October 07, 2005
Related story - (All Things Considered, April 1, 2005) The Taser Gun's Physical Effect
The ACLU and private attorneys filed a federal lawsuit yesterday alleging that actions by Metro and a taser company resulted in the wrongful death of a man who was handcuffed. The suit seeks 10 million dollars in compensation. KNPR's Ky Plaskon reports.
PLASKON: When Metropolitan Police Department Sergeant Becker pulls out his taser, other officers back away.
BECKER: Its armed now see.
PLASKON: A red laser is trained on the target.
BECKER: What happens is that it sticks in you and gives a five second burst of, 50-thousand volts so it totally incapacitates you.
BECKER: Sometimes we have to use them, but we try not to, we try to use our communication's skills to solve problems it is so much easier, less paperwork too.
PLASKON: Officers know how dangerous they are. In fact two metropolitan police officers have filed suit in state court after having tasers used on them in training. They aren't just a discomfort for those shocked by them either. The International Association of Chiefs of Police is studying the use of tasers in 80-deaths across the country. A total of 140 have died according to the Arizona Republic newspaper. 129 of those taser-related deaths occurred after the victims were shocked multiple times according to Amnesty International.
The ACLU's Gary Peck and Sanford Tucker, father of Keith Tucker who died while in Metro custody.
TUCKER: We gotta get the right thing done, Keith was my best friend and my only son.
PLASKON: Sanford Tucker stood in front of reporters and described what happened a year and two months ago to his son who had a broken arm and leg.
TUCKER: Keith was in his own home, in his own bedroom, laying on his bed starting no trouble with anybody and they beat him, till they were both worn out and he was handcuffed and they shot him four times in the heart with the tasers and did him in, killed him.
PLASKON: He describes his son as a mellow surfer. Sanford scattered his son's ashes in the 7 sacred pools of Maui a year ago.
TUCKER: I want them to change the law, and I would like it to be in my son's name.
PLASKON: It's the fourth taser-related death in Nevada. Coincidentally today yesterday the ACLU of northern California released a report that a lack of taser policies in police departments is endangering lives. Gary Peck, executive Director of the ACLU of Nevada lobbied heavily last legislative session for laws governing the use of tasers but he says legislators refused to even debate the issue. The ACLU, Amnesty International, the Progressive Leadership Alliance, NAACP have asked the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department to review its policies related to tasers as well. The department has refused, so Tucker has retained Attorney Brent Bryson and filed a federal lawsuit.
BRYSON: We intend to demonstrate and we are going to do it right here in this court of law that Mr Sanford's son Keith was killed not only by Metro's intolerable and continued use of excessive force but by tazer that has misrepresented the use of its product.
PLASKON: This suit is the third brought against Taser International Incorporated for allegedly falsely marketing its product as non-lethal. According to Taser International, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has more tasers than any other police departments except for Houston, Texas. Metro released a statement that couldn't comment on the suit, but that the department has an ongoing commitment to re-evaluate it's use of force polices as it relates to technology.
Ky Plaskon, News 88-9, KNPR
See discussion rules
|Apr 4, 2009 | Drug Donation Program|
Nevada lawmakers are debating the creation of a program that would help cancer patients get expensive prescription drugs for less.
|Mar 13, 2009 | Budget Wrangling|
As state lawmakers wrestle with Nevada's multi-billion-dollar budget deficit, there are several plans afoot aimed at softening the next economic bust.
|Mar 2, 2009 | Autism|
The cost of treating children with autism can be $24,000 to $40,000 per child per year according to the Autism Coalition of Nevada. A bill before the Nevada Legislature aims to help families pay for the care.
|Feb 16, 2007 | Chinese New Year|
This weekend marks a celebration of Chinese New Year. KNPR's Rick Andrews reports on how the holiday is being celebrated by the valley's growing Asian community.
|Dec 7, 2006 | Food and Beverage|
The economy of scale for food and beverage operations in Las Vegas means any edge in efficiency is real money. Rick Andrews reports on a software product scoring with food and beverage managers looking at the bottom line...and what you're likely to order.
|Nov 15, 2006 | Global Gaming Expo|
The Global Gaming Expo trade show and conference got underway Tuesday in Las Vegas. Vendors showcase their latest wares including new slot machines.
|Nov 1, 2006 | Stardust Memories|
When it opened in 1958 the Stardust was the world's largest hotel. Now, after more than 48 years, it's closed.
|Sep 27, 2006 | Nevada Northern Railway|
The 'Nevada Northern' is celebrating its centenial anniversary. News 88.9's Rick Andrews went on a tour of the museum with executive director Mark Bassett.
|Jun 30, 2006 | Standing Up for Ringo|
Congresswoman Shelley Berkley tells the story of how she saw the Beatles in Las Vegas in August 1964.
|Jun 29, 2006 | Sports Supplements|
From fortified cereals to energy drinks to serious sports nutrition, people are willing to spend lots money to supplement their diets. Rick Andrews reports on the business of sports supplements.
|May 25, 2006 | Love|
Wednesday Cirque du Soleil provided a glimpse of their much anticipated show based on the music of the Beatles. Flo Rogers reports on Love.
|May 24, 2006 | Telecommunications|
A Senate telecommunications bill currently being considered includes
provisions on most everything, but some worry that controversial measures will derail the entire package.
|May 16, 2006 | Nanotech|
Universities across the country are spending millions to expand nano technology research...manipulating molecules 10,000 times smaller than a human hair. Rick Andrews reports on nano research at UNLV.
|Apr 24, 2006 | Earthscope|
Hualapai Mountain Park, near Kingman, has been chosen by the National Science Foundation to be home to a seismic monitoring station. Gillian Ferris Kohl reports.
|Apr 18, 2006 | Anatomical Donation for Science|
In the second of two reports exploring innovative medical facilities in the Valley, Rick Andrews visits the Medical Education and Research Institute of Nevada in Henderson.
|Apr 12, 2006 | Immigration Reform Stalled|
Immigration legislation in the U.S. Senate is at a standstill. Many in the Republican Party blame Nevada Democrat, Senator Harry Reid for the impasse. Jill Morrison reports from Capitol Hill.
|Apr 1, 2006 | New Plans for Nellis|
The first of April brings news that a large piece of military land in Las Vegas may be redeveloped.
|Mar 28, 2006 | Test Site Worker Compensation|
Senator Harry Reid is trying to get compensation for Test Site workers who were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation, but never compensated.
|Feb 27, 2006 | StoryCorps - Alice Keys|
Alice Keys has been active in the African American community for
decades and known through her association with the Moulin Rouge Casino. Here's her recollection of meeting one of the great African Americans of the last century.
|Feb 21, 2006 | StoryCorps - Alan Morel and Mike Genoshe|
When close friends interview each other, the stories are often more
intimate and revealing than talking to a reporter. A case in point is Alan Morel and Mike Genoshe talking about their hopes for their adopted son.