Ohio sheriff halts use of Tasers - East Valley Tribune: Business

Ohio sheriff halts use of Tasers

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Posted: Friday, February 18, 2005 5:12 am | Updated: 9:00 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The Lucas County Sheriff’s office in Toledo, Ohio, has suspended the use of Taser stun guns following the death of a suspect who had been shocked nine times.

Lucas County Sheriff James Telb said his department will not use the Tasers again until more safety studies are conducted.

He said his officers have used Tasers about a dozen times since they went into service last year.

Jeffrey Turner, 41, died last month after he was shocked five times by police and four times by guards at the Lucas County Jail.

The coroner’s office has not released a cause of death.

The suspension of the stun guns, which are made and distributed by Scottsdale-based Taser International, comes on the heels of a report from the International Association of Police Chiefs urging police to use caution when firing the electrically-charged weapon.

The association is preparing to release to its 20,000 members, including East Valley police chiefs, a reminder that police examine the protocol and procedures for using the stun guns, which delivers a 50,000 volt jolt through two barbed darts at the end of two, 21-foot-long wires.

The association also is preparing to join the U.S. Justice Department in a study into more than 80 deaths to determine the real or potential risks involved with using the Taser stun guns.

Gilbert Police Chief John Brewer, a member of the association, said he has not yet received any alerts from the Alexandria, Va., agency, but his officers, like most police departments in the East Valley, will continue to use the Taser stun gun.

"Tasers have been good in our department," Brewer said. "I have no intention of issuing a moratorium at this time, pending further results to the contrary."

Last week, Chicago police withheld the distribution of 100 stun guns until officers complete an investigation into their use to restrain two people, including a 54-year-old man who later died.

Meanwhile, a Georgia legislative committee advised against implementing a statewide ban on the use of Taser stun guns, the Scottsdale company said Thursday.

Taser said the committee referred the subject to a study committee to gather more information.

"This is a great victory for the law enforcement community and for Taser International," said president Tom Smith.

Taser shares fell 10 cents to close at $14.38 Thursday on the Nasdaq stock market.

Its shares are down 57 percent from their 52-week high of $33.45 reached late last year.

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