Stun-gun maker Taser International is advising police forces to avoid firing the devices at the chests of suspects which critics say is an admission they could cause heart attacks.
The company, based in Arizona in the United States says there is “an extremely low risk” of ill effects and the advice is more to do with risk management. Antoine di Zazzo Director General of Taser in France: “They are advising avoiding pointing the Taser at the chest for several reasons, one being the clothes, the other being the lack of muscle in that area and there is also a small risk, if you are dealing with somebody who is fitted with an old-fashioned pacemaker.” A newly issued training manual recommends firing at “preferred target areas” – anywhere but the head, neck and chest. Human rights group Amnesty International says it is now going to demand restrictions on the use of the elctro-shock weapons. Christophe Saint Martin, of the Amnesty International Arms Commission said: “Even Taser Inrtenational recognises the danger the Taser can mean on certain parts of the body, notably the chest area. We are going to ask that security forces should not be allowed to use the Tasers on these parts of the body.” In one of the most controversial cases in the US a man died after being shocked three times by a Taser. The police officer involved is facing federal felony charges and the local authority is defending a civil lawsuit over alleged violation of the victim’s human rights.