WASHINGTON — Tasers can save lives when police reach for their electronic control weapon instead of their gun. But a study has found that police in Maryland who have fired Tasers hundreds of times in recent years have failed to follow safety recommendations.
The Baltimore Sun reports that since 2009 there have been 11 deaths in Maryland caused by police use of Tasers, five of the individuals died after being hit by the electrical weapons for longer than what is recommended by the manufacturer.
Among the incidents analyzed by the newspaper is the death of Anthony Howard of Gaithersburg, Maryland three years ago. Howard, who was high on cocaine, was struck by Montgomery County police officers nine times for 37 seconds, more than double the manufacturer’s recommended time limit of 15 seconds.
The Sun says the state ranks in the top 15 nationwide for deaths caused by Tasers and nearly 60 percent of those hit by Tasers in Maryland are described by police as non-compliant and non-threatening.
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