Colombia’s Defense Minister, Juan Carlos Pinzon, has defended a roll-out of Taser stun guns in the capital of Bogota, saying they could save lives.
A month ago, a police pilot projects began to use electronic Tasers in Cali and Medellin, now the experiment expands to Bogota. The news of equipping police authorities with ‘stun guns’ has led to public debate.
“Police is in the process of modernization, finding tools that use the least possible harm to citizens even when they have broken the law and it is necessary to use force,” said the Minister, according to newspaper El Pais.
Last year 100 police officers were injured, trying to break up fights, and the Taser technology could decrease that number, El Tiempo reported.
Authorities say the idea of the implementation of Taser pistols is to reduce the amount of homicides and the number of wounded during police operations. The General of Bogota’s Metropolitan Police qas quoted in Colombia’s El Tiempo newspaper that the electronic tool would only be taken to effect under certain circumstances as in a fight or when a police officer is threaten with a firearm or explosive.
Still people are insecure of the possible negative effects of being tased, the newspaper claims that tasing is related to more than 500 deaths in U.S. But the Defense Minister maintains that it is more humane than the use of regular gun force.
“The Tasers causes less damage than a gun, and I think they are the technological advances that not only occur in Colombia and the project is steps towards preserve life as a fundamental interest,” the Defense Minister claimed, according to El Pais.
When shot by a stun gun the nerves are paralyzed through electric shock, leaving the person motionless for a period of two-five seconds. Last year a young Colombian, Hernandez, died in the US after Miami police tased him. His Colombian father, Israel Hernandez, joined the current debate and reminded that people in fragile health can be susceptible to heart attacks when ‘stunned.’
“I want to warn the authorities this is outside of human rights, it is something that can kill a person,” the father told El Tiempo.
The forensic report of the late young Colombian revealed that he had a heart attack triggered by a stun gun.
Taser international issued a warning in 2009, stating that taser shots close to the heart might affect the rhythm of the heart.
A study from 2012 published by American Medical Association, where stun guns were tested on pigs, states that the shock from being tased can cause the heart rate to jump to dangerous high beats per minute, according to International Business Time (IBT).
Many of the deaths involving Taser have occurred when the device has been used improperly for instance several times on the same individual or when the person has underlying health conditions.
National Police General Rodolfo Palomino also stated his support for the electronic guns. “I understand the debate on Tasers, but the electronic guns are only to be used to secure the least damage to imminent dangers,” the police General is quoted in El Espectador.
- Padre de joven muerto por pistola Taser rechaza que Colombia las use (El Tiempo)
- Policías en tres capitales del país ya tienen pistolas eléctricas (El Tiempo)
- Taser Guns Can Cause Heart Attacks, Study Says (IBT)
- General Palomino hace vehemente defensa del uso de pistolas eléctricas (El Espectador)
- “La Policía sigue en proceso de modernizarse”: Pinzón frente a uso de pistolas eléctricas (El Pais)