The maker of Taser stun guns, Taser International, Inc., took Summit County Medical Examiner Dr. Lisa Kohler to court to challenge her conclusion that electrical pulses administered by its Tasers contributed to the deaths of three men. Dr. Kohler concluded that law enforcement officers’ use of tasers to subdue these men was one of the contributing causes to their deaths. Taser International, Inc. brought suit in Summit County Common Pleas Court challenging this conclusion.
Judge Ted Schneiderman held a hearing on the issue. During this hearing, experts on both sides testified as to whether Tasers are capable of causing or contributing to death. In his ruling, Judge Schneiderman sided with Taser International, Inc. and concluded that there was no medical, scientific, or electrical evidence supporting Dr. Kohler’s conclusion that these Tasers contributed to these mens’ deaths. The Judge also ordered Dr. Kohler to remove any reference to the Tasers from her autopsy reports and death certificates.
Despite this court’s ruling on the ability of Taser’s to cause death, Taser use remains controversial. Amnesty International reports more than 100 deaths following administration of an electric shock by Tasers and other similar devices. Groups like Amnesty International are calling for more research to determine whether these Tasers are safe for law enforcement use and better instruction on appropriate use. Some studies concluding that they are safe have been criticized as being funded by Taser International, Inc.
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