Drugs are an invitation to get TASER’d

Florida leads the nation in Taser related deaths…and also probably leads the nation in drug use. I wonder what happens when you put two and two and two together…hint..DEA plus TASER equals DOA.
tased and confused

Drugs shadow Taser cases
By Antigone Barton,Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Sunday, August 14, 2005

When Michael Crutchfield died in West Palm Beach last month after three 50,000-volt shocks from a police Taser, the questions raised by his death had been asked at least 132 times.

That’s how many people had died following Taser shocks in the previous five years nationwide. Crutchfield’s death was the 27th in Florida, which leads the nation in Taser-associated fatalities. That weekend, at least seven other people across the country died following encounters with police Tasers.

Like many of the others, Crutchfield appeared to have been high on drugs or psychotic the night he died. West Palm Beach police have said that an autopsy would answer the question of what caused his death.

One of the most pressing questions the deaths raised, however, has been whether the next person to die after a Taser shock will be a hyperactive child, an elderly person with dementia or someone with a heart, breathing or neurological ailment that might go unrecognized in an encounter with police. Although the effects of multiple Taser shocks on people with mental illness or using street drugs remain in question, autopsy and police reports of 27 Florida deaths examined by The Palm Beach Post showed:

• At least 20 had drugs in their systems, including amphetamines and cocaine, which damage the heart.

• At least 14 showed signs of excited delirium, a condition that even the maker of Taser weapons acknowledges puts people at “potentially fatal health risks” from impaired breathing.

• At least 12 had heart ailments.

• At least 17 were shocked multiple times, including one shocked 14 times, one shocked eight times, one shocked six or more times and Timothy Bolander, who had a variety of drugs in his system and ruptured bags of cocaine in his stomach when Delray Beach police shocked him four times.

The only human testing to date has been on healthy police officers undergoing single, voluntary shocks under controlled conditions.

The maker of the weapon, an acronym for a 1911 children’s book Tom A. Swift’s Electric Rifle, says company-sponsored research has shown that the weapon doesn’t affect the heart. The company has insisted that, if a Taser shock caused a death, the death would be immediate. And company-issued medical reports have said that the skin acts as a barrier that keeps Taser shocks from harming vital organs. For these reasons, the manufacturer claims the weapon is “generally safe.”

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