Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Police Officer Suffers Medical Problems After "Voluntary" Taser Hit

A Mesa, Arizona police officer "volunteered" to take a Taser hit during a demonstration -- and now says he has severe back problems and debilitating headaches and dizzy spells.

After one 3 second Taser hit. And he says he isn't the only officer to develop career ending problems from the Taser hits.
Nick Dial was a police officer who volunteered to be Tasered. Since then his health has suffered to such an extent that he can no longer work. And he's not alone; other police officers have suffered serious health problems, from vertebrae misalignments to heart arrhythmia and stroke. "In its video, Taser International claims that nobody has suffered a serious injury or Taser death as a result of the Taser, but that just isn't true," says Dial.
Dial say he would not volunteer for the Taser hit if he knew then what he knows now.
Had I known better, I would never have volunteered to take the hit. As well, in the police department, there is a jock mentality--you have to step up and prove you are a man otherwise you're gonna get hazed for the next few weeks. Most of us say screw that, I'm gonna take the hit.

This is how they did it. Two officers took an arm each and rather than have the fish hooks go through my clothing, they cut the barbs off the end of the wire and connected the positive and negative to the back of my bare back and taped the wires on. One wire was taped below my right shoulder blade and the other wire was on my left back area so there was a perfect line going across my spine. I was hit with the Taser for three seconds, one surge. It was painful and my back arced. When it was over I was in a ton of pain--my entire back was throbbing and it was difficult to breathe.
Dial says that he can't work at all, he is "unreliable, I am tired all the time and sometimes I can't even make it to the grocery store. I can't even hold my daughter for long before my back starts throbbing." All because of that one Taser demonstration, according to Dial.

And he isn't alone among police officers.
Nick Dial's health problems led him to do a lot of research and he phoned some officers around the country who suffered after being Tasered. Dial says a police department in Chicago filed a suit against the weapons company but the city was forced to drop it because "it cost them too much money--Taser came at them with such force." In another incident Dial says a Chief of Police in southern Arizona was hooked up to an EKG and was Tasered during a demo to prove to his men that it was safe. "After he took the hit he had a stroke. He filed a lawsuit against Taser but lost the case."

"One young guy in Illinois was Tasered and he fractured 3 vertebrae in his neck," says Dial. "He had multiple surgeries and attempted to go back to work but the first time he had an encounter with physical force it opened his wound and ended his career as a cop. He can't do a whole lot. Like me, you kind of go through an identity crisis. You become a cop because you do it for the better good and you love your job. But now we don’t know what to do—we feel like our jobs have been stripped from us and it causes a state of depression--I want nothing more than to go back to work.
Doctors say that "he body runs on electricity and it is very possible that the Taser caused my adrenal glands to short circuit or damage my nervous system." This is much the same observation we had yesterday.

Dial says that Taser use is becoming an easy out for officers that otherwise would use no force at all.
An officer wouldn’t use a baton unless they were being assaulted--that is extreme physical force. But the Taser is being used in passive resistance: when an officer confronts a suspect, gives an order and the suspect isn’t compliant. In that situation many officers have used it as a non-compliant rule, like getting mouthy. If a cop used a baton that would be police brutality but for some reason the public thinks that the Taser is different, not a dangerous device. And there is the visual aspect: when you see someone beaten with a baton that is extreme but when you see someone Tasered and he doesn't fall, it doesn't look bad. Even so, it is a violent act; it just doesn’t look that way.
When even the officers tasked to use the tool are complaining it is past time to re-evaluate the tool's use in the field. Dial notes that every study of Taser's products have been funded by Taser... We need in depth, independently funded studies of the Taser. Until then peace officers need to examine the employement of this weapon in crisis situations.

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