of reasons, but they seem to be mostly people who have run out of other ideas. Quacks that advocate ECT for rehabilitation are a prime example of people who have run out of ideas: strap the patient down, fry a few brain cells, that'll cure 'em! Yeah, I know, its a highly complicated and technical treatment, and stupid people like me simply don't and won't get it.

I do think we should continue to explore other ways in which to incapacitate people who are deemed a threat to others...definitely. At the moment we have tasers. I don't like it though. That said, if someone came charging at me off his face on whatever and wielding an iron bar I would be extremely glad if a PC armed with a taser intervened and took the idiot down. "Hurrah!" for the copper I'd say! Nonetheless, that doesn't stop me believing that other methods should continue to be looked into. Just because smacking someone around the head with a cosh seemed to work years ago doesn't mean that we should continue to use the method for all eternity. Hopefully progress will be made and brutally electrocuting people will become just as unacceptable as smacking someone around the head with a cosh, but until then, tasers are in, and buggers with bars better watch out!

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Anonymous Coward

You guys are all too soft

I say ramp up the voltage on the tasers so we have this same result everytime. The world would be a much better place if stupid people were actually properly tasered for being aggresive, threatening, menacing, etc.

It would make me cheer while watching Road Wars or Street Wars on the TV. Rather than shouting at the TV when some oik gets 10 hours community service and a 3 year driving ban (when he is already banned) for stealing a Range Rover, Driving into oncoming traffic at 90mph (possibly you and your children), Destroying a whole neighbourhood and threatening and kicking the officers who brought his fun to an end.

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Alert

Tazers are safe

I have had an electric shock and I am still alive, therefore Tazers are safe and don't kill people.

I think they could just have waited for the man to calm down but i expect they had been wanting to try out the tazers for some time. An opportunity not to be missed, I suspect.

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