Taser Tells Cops: Don't Aim at Chest

Company cites 'extremely low risk' but insists stun gun is safe
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2009 11:35 AM CDT
Chairman and co-founder of Taser Tom Smith demonstrates the use of a Taser X26 law enforcement electronic control device.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Stun gun maker Taser has issued an advisory to police departments suggesting cops not aim at a suspect’s chest because it poses an "extremely low" chance of triggering an "adverse cardiac event." The company insists its product is safe, but if something goes wrong, "it would place the law-enforcement agency, the officer, and Taser International in the difficult situation of trying to ascertain what role, if any, the Taser” played, the bulletin reads.

About 400 deaths have occurred following Taser incidents in the US since usage began in 2001, and critics see this as a major reversal. The company does not. “We have not stated that the Taser causes (cardiac) events in this bulletin, only that the refined target zones avoid any potential controversy on this topic,” an exec tells the Arizona Republic. The advisory says “back shots remain the preferred area when practical."