Taser International, the company responsible for outfitting the nations cops with Tasers, has released its latest model, the X2, said to be a safer version of the older products. Fort Worth has recently made arrangements to outfit their officers with the X2 and Houston has purchased them as well.
According to the Star Telegram, a safety shut-off is what makes the X2 a safer choice among law enforcement departments. After 5 seconds of flow, the machine stops sending electronic waves. Older models would allow the user to continue shocking the suspect without cease.
In 2009, a Fort Worth police officer fired her older model Taser at a mentally ill suspect. She held down the trigger for a total of 49 seconds to attempt to gain control. She shocked him again for five seconds. Though the officer said the longer shock was “inadvertent,” the suspect would die as a result.
Jeffrey Halstead, Fort Worth Police Chief, began lobbying Taser Intl. soon after to create a method of stopping “extended deployment.” Though they said they could not reprogram the Tasers already on the market, they developed the X2 model to answer the call of Halstead and others.
Since 2001, Amnesty International has recorded 500 Taser-related deaths, 37 of which occurred in Texas. Opponents of the machines say they are deployed too often and should be eliminated altogether.
Law enforcement officials, however, say the Tasers give them one extra step before using deadly force, to gain control of a situation. But, say critics, if the Tasers are that unsafe, they could be considered deadly force.
Taser International is allowing the city of Fort Worth to make payments on the new X2 Tasers and gave the city a 30% discount. Currently, the city has 1,200 older model X26 Tasers on hand. Administrators say patrol officers and zero-tolerance officers will be the beneficiaries of 250 new Tasers by the middle of this year.
Cops are to use force like this only when absolutely necessary, when they fear for their safety, for instance, or cannot get control of a suspect. Oftentimes we hear about them being used before any other force options are tried.
Avoiding a Taser shock could be as simple as cooperating with police, which can be hard to do if you are intoxicated, high, or mentally unstable. However, if you do have your senses about you and even if you feel like the arrest is unlawful, obeying the officer is the best way to prevent injury and additional criminal charges.
If you find yourself facing charges that you believe are unjust, you can’t fight the cops over it, you must fight the charges in court. Contact our offices today to discuss the facts of your case and how we might be able to help.