At our request, Steve Tuttle of Taser International sent us this statement about the Tasering of a 10-year-old by a Morgan County, Indiana police officer:
While there are considerable safety margins for use of TASER electronic control devices for minors, we all certainly agree that children need to be protected to the greatest degree possible. However, situations can arise where law enforcement officers must subdue minors in order to prevent them from harming themselves or others. Even the National Institute of Justice’s Study of Deaths Following Electro Muscular Disruption: Interim Report states, “The use of a CED against these populations (when recognized) should be avoided but may be necessary if the situation excludes other reasonable options.
The issue facing community standards is the use of any type of response to resistance involving children or adolescents which in itself is controversial when justified and requires careful consideration and due care. There are cases in which the totality of circumstances are such that a TASER device presents the safer response to resistance compared with the alternatives such as fists, kicks, baton strikes, bean bag guns, chemical agents, or canine response.
In our training materials we provide warnings of known risks that may impact the use of the TASER device. It is up to the individual agencies to determine and set forth use of force policies and guidelines based upon Constitutional standards and the totality of the circumstances for any response to resistance.