USA Today featured a story this week regarding the use of Tasers in police work. It wasn’t the typical questionable use of force story that we most often see associated with these tools for law enforcement. No, instead, it discussed the use of cameras as attachments on the weapons.
According to the article about 45,000 video camera attachments have been sold by the Taser International company in Arizona. The company started selling these additional features back in 2006 and with so many accusations of inappropriate use, police see them as a way to protect cops from unfounded allegations.
Taser weapons are used by many, if not most police agencies across the country. They work by propelling two darts from the gun and onto the suspect. Two wires from the darts deliver jolting electric shock that can lay even a large man out in a matter of seconds.
The Tasers are seen as an alternative to deadly force—a way to get someone to comply with lawful orders without pulling a firearm. According to one organization, Tasers have led to 440 deaths since 2001. Taser International, of course, states those numbers are inflated and/or misleading.
While some cameras in use for law enforcement purposes border on an invasion of privacy, the cameras on Taser weapons may be more helpful than harmful. The camera doesn’t come on until the Taser is removed from the holster and the safety is disengaged.
In other words, the Taser video camera isn’t rolling unless the Taser is in use.
While it’s true the cameras will be excellent evidence for prosecutors and the police when it is employed properly, the cameras may also work against police if they are out of line in their use of force.
Too often when police act out of line or outside of their legal parameters, there’s no proof and it ends up a he said-she said situation. The use of cameras by police, however, has to be done in a way that still keeps a person’s Constitutional rights intact.
Tasers aren’t used often, but they are used more frequently than firearms. If you’re in a situation with police and you resist them and disobey lawful orders, you could be the victim of a Taser encounter. However, even if you aren’t tased and if you comply readily with officer instructions, that doesn’t always save you from charges like resisting arrest or disorderly conduct.
When you’re facing criminal charges, you need the assistance of a criminal defense attorney in Florida. Whether there’s camera footage or not, if you need someone to advocate for your rights in court, contact us today for a legal defense consultation.