Police killing vulnerable people with Tasers, new research shows

Vulnerable groups of people, including the elderly, pregnant women, and people with heart conditions, make up half of the Taser deaths caused by US police, according to a new investigation by Reuters.

People who could be classified as ‘vulnerable’ comprise more than half of the 1,028 cases identified by Reuters in which people died after being shocked by Tasers. Out of these, 245 people had a heart condition and 643 people were drunk or high on drugs.

Nearly a third of the US population can be considered a ‘vulnerable’ group and are at greater risk of death or injury from Taser shocks, the Reuters report found. Stun guns are used by police to immobilize targets by delivering a painful electric shock.

Axon Enterprise Inc, the Arizona-based company which produces Taser guns, warns against using them on “higher risk populations.” These people should be targeted “only if the situation justifies an increased risk” of injury or death, the company said.

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