The family of a man who died of the personal injuries he sustained while being shocked with a Taser in 2006 recently filed suit in Charleston, South Carolina. Taser International, Inc. the manufacturer of the weapon, the local police department, the city of Charleston, and Charleston County were named as defendants.
Tasers are weapons that many law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S. use in situations that don’t necessarily call for the use of a traditional firearm and are intended to be nonlethal. The device utilizes Electro-Muscular Disruption technology in order to incapacitate neuromuscular function, which allows police to subdue people who pose a threat, are fleeing, or are potentially dangerous.
In October of 2006, police in North Charleston used a Taser to subdue 38-year-old Kip Darrell Black, who was mentally ill. Upon encountering Black acting erratically after using cocaine, police officers used the Taser on him.
Typically only one or two jolts are required to subdue an individual, but officers allegedly delivered up to 10 on Black. His family claims that his later death at a local hospital was caused by the use of the Taser.
The suit claims that the officers knew or should have known that excessively using the weapon could cause death. It also contains product liability counts against Taser International for the manufacture and sale of the dangerous weapon.
A number of suits have been filed across the U.S. involving Tasers.