Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Costly San Jose Tasing

This story dovetails fairly well with the post below. If suing governments, rather than the extremely lawyered-up Taser International is the way to go, so be it.

San Jose is going to pay out $70K for a post-tasing death and has more taser-related suits pending:
San Jose officials Tuesday agreed to pay $70,000 to the wife and child of a man who died in 2005 after police jolted him with Tasers, marking the city's first settlement over a fatality linked to the stun guns. ...

Two other San Jose Taser-related fatality cases are pending. One involves the Jan. 25, 2006, death of Jorge Trujillo, who died after police subdued him with Tasers, not knowing he was the victim of a beating they had been called to investigate. The coroner listed the stun guns as a contributing factor.

The other case involves the March 25, 2007, death of Steve Salinas, 47, a Mongol motorcycle club member zapped in a drug-fueled struggle with police. The coroner cited the Taser as a "significant condition" but did not say it contributed to Salinas' death.

That's a grim precedent if you're someone footing the taser tab (And if you pay taxes, that's you.). If the devices continue to be this expensive, I'd bet that taxpayers will start to demand increased scrutiny of their use. That can only help prevent taser abuse.