Tasers have become as common as candy with police departments and are claimed to be a safe and harmless way to subdue the unruly. Unfortunately, they have been overused, misused, and appear to be causing more harm than good. There have been at least five deaths of teenagers this year due to taser.
I believe the laws need to be changed so that tasers are a last resort, used only by the most experienced officer and the guidelines as to when to use them must be re-written to include at least:
1. No use on children; 2. No use on a handicapped person unable to flee unless they are in imminent danger of death by shooting themselves, etc., including people in wheelchairs; 3. No use on a person who is handcuffed or already restrained; 4. No use on a person who is face down on the ground or up against a wall; 5. No repeated use on a person who is smaller than the officer; and perhaps many other guidelines.
Officers need to be trained to back off, so they can better assess the persons mental state and level of understanding and let a person calm down before trying to wrestle with them to get instant compliance if they are cornered in a room and there are clearly no weapons within their reach. The level of force used by police should be ratcheted down a bit and the level of training required of police before they can use a taser or a gun must be greatly increased including training about psychological problems, deafness, and mental retardation or autism.
Others have recently described death by taser as pre-judicial electrocution and execution. I believe they have a point. See:
More info about Taser abuse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zorL1QfDOi0
There needs to be a commission at the federal level to evaluate the use of tasers, police excessive force, the use of SWAT teams, and the training and education of officers. Our country has gone way too far in becoming a police state with thugs and bullies instead of professional officers enforcing and abusing the laws.