TASER® conducted electrical weapons: misconceptions in the scientific/medical and other literature

James R Jauchem
Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology 2015, 11 (1): 53-64
TASER(®) conducted electrical weapons (CEWs) have become an important law-enforcement tool. Controversial questions are often raised during discussion of some incidents in which the devices have been used. The main purpose of this paper is to point out some misconceptions about CEWs that have been published in the scientific/medical and other literature. This is a narrative review, using a multidisciplinary approach of analyzing reports from scientific/medical and other literature sources. In previous reports, durations of incapacitating effects and possible associations of CEWs with deaths-in-custody have often been overstated or exaggerated. Comparisons of CEW effects with "electrocution" are misleading. Clarification of these misconceptions may be important during policymaker decisions, practitioner operations, expert witness testimonies, and court proceedings. Despite misconceptions in the literature, CEWs can still be a valuable tool for law enforcement activities. Scientists, medical professionals, legal advisors, and investigators of police tactics should be aware of these misconceptions.

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