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Group targets Taser deaths

PHOENIX – There were 103 Taser stun gun-related deaths in the United States and Canada between June 2001 and March 2005, according to an Amnesty International report released Friday.

In the first three months of this year, there were 13 Taser-related deaths – compared with six during the same period last year, the report said.

The stun guns have been touted as less lethal than other ways of subduing combative people in high-risk situations, but Tasers have come under increasing scrutiny as a number of deaths have been blamed, at least partially, on the devices.

“No confrontation is risk free. The Taser is the safest way to end violent confrontations for law enforcement,” Taser International Inc. President Tom Smith said Thursday.

The report challenged Taser’s claims that the stun guns have saved more than 6,000 lives.

“Taser International wildly exaggerates the number of incidents in which the use of a Taser resulted in a life saved,” the report says.

Smith contended that the company’s statistics are conservative and based on fact.

“This is just a further example of how out of touch this organization (Amnesty International) is with the law enforcement community,” Smith said.

Stun guns produced by Scottsdale-based Taser are used by more than 6,000 law enforcement agencies worldwide.


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