Killing Them Safely

Killing Them Safely

DVD - 2016
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About every two minutes a police officer uses a Taser. Sold as an effective way to subdue violent suspects without injuring them, Tasers have revolutionized the way officers do their jobs. One company is responsible for this revolution: Taser International. The company's mission statement: "Protect Truth. Protect Life." In 1993, brothers Rick and Tom Smith started what would become Taser International in their parents' garage.
Publisher: [Orland Park, IL] : MPI Media Group, [2016]
Copyright Date: ©2016
Branch Call Number: 683.4 KILLING
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (95 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.
4 3/4 in.,stamping,rda
video file,DVD video,region 1,rda


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May 01, 2018

In this Sundance Selects documentary directed by Nick Berardini, viewers are treated to the history of the taser. Originally conceived in 1969 by former space scientist Jack Cover, the rights to the research were acquired by two brothers, Tom and Patrick Smith, who in 2001 were molded it into the weapon now used by 17,000 law enforcement agencies in 107 countries. Envisioned as a way to save lives, the taser was supposed to fall between guns and pepper spray as a way to stop and deter criminals. But eventually, issues began to occur. By the year 2008, there had been 300 taser-related deaths.

The company insists that the taser is perfectly safe, and any deaths that occurred after taser deployment were purely coincidental. In the beginning, much of the statistical data made available to the public and law enforcement came straight from TASER International itself. Peter Williamson, a product liability attorney in southern California refers to the Smith brother’s claims as “propaganda.” By 2008, over 100 lawsuits had been filed against TASER International, but the company never lost a case because at the time lawyers were unable to prove a link between deployment of the taser and cause of death. Canadian lawyer David Eby likens TASER’s stance to the tobacco industry’s long insistence that “you can’t prove that tobacco smoking causes cancer. You don’t know what the exact mechanism is. It just happens that a lot of people who smoke get cancer. Well TASER is relying on the same thing.”

The documentary features multiple interviews with law enforcement officers, the VP of TASER International, lawyers, and doctors. Peppered with archival footage and clips from the Braidwood deposition and other inquiries into taser safety, the viewer watches as the TASER founders dissemble when confronted with the facts. It is ultimately shown that there are significant risks and that the taser has been directly linked to both muscular acidosis and cardiac arrest, and that TASER international was aware of the risks but chose not to disclose them in their sales pitch. After several more deaths, the company quietly added a suggestion to not aim for the chest “to avoid the controversy surrounding whether or not the taser affects the heart.”

Aug 12, 2017

Directed by Nick Berardini and originally released as a motion picture in 2015, this 95-minute documentary delves into the controvercy erupted over the safety and impact of the TASERs.
By 2008 more than 300 people had died as a result of TASERs and their effectiveness was found to cause officers to use them with less and less restraint.
It is a fascinating and thought-provoking documentary.

Which is more deadly, a gun or a taser? I am going to go with gun. People want cops to get rid of their guns, but they will not support the cops when they use their alternative. This documentary is a cop hating, criminal protecting film. Not at all recommended.

Aug 07, 2016

Good one. It makes you wonder if Taser owners are responsible for some injuries and deaths. It also questions whether the risk is worth the reward. I still don't know. But it is good to see that police and citizens are beginning to questions it's appropriate usage.

jpozenel May 09, 2016

Very good documentary that shows how deadly Tasers can be. The representatives from the Taser International Corporation seem extremely shady, but if they were totally honest, they would be open to many lawsuits and loss millions and millions of dollars. I can understand their responses but they do seem like a creepy bunch none the less. Maybe it's not an unbiased documentary, but it's obvious that there is a problem with Taser.

May 03, 2016

eye opening documentary on the hidden danger of the taser, a deadly combination of trigger happy cops and false safety claims by the manufacturer has lead to 300 reported deaths.

I was shocked by how fast the cops resorted to using a taser. Speeding tickets and the Vancouver airport when they zapped the guy 4 or 5 times.

I think there's a place for taser use, but it has to be an actual threatening situation and should only be one shot, not ganging up and zapping an already downed suspect repeatedly.


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