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LAW ENFORCEMENT Lucas County sheriff stops use of Tasers



Published: Fri, February 18, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The county suspended use when a man died after nine shocks.

TOLEDO (AP) -- The Lucas County Sheriff's office has stopped using Tasers, becoming the second law enforcement agency in a week to put limits on the devices.

Sheriff James Telb on Wednesday announced the ban two weeks after a man was shocked nine times by authorities and died within minutes.

Telb said he won't allow officers to use the stun guns until he receives more results from safety studies.

Wants safety studies

Toledo police Chief Mike Navarre has asked the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the U.S. Department of Justice to study the safety of the stun devices.

The Chicago Police Department said last week it will not distribute any more Tasers to its officers while it investigates the device's use on a man who died and a teen who was injured this week.

The department, though, will continue to use the 200 Tasers it has now, and said that they are confident that the devices have helped make the city safer.

Tasers fire metal barbs attached by a wire that deliver 50,000 volts of electrical charge for five seconds. The idea is to temporarily immobilize suspects so that officers can gain control.

74 deaths in North America

Some groups have questioned whether the devices are safe. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference wants a moratorium, and Justice Department review of Tasers.

Amnesty International said in a report last November that at least 74 people have died in the United States and Canada in the past four years after being shocked with Tasers.

The group also has said police should not use them in routine arrests.

Taser International Inc., which makes the stun guns, has said they are among the safest ways to subdue a violent person. A message seeking comment was left at the company's office Thursday.

Jeffrey Turner, 41, of Toledo, died Jan. 31 after he was shocked five times by Toledo police and four times a few hours later by sheriff's correction officers at the jail.

Sheriff Telb said no policy violations were committed in Turner's death and no administrative or criminal charges would be filed by his office.

The Lucas County coroner's office said the cause of death remains inconclusive pending the results of toxicology tests and further investigation.

Telb said he wants a policy requiring any suspect shocked by a Taser to pass a medical examination at a hospital before being booked into the county jail.




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