Dont tase me bro!
The One Shows special feature on the use of Tasers in the UK kickstarted a lively discussion both online and in the studio. Bette Midler thinks that theyre terrible and doesnt think that British police officers should be carrying them and neither did Michael Palin. And it seems a lot of viewers commenting on the programmes blog page agreed with them.
No one should under-estimate how dangerous Tasers are they are potentially lethal, and as Amnestys new report out today highlights, 334 people in the US have died after being shot by a Taser since 2001.
Most of the deaths happened to people who were shot with a Taser more than once, and of the nearly 100 autopsies results we were able to examine, 90 per cent of those who died were unarmed or did not pose a serious threat.
Dont get me wrong, Amnestys not opposed to police officers having these weapons because there are certain occasions when they may be necessary. After all, police have a duty to protect themselves as well as the general public.
But these stun guns should be used in a limited set of circumstances, such as in life-threatening or highly serious situations, and only by officers who undergo intensive, ongoing and rigorous training.
Todays report is based on findings from the States, where most officers are armed with these weapons. Having seen todays findings I hope that the UK Government thinks twice about wider deployment.
On the One Show, Bette Midler refers to the student who was Tasered at a John Kerry Convention where he yelled out dont tase me bro. For those of you whove not seen that, check out this Youtube video. Shocking stuff!
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.