Knesset report: Taser can lead to death

After video of settler being shocked causes stir, new Knesset report claims police directives regarding Taser usage 'ambigous', dangerous as 'misusage of stun gun could lead to physical defects, even death'

"A stun gun hit increases the chances of a severe wound and even death for people with drug addition or health issues such as heart disease," a new Knesset research report revealed.


The report reviewed foreign studies regarding the use of Taser guns by law enforcement forces as well as its actual usage by Israeli police. It was written in the wake of the August arrest of the radical right-wing activist Boaz Albert which was documented in a scandalous video which shows Albert being shocked multiple times by the police despite being bound and not resisting arrest.


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The report's authors noted that "the health related implications of the Taser gun are still controversial," but nonetheless they noted that "in many studies no correlation was found between death and a stun gun wound."


The report was penned at the request of MK Amnon Cohen (Shas), chairman of the State Control Committee, ahead of a committee hearing and in wake of what was described as ambiguity in directives and protocol regarding the weapon's usage by the police.


As one example of such ambiguity, the report's authors claimed, was that the current directives "do not limit the amount of times (the Taser) is allowed to be fired at a suspect and only say the usage should be limited according to 'legal and reasonable' confines. This ambiguity stems from the need to allow police to use discretion in regards to each incident's circumstances. However, on the other hand, the lack of clear directives can lead to disproportional usage of the instrument."


In contradiction of police claims that it has adopted the directives proposed by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel in 2012, the report found the new directives were implemented only in May 2013 in opposition to the recommendations the police accepted when they began operating the taser.


The report concludes that there is "lack of unequivocal directives regarding the safety of the Taser gun, in addition to a lack of good independent research regarding its medical repercussions… (as well as) a lack of data regarding police misusage," a fault it attributed to the police's reluctance to pass on data in this regard.


In response the police said that the "Taser's usage is based on facts and operational experience. The report presented certain gaps between an understanding of the weapons usage and the changes implemented in police directives. Tomorrow (Thursday) there will be a Knesset discussion in the matter in which every issue will be answered."


Stun gun 'like any other firearm'

Ynet has learned that in anticipation of the Knesset's State Control Committee meeting, the Israeli Medical Association's (IMA) ethics committee recommended the Taser be considered a firearm and be included under its directives.


One of the IMA's members even recommended that its usage be confined to officers who received specialized training, during which they themselves were stunned by the gun.


"The Taser should be treated like any other firearm," the ethic's committee chairman Prof. Avinoam Reches said. "Medical research has shown that improper usage of the Taser can lead to serious physical defects and even death."


The public debate regarding stun guns began after a clip of the arrest of Boaz Albert went public.


Violent police arrest of Boaz Albert

Violent police arrest of Boaz Albert


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In a filmed clip of Albert's arrest, a police officer is seen holding his stun gun and threatening to shock Albert, as the latter pleads him not to and declares that he is not resisting arrest – all in front of his detained children.


Albert is eventually tasered a number of times.


As a result of the video, Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino announced his decision to temporarily prohibit the use of Taser stun guns by officers. A decision he recently announced his plans to gradually reverse.



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פרסום ראשון: 10.02.13, 12:12
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