A police officer used a Taser in the fatal shooting of an African-American in South Carolina this year. The use of the weapon has sparked debate about how safe Tasers are. It is believed that Tasers pose a serious health risk to those who can find themselves involved in run-ins with police.
Also read: Killer cops in USA
Officer Michael T. Slager of the North Charleston Police Department fatally shot Walter L. Scott on April 4 in North Charleston. The incident was recorded on tape by a bystander, and the officer's use of a Taser was documented as well.
Here's a look at some of the numbers behind the raging debate over Tasers:
Slager had used his Taser 14 times in five years. The record shows Slager was no stranger to the Taser's electrical charge, The New York Times reported. He used his Taser six times in 2014 alone, according to police documents. That's four percent of the department's total Taser use.
North Charleston's police deployed Tasers 825 times in four years That means the department, on average, performed 206 tasings per year. For comparison, The New York Times offered Tyler, Texas, a town similar in population but with 150 fewer police officers. Tyler's department used Tasers 65 times in the same time period, or roughly only 30 percent of the tasings that occurred in North Charleston.
Over 18,000 law enforcement agencies have Tasers The weapon is highly prevalent, according to Taser International. But there is no publicly available national standard for law enforcement in using one.
Tasers are used 900 times a day Taking that data from Taser International and assuming every day is relatively consistent in Taser usage, that's 328,500 tasings a year.
Tasers have been blamed for over 500 deaths While Taser International says it has conducted independent studies to verify the weapon's safety, some medical experts say the electric jolts can pose sometimes fatal threats to a person's health. According to Amnesty International, Tasers are responsible for at least 500 deaths.
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