This is creepy:
AKRON, Ohio – A medical examiner must change her autopsy findings to delete any reference that stun guns contributed to the deaths of three people involved in confrontations with law enforcement officers, a judge ruled.
Friday’s decision was a victory for Taser International Inc., which had challenged rulings by Summit County Medical Examiner Lisa Kohler, including a case in which five sheriff’s deputies are charged in the death a jail inmate who was restrained by the wrists and ankles and hit with pepper spray and a stun gun. [kstar.com]
I can’t speak to the specific cases at issue here, but we’re hearing more and more about this dubious “excited delirium” diagnosis that’s being offered when people die in police custody. Drug use is often a factor, thus we must consider the possibility that tasers, though not typically lethal, may pose heightened risk of fatality when used on people who are under the influence. After all, people who are super wasted are among the most likely recipients of a thorough tasing by police.
I wouldn’t want tasers to be erroneously identified as a cause of death, but as fatal outcomes involving these weapons are reported with increasing frequency, it’s clear that more research is needed. In the meantime, scratching these weapons out of autopsy reports sounds to me like the opposite of what we should be doing to address growing concerns about their alleged safety.