US Taser death prompts call for UK rethink

By Ian Dunt

The death of a young boy in America after being shot by a Taser has prompted calls for a rethink of government plans to introduce the weapon in the UK.

According to police reports, the 15-year-old was killed when he “attempted to fight” Bay City officers responding to reports of an argument between two males in an apartment. He is reported to have been unarmed.

He is the second minor to die after being shocked by a Taser this year.

Now Amnesty International is calling on the home secretary to rethink plans to roll out the weapon across frontline forces in the UK, amid concerns over the safety of the electro-shock weapon.

Amnesty International UK’s arms programme director Oliver Sprague said: “The tragic death of this teenager is a grave reminder that extreme caution has to be applied when Tasers are being used.

“Tasers should only be used in life-threatening situations and this doesn’t appear to be such an instance. Surely another form of restraint could have been applied in this case.”

In January, an unarmed 17-year-old boy in Virginia died after police, responding to a minor street incident, shocked him in his apartment.

Since June 2001, the total number of deaths after the use of Taser guns in the US has risen to 351.