Journal Article Title: Forensic Engineering Analysis of Electro-Shock Weapon Safety
Article Author(s): Ruggieri, James A., P.E.
Volume: 22
Volume #: 2
Month: December
Year: 2005

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Abstract:

Electro-shock weapons have become increasingly popular with law enforcement agencies in recent years as alternatives to firearms. In particular, the Taser® brand of electro-shock weapons are characterized by a distinctive product feature that propels electrode barbs at the subject – allowing the officer to exert control over the subject while maintaining some safe distance. These model weapons offers two modes of operation: the projectile or ballistic mode, where the electrode barbs can reach out to the subject at a 15-foot or greater distance, and a backup, touch or drive stun mode, that requires the officer to 'drive' the weapon into the subject. This latter mode of operation is an alternative mode of operation should the electrode barbs miss the subject, or for use in close quarters situations. The manufacturer of these weapons, Taser International Inc., claims the devices to be safe, citing many independent technical and medical safety studies. However, following over one hundred deaths involving use of the weapon, the company has received much criticism, and consequently, named as a defendant in a large number of lawsuits under theories of defective product, wrongful death, and willful misrepresentation of product performance and product safety. This paper reports the findings of independent electrical tests performed on a civilian model version...