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Taser on Trial

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The Christian Science Monitor reports on the lates trial against the manufacturer of Taser guns. The guns have clearly lowered the number of people shot by police officers, and have therefore indisputably saved lives.

The largest group to experience Taser shocks is actually the police themselves. Many departments - including the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office - had required officers to experience the shock before being allowed to use the gun. [Did they also require officers to get shot with a pistol before shooting others?] The plaintiff in the Phoenix case, a police officer, had osteoporosis and had apparently experienced back problems before having the Taser "tested" on him. He claims his back was broken.

Hmmm.... Methinks a proximate cause issue is at stake. Had the plaintiff been a perp, a broken back is definitely better than a dead body. But the plaintiff was a policeman who had done nothing wrong. Was Maricopa County's gratuitous and ridiculous policy of "testing" on innocent and (in this case at least) knowingly frail folks not the proximate cause of the injury?

[The county has since abandoned the policy, by the way.]

This is yet another example of products liability law as an end run around Workers' Comp limitations on suing one's boss.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.