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  • 532 Taser-Related Deaths in the United States Since 2001

    Today we added 60-year old Bill Williams (Everett, WA) as the 181st taser-related death in America since 2009. [NOTE: the full list is shown below].

    According to Amnesty International, between 2001 and 2008, 351 people in the United States died after being shocked by police Tasers. Our blog has documented another 181 taser-related deaths in the United States in 2009-2012. That means there have been 532 documented taser-related deaths in America.

    This blog has been pointing out incidents of police taser torture for quite awhile. The work done over the past few years by Patti Gillman and Cameron Ward continue to be the inspiration for our work. Gillman and Ward documented over 730 taser-related deaths in North America on their blog.

    I wonder if anyone cares about the rising use of the taser as a lethal weapon? At least we know that the Department of Justice cares. They issued a report about the pattern of abuse against the mentally ill in Portland that included the frequent, unnecessary use of Tasers.

    On the other hand, I think that something is wrong in America when the police electrocute folks on a WEEKLY basis with their taser arsenal … and the public is mute in its response. Sometimes it takes a lawsuit … like the one recently settled in Ohio … to get the police to cool it. The police in Cincinnati, Ohio took the hint … they changed their taser policy!

    I encourage you to use our COMMENTS (‘Post a Comment’) option at the bottom of this blog post to let us know what you think about these weekly taser-related killings.

    Jan 9, 2009: Derrick Jones, 17, Black, Martinsville, Virginia
    Jan 11, 2009: Rodolfo Lepe, 31, Hispanic, Bakersfield, California
    Jan 22, 2009: Roger Redden, 52, Caucasian, Soddy Daisy, Tennessee-
    Feb 2, 2009: Garrett Jones, 45, Caucasian, Stockton, California
    Feb 11, 2009: Richard Lua, 28, Hispanic, San Jose, California
    Feb 13, 2009: Rudolph Byrd, 37, Black, Thomasville, Georgia
    Feb 13, 2009: Michael Jones, 43, Black, Iberia, Louisiana
    Feb 14, 2009: Chenard Kierre Winfield, 32, Black, Los Angeles, California
    Feb 28, 2009: Robert Lee Welch, 40, Caucasian, Conroe, Texas
    Mar 22, 2009: Brett Elder, 15, Caucasian, Bay City, Michigan
    Mar 26, 2009: Marcus D. Moore, 40, Black, Freeport, Illinois
    Apr 1, 2009: John J. Meier Jr., 48, Caucasian, Tamarac, Florida
    Apr 6, 2009: Ricardo Varela, 41, Hispanic, Fresno, California
    Apr 10, 2009: Robert Mitchell, 16, Black, Detroit, Michigan
    Apr 13, 2009: Craig Prescott, 38, Black, Modesto, California
    Apr 16, 2009: Gary A. Decker, 50, Black, Tuscon, Arizona
    Apr 18, 2009: Michael Jacobs Jr., 24, Black, Fort Worth, Texas
    Apr 30, 2009: Kevin LaDay, 35, Black, Lumberton, Texas
    May 4, 2009: Gilbert Tafoya, 53, Caucasian, Holbrook, Arizona
    May 17, 2009: Jamaal Valentine, 27, Black, La Marque, Texas
    May 23, 2009: Gregory Rold, 37, Black, Salem, Oregon
    Jun 9, 2009: Brian Cardall, 32, Caucasian, Hurricane, Utah
    Jun 13, 2009: Dwight Madison, 48, Black, Bel Air, Maryland
    Jun 20, 2009 Derrek Kairney, 36, Race: Unknown, South Windsor, Connecticut
    Jun 30, 2009, Shawn Iinuma, 37, Asian, Fontana, California
    Jul 2, 2009, Rory McKenzie, 25, Black, Bakersfield, California
    Jul 20, 2009, Charles Anthony Torrence, 35, Caucasian, Simi Valley, California
    Jul 30, 2009, Johnathan Michael Nelson, 27, Caucasian, Riverside County, California
    Aug 9, 2009, Terrace Clifton Smith, 52, Black, Moreno Valley, California
    Aug 12, 2009, Ernest Ridlehuber, 53, Race: Unknown, Greenville, South Carolina
    Aug 14, 2009, Hakim Jackson, 31, Black, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Aug 18, 2009, Ronald Eugene Cobbs, 38, Black, Greensboro, North Carolina
    Aug 20, 2009, Francisco Sesate, 36, Hispanic, Mesa, Arizona
    Aug 22, 2009, T.J. Nance, 37, Race: Unknown, Arizona City, Arizona
    Aug 26, 2009, Miguel Molina, 27, Hispanic, Los Angeles, California
    Aug 27, 2009, Manuel Dante Dent, 27, Hispanic, Modesto, California
    Sep 3, 2009, Shane Ledbetter, 38, Caucasian, Aurora, Colorado
    Sep 16, 2009, Alton Warren Ham, 45, Caucasian, Modesto, California
    Sep 19, 2009, Yuceff W. Young II, 21, Black, Brooklyn, Ohio
    Sep 21, 2009, Richard Battistata, 44, Hispanic, Laredo, Texas
    Sep 28, 2009, Derrick Humbert, 38, Black, Bradenton, Florida
    Oct 2, 2009, Rickey Massey, 38, Black, Panama City, Florida
    Oct 12, 2009, Christopher John Belknap, 36, Race: Unknown, Ukiah, California
    Oct 16, 2009, Frank Cleo Sutphin, 19, Caucasian, San Bernadino, California
    Oct 27, 2009, Jeffrey Woodward, 33, Caucasian, Gallatin, Tennessee
    Nov 13, 2009, Herman George Knabe, 58, Caucasian, Corpus Christi, Texas
    Nov 14, 2009, Darryl Bain, 43, Black, Coram, New York
    Nov 16, 2009, Matthew Bolick, 30, Caucasian, East Grand Rapids, Michigan
    Nov 19, 2009, Jesus Gillard, 61, Black, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
    Nov 21, 2009, Ronald Petruney, 49, Race: Unknown, Washington, Pennsylvania
    Nov 27, 2009, Eddie Buckner, 53, Caucasian, Chattanooga, Tennessee
    Dec 11, 2009, Andrew Grande, 33, Caucasian, Oak County, Florida
    Dec 11, 2009, Hatchel Pate Adams III, 36, Black, Hampton, Virginia
    Dec 11, 2009, Paul Martin Martinez, 36, Hispanic, Roseville, California
    Dec 13, 2009, Douglas Boucher, 39, Caucasian, Mason, Ohio
    Dec 14, 2009, Linda Hicks, 62, Black, Toledo, Ohio
    Dec 19, 2009, Preston Bussey III, 41, Black, Rockledge, Florida
    Dec 20, 2009, Michael Hawkins, 39, Caucasian, Springfield, Missouri
    Dec 30, 2009, Stephen Palmer, 47, Race: Unknown, Stamford, Connecticut

    Jan 6, 2010, Delano Smith, 21, Black, Elkhart, Indiana
    Jan 17, 2010, William Bumbrey III, 36, Black, Arlington, Virginia
    Jan 20, 2010, Kelly Brinson, 45, Race: Unknown, Cincinnati, Ohio
    Jan 27, 2010, Joe Spruill, Jr., Black, Goldsboro, North Carolina
    Jan 28, 2010, Patrick Burns, 50, Caucasian, Sangamon County, Illinois
    Jan 28, 2010, Daniel Mingo, 25, Black, Mobile, Alabama
    Feb 4, 2010, Mark Morse, 36, Caucasian, Phoenix, Arizona
    Mar 4, 2010, Roberto Olivo, 33, Hispanic, Tulare, California
    Mar 5, 2010, Christopher Wright, 48, Race: Unknown, Seattle, Washington
    Mar 10, 2010, Jaesun Ingles, 31, Black, Midlothian, Illinois
    Mar 10, 2010, James Healy Jr., 44, Race: Unknown, Rhinebeck, New York
    Mar 20, 2010, Albert Valencia, 31, Hispanic, Downey, California
    Apr 10, 2010, Daniel Joseph Barga, 24, Caucasian, Cornelius, Oregon
    Apr 30, 2010, Adil Jouamai, 32, Moroccan, Arlington, Virginia
    May 9, 2010, Audreacus Davis, 29, Black, Atlanta, Georgia
    May 14, 2010, Sukeba Olawunmi, 39, Race: Unknown, Atlanta, Georgia
    May 24, 2010, Efrain Carrion, 35, Hispanic, Middletown, Connecticut
    May 27, 2010, Carl Johnson, 48, Caucasian, Baltimore, Maryland
    May 29, 2010, Jose Martinez, 53, Hispanic, Waukegan, Illinois
    May 31, 2010, Anastasio Hernández Rojas, 42, Hispanic, San Ysidro, California
    Jun 8, 2010, Terrelle Houston, 22, Black, Hempstead, Texas
    Jun 12, 2010, Curtis Robinson, 34, Black, Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Jun 13, 2010, William Owens, 17, Race: Unknown, Homewood, Alabama
    Jun 14, 2010, Jose Alfredo Jimenez, 42, Hispanic, Harris County, Texas
    Jun 15, 2010, Michael White, 47, Black, Vallejo, California
    Jun 22, 2010, Daniel Sylvester, 35, Caucasian, Crescent City, California
    July 5, 2010, Damon Falls, 31, Black, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    July 5, 2010, Edmund Gutierrez, 22, Hispanic, Imperial, California
    July 8, 2010, Phyllis Owens, 87, Race: Unknown, Clackamas County, Oregon
    July 9, 2010, Marvin Booker, 56, Race: Black, Denver, Colorado
    July 12, 2010, Anibal Rosario-Rodriguez, 61, Hispanic, New Britain, Connecticut
    July 15, 2010, Jerome Gill, Race: Unknown, Chicago, Illinois
    July 18, 2010, Edward Stephenson, 46, Race: Unknown, Leavenworth, Kansas
    July 23, 2010, Jermaine Williams, 30, Black, Cleveland, Mississippi
    Aug 1, 2010, Dennis Sandras, 49, Race: Unknown, Houma, Louisiana
    Aug 9, 2010, Andrew Torres, 39, Hispanic, Greenville, South Carolina
    Aug 18, 2010, Martin Harrison, 50, Caucasian, Dublin, California
    Aug 19, 2010, Adam Disalvo, 30, Caucasian, Daytona Beach, Florida
    Aug 20, 2010, Stanley Jackson, 31, Black, Washtenaw County, Michigan
    Aug 24, 2010, Michael Ford, 50, Black, Livonia, Michigan
    Aug 25, 2010, Eduardo Hernandez-Lopez, 21, Hispanic, Las Vegas, Nevada
    Aug 31, 2010, King Hoover, 27, Black, Spanaway, Washington
    Sep 4, 2010, Adam Colliers, 25, Caucasian, Gold Bar, Washington
    Sep 10, 2010, Larry Rubio, 20, Race: Unknown, Leemore, California
    Sep 12, 2010, Freddie Lockett, 30, Black, Dallas, Texas
    Sep 16, 2010, Gary L. Grossenbacher, 48, Race: Unknown, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    Sep 18, 2010, David Cornelius Smith, 28, Black, Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Sep 18, 2010, Joseph Frank Kennedy, 48, Caucasian, La Mirada, California
    Oct 4, 2010, Javon Rakestrau, 28, Black, Lafayette Parish, Louisiana
    Oct 7, 2010, Patrick Johnson, 18, Caucasian, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Oct 12, 2010, Ryan Bain, 31, Caucasian, Billings, Montana
    Oct 14, 2010, Karreem Ali, 65, Black, Silver Spring, Maryland
    Oct 19, 2010, Troy Hooftallen, 36, Caucasian, Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania
    Nov 4, 2010, Eugene Lamott Allen, 40, Race: Unknown, Wilmington, Delaware
    Nov 6, 2010, Robert Neill, Jr., 61, Caucasian, Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
    Nov 7, 2010, Mark Shaver, 32, Caucasian, Brimfield, Ohio
    Nov 23, 2010, Denevious Thomas, 36, Black, Albany, Georgia
    Nov 26, 2010, Rodney Green, 36, Black, Waco, Texas
    Nov 27, 2010, Blaine McElroy, 37, Race: Unknown, Jackson County, Mississippi
    Dec 2, 2010, Clayton Early James, Age: Unknown, Race: Unknown, Elizabeth City, North Carolina
    Dec 11, 2010, Anthony Jones, 44, Race: Unknown, Las Vegas, Nevada
    Dec 12, 2010, Linel Lormeus, 26, Black, Naples, Florida
    Dec 20, 2010, Christopher Knight, 35, Black, Brunswick, Georgia
    Dec 31, 2010, Rodney Brown, 40, Black, Cleveland, Ohio

    Jan 5, 2011, Kelly Sinclair, 41, Race: Unknown, Amarillo, Texas
    Feb 5, 2011, Robert Ricks, 23, Black, Alexandria, Louisiana
    March 15, 2011, Brandon Bethea, 24, Black, Harnett County, North Carolina
    Apr 3, 2011, Jairious McGhee, 23, Black, Tampa, Florida
    Apr 22, 2011, Adam Spencer Johnson, 33, Caucasian, Orlando, Florida
    Apr 23, 2011, Ronald Armstrong, 43, Race: Unknown, Pinehurst, North Carolina
    Apr 25, 2011, Kevin Darius Campbell, 39, Race: Unknown, Tallahassee, Florida
    May 1, 2011, Marcus Brown, 26, Black, Waterbury, Connecticut
    May 6, 2011, Matthew Mittelstadt, 56, Caucasian, Boundary County, Idaho
    May 11, 2011, Allen Kephart, 43, Caucasian, San Bernadino County, California
    June 13, 2011, Howard Hammon, 41, Caucasian, Middleburg, Ohio
    June 22, 2011, Otto Kolberg, 55, Caucasian, Waycross, Georgia
    June 28, 2011, Dalric East, 40, Black, Montgomery County, Maryland
    July 5, 2011, Kelly Thomas, 37, Caucasian, Fullerton, California
    July 10, 2011, Joshua Nossoughi, 32, Caucasian, Springfield, Missouri
    July 19, 2011, Alonzo Ashley, 29, Black, Denver, Colorado
    July 21, 2011, La’Reko Williams, 21, Black, Charlotte, North Carolina
    July 30, 2011, Donald Murray, 39, Caucasian, Westland, Michigan
    August 4, 2011, Pierre Abernathy, 30, Black, San Antonio, Texas
    August 6, 2011, Everette Howard, 18, Black, Cincinnati, Ohio
    August 6, 2011, Debro Wilkerson, 29, Black, Prince William County, Maryland
    August 6, 2011, Gregory Kralovetz, 50, Caucasian, Kaukauna, Wisconsin
    August 12, 2011, Joseph Lopez, 49, Hispanic, Santa Barbara, California
    August 17, 2011, Roger Chandler, 41, Caucasian, Helena, Montana
    August 21, 2011, Montalito McKissick, 37, Black, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    August 24, 2011, Michael Evans, 56, Race: Unknown, Fayetteville, North Carolina
    August 30, 2011, Nicholas Koscielniak, 27, Caucasian, Lancaster, New York
    September 11, 2011, Tyree Sinclair, 31, Black, Corpus Christi, Texas
    September 13, 2011, Damon Barnett, 44, Caucasian, Fresno, California
    September 17, 2011, Richard Kokenos, 27, Caucasian, Warren, Michigan
    September 24, 2011, Bradford Gibson, 35, Black, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan
    September 24, 2011, Donacio Rendon, 43, Race: Unknown, Lubbock, Texas
    September 29, 2011, Howard Cook, 35, Black, York, Pennsylvania
    October 4, 2011, Glenn Norman, 46, Caucasian, Camden County, Missouri
    October 9, 2011, Darnell Hutchinson, 32, Black, San Leandro, California
    October 31, 2011, Chad Brothers, 32, Caucasian, Colonie, New York
    November 6, 2011, Darrin Hanna, 43, Black, North Chicago, Illinois
    November 13, 2011, Ronald Cristiano, 51, Caucasian, Bridgeport, Connecticut
    November 15, 2011, Jonathan White, 29, Black, San Bernardino, California
    November 22, 2011, Roger Anthony, 61, Black, Scotland Neck, North Carolina
    December 16, 2011, Marty Atencio, 44, Hispanic, Phoenix, Arizona
    December 22, 2011, Wayne Williams, 27, Black, Houma, Louisiana
    January 15, 2012, Daniel Guerra, 24, Hispanic, Ft. Worth, Texas
    February 29, 2012, Raymond Allen, 34, Black, Galveston, Texas
    March 5, 2012, Nehemiah Dillard, 29, Black, Gainesville, Florida
    March 12, 2012, Jersey Green, 37, Black, Aurora, Illinois
    March 19, 2012, James Barnes, 38, Caucasian, Pinellas County, Florida
    April 10, 2012, Bobby Merrill, 38, Black, Saginaw, Michigan
    April 21, 2012, Angel Heraldo, 41, Hispanic, Meriden, Connecticut
    April 22, 2012, Bruce Chrestensen, 52, Caucasian, Grass Valley, California
    May 10, 2012, Damon Abraham, 34, Black, Baldwin, Louisiana
    June 9, 2012, Randolph Bonvillian, 41, Caucasian, Houma, Louisiana
    June 20, 2012, Macadam Mason, 39, Caucasian, Thetford, Vermont
    June 30, 2012, Victor Duffy, 25, Black, Tukwila, Washington
    July 1, 2012, Corey McGinnis, 35, Black, Cincinnati, Ohio
    July 5, 2012, Sampson Castellane, 29, Native American, Fife, Washington
    September 1, 2012, Denis Chabot, 38, Caucasian, Houston, Texas
    September 14, 2012, Bill Williams, 60, Caucasian, Everett, Washington
    You can see that we don’t know the race or national origin (RNO) for Ronald Armstrong, Kelly Brinson, Kevin Darius Campbell, Michael Evans, Jerome Gill, Gary Grossenbacher, James Healy Jr., Clayton Early James, Anthony Jones, Derrek Kariney, T.J. Nance, Phyllis Owens, William Owens, Stephen Palmer, Earnest Ridlehuber, Sukeba Olawunmi, Ronald Petruney, Donacio Rendon, Larry Rubio, Dennis Sandras, Edward Stephenson or Christopher Wright. We can use some research assistance from villagers to help us identify the RNO for these folks who died after being electrocuted by police taser guns.

    We track the RNO information because we sense that these taser-related deaths are happening at a disproportionate level to people of color.

    For example, we see that at least 74 (73 men and a 62-year old woman) of these taser-torture killings occurred against African Americans. Black people are only 13.6% of the total population, yet 41% of the 2009-2012 taser-related deaths in America are Black people.

    At last count, there are more than 514,000 Tasers among law enforcers and the military nationwide. Tasers are now deployed in law enforcement agencies in 29 of the 33 largest U.S. cities. Some states, such as New Jersey, are loosening up their rules for taser use. Other states, like Delaware, seek to justify taser use in spite of rising death toll.

    However, the tide may be turning. As taser-related deaths and injuries have continued to rise (as well as the amount of Taser litigation), many departments are starting to abandon the weapon in favor of other means of suspect control. Currently, Memphis and San Francisco have opted to ban the use of tasers by law enforcement. Charlotte (NC) pulled all the tasers off the street. Nevada revised their taser policy so that it would be more aligned to proposal from the ACLU.

    South Carolina is beginning to question its use of tasers. Additionally, a federal court has ruled that the pain inflicted by the taser gun constitutes excessive force by law enforcement. The courts don’t want police to electrocute people with their tasers unless they pose an immediate threat.

    Perhaps the idea of an electric rifle made sense when it was first invented. “Taser” refers to an electrical weapon trademarked by the Scottsdale, Arizona-based company known as Taser International. The word Taser stands for “Tom A. Swift Electrical Rifle.”

    The Taser was developed by Jack Cover, a contract scientist on NASA’s Apollo moon program in the 1960s. Inspired by his favorite childhood book series – Victor Appleton’s Tom Swift – Cover drew up plans for a non-lethal weapon like the one the series’ main character used.

    In 1993, Rick and Tim Smith, who launched Taser International, worked with Cover to improve his design and introduced the device the next year. Since then, use of the word Taser has became part of the common American language.

    However, we now see too much taser abuse. First available to law enforcement in February 1998, now used by more than 14,200 law enforcement agencies in more than 40 countries. More than 406,000 taser guns have been sold since the product hit the market. It may be time for congressional hearings.

    Some tell us that tasers are making America safer. Police kill about 600 people per year in shootings. So what?! Should we be we be happy that they are ONLY killing people once-a-week with taser guns?

    How Do Tasers Work? When a Taser’s trigger is pulled, two wires shoot out of the device at the suspect from up to 35 feet away. At the ends of the wires are probes that either embed in a person’s skin or cling to clothing.
    When the probes hit, an electrical pulse is delivered for five seconds, causing involuntary muscular contractions in the subject.
    At the end of the first pulse, police tell the person to roll onto their abdomen, so they can be handcuffed. If they do not comply, they may be shocked again.
    Once a person is arrested, police remove the barbs and call EMTs to the scene.
    The person is taken to the hospital to be checked out. If the barbs remain in the person after police try to remove them, they are removed at the hospital.
    The Taser is equipped with a chip that records information on each use, which can be used in court if someone alleges they were shocked multiple times.

    Personally, I think that the ‘Use of Force Continuum’ needs to show tasers as ‘near-lethal’ … definitely an error to claim that they are ‘non-lethal’.

    Many of us think that that immediate problem with Taser use is the lack of state and federal training standards for Taser certification. There are too many police officers with a taser on their hip and insufficient training on how … or when … to use it. Without set training standards (which includes a block on the liabilities of the weapons use in the event of bodily injury or death), officers are not fully aware of the ramifications of Taser use.

    Find this story at 14 September 2012