TASERs, Torture and Death in the Police State

“TASERs, Torture and Death in the Police State,” or “It’s All About the Money”

They have been used against unruly schoolchildren, mentally disturbed patients, intoxicated individuals; unarmed suspects in misdemeanor crimes and people who simply fail to comply immediately with a “command."

Bernard Kerik, President Bush's first choice to lead the Homeland Security Department, exercised stock options of $6.2 million he received from Taser International, which sold stun guns to the department - and seeks more business with it. It’s all about the money. Maybe the rush to get the newest technology on the streets is outpacing the ability of public officials to put in place the safeguards necessary to protect the public. Maybe it’s all about the money. The public, who is paying for these items, is being told that TASERs will be used as a safe, non-lethal alternative to guns. But in reality, they are being used in situations where police would never use lethal force. In fact, according to Amnesty International, the data shows that TASERs are used on unarmed suspects in 80% of the cases, including verbal non-compliance (36%), and only 3% of the time in cases involving potential “deadly assault". Their report details 74 TASER-related deaths that have occurred in the United States and Canada since June 2001. Amnesty International USA will also release information documenting more than 80 TASER-related deaths since 1999. More shocking is the fact that more than 60 percent of these deaths have happened in the last year, from November 2003 to November 2004.

TASERs have become the most prevalent enforcement tool in some departments. They have been used against unruly schoolchildren, mentally disturbed patients, intoxicated individuals; unarmed suspects in misdemeanor crimes and people who simply fail to comply immediately with a “command."


Taser stands by stock options given to Kerik

Taser International Inc. officials Wednesday defended the stock options granted to board of directors member Bernard Kerik, whose rise and fall were meteoric following his nomination by President Bush as head of the Department of Homeland Security. Kerik later withdrew his name from consideration for the post, saying that a woman who had worked for him as a nanny may have been an illegal immigrant. But the fact that Kerik cashed in more than $5.8 million as the result of his Nov. 11 sale of Taser stock also raised eyebrows.

"Mr. Kerik joined the Board of Directors in May 2002 and was granted a standard board package of stock options and cash compensation for new directors. His subsequent stock option grants were similar to other outside board members. The grant of his stock options and his stock option exercises and subsequent stock sales have complied with all SEC regulations and NASDAQ requirements," said Phillips W. Smith, Taser's chairman of the board.


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December 26th, 2004


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