Gerhardstein & Branch Co. LPA Gerhardstein & Branch Co. LPA

REPORT TO COMMUNITY ON TASER RISKS:

STUDY OF 33 POLICE AGENCIES IN HAMILTON COUNTY

COMMUNITY MEETING AT NEW PROSPECT BAPTIST CHURCH 1829 ELM STREET

October 1, 2012 at 4:30 p.m.

Cincinnati, Ohio.  Today community members eager to reduce deaths and needless injuries from improper Taser use by law enforcement agencies will meet and discuss the results of a survey of more than 30 law enforcement agencies in Hamilton County, Ohio.  The survey was compiled by the Law Firm of Gerhardstein & Branch LPA based on public record requests to all law enforcement agencies in Hamilton County Ohio.  The 18 page report includes a detailed spreadsheet summarizing all of the policies.  Serious problems include:

  • 94% of agencies’ materials do not adequately warn that Tasers can capture the heart rhythm of the subject, possibly leading to death.
  • 67% of policies permit upper chest shots despite the manufacturer’s warning moving the preferred target zone away from the upper chest.
  • 70% of policies do not instruct officers to consider the seriousness of the crime before deciding whether or not to use the Taser.
  • 33% policies do not specifically instruct officers to consider the risk of secondary impact of falling from an elevated surface subsequent to Taser use.
  • 27% of policies do not restrict Taser use on vulnerable populations such as juveniles, elderly individuals, or the visibly pregnant
  • 100% of policies fail to require that Taser output be tested to ensure that the actual performance of the device is within manufacturer’s specifications.
  • 73% of policies do not require an investigation that includes a data download from the Taser’s memory chip after use to independently verify the number and duration of shocks delivered to the subject.
  • 15% of policies explicitly authorize officers to use their Taser on a fleeing subject, regardless of the crime or the threat to the public.

Study author, civil rights attorney Al Gerhardstein, states that, “We have had four taser related deaths in four years in Hamilton County and we need to reform these policies now in order to protect our residents.”  For further information, please attend the community meeting held today at 4:30 p.m. at Prospect Baptist church, 829 Elm Street, or read the report.