« Reveal

When Tasers Fail

2019-05-11 | 🔗

A Taser is supposed to help police resolve a situation without using their guns. But in police departments across America, Tasers aren’t always living up to their promise, sometimes with lethal results.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey it is your favorite host in all of pod custom. Now for the rest of the year, I'm gonna be asking you to join us by becoming a member of reveal reveal is all about going deep, pulling on threads telling stories that matter for more than three years now reveal has been fighting a lawsuit. That's been jeopardizing our very existence so restore we. About an organization called planet aid. Our story raises serious questions about whether international aid was actually reaching the people. It was intended to help and what's more, our story was truthful and we stand by it. We believe it's our duty to fight attacks like this, but fighting a lawsuit comes at a huge costs, are legal fees alone totalled more than seven million dollars? Luckily, we have pro bono legal support to help our in house counsel, but it still takes significant resources, resources that should be used to do more public service journalists. This kind of investigative,
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seven million times on Facebook is to ban one republic forming live private Party in Orlando last year on a screen behind the ban. Flash is a series of videos, highly the heroism of police officers, administering CPR, arresting bad guys, rescuing a drowning dog and all ending with the message. God bless. Blue a coroner from suburban Chicago recorded, the ban with his cell phone. He was one of about twenty five hundred launch women officials in the audience they were in town for conference. This party was a hot ticket, free program will begin in just a few more minutes. Please grab a drink from the bar when weeks mistakes,
He gets a rock star. Reception to this is so cool we ever undertaken. Selfies. Are you share with you guys? Smith is the seal of a company called axon. He threw the party to celebrate its twenty fifth anniversary. Excellent, makes body cameras, drones virtual reality simulators, but its best known for tasters, almost every law enforcement agency in the country uses cops, seem to love them because their electrical pulses have the power to see up dangerous people in their tracks. But the problem is teases. Don't always do that. The police in this audience probably know that so Psmith levels with and we know, is our technology
gotten better. You come to rely on it more and more, and it's really painful for you and for us when it doesn't work when it doesn't get the job done and that's what keeps us up at night and for the last five or six years without a team of people worked really hard because we know we need to do better, that's what he said and twenty eighteen, but just three years earlier. He was bragging about how well teases worked eighty to ninety five percent effective in the field and x, on his claim that doing testing its taser warfare Ninety nine, even one hundred percent of the time but police have found it in the field they don't work nearly that? Well, it's not the taser malfunctioning that hardly ever happens, but they often fail to subdue suspects. In some police department officer, say that happens almost half the time. Opium reports, a team of investigative journalists at american public media.
Spent last year. Looking at what happens when tasers veil, their corresponding Curtis Gilbert, begins by taking us to Burlington Vermont before we get started, we should warn you that this story may be disturbing for some listeners. When Lynn Martin move to Burlington and twenty fourteen or income was low enough, she qualified for public housing. She was lucky to find an apartment right downtown. It was in a forced story, brick building built at the turn of the century. It was once a candy factory, the South Square apartments cater to senior citizens, and people with disabilities, but Lynn soon discovered she was in the minority there. She was one of the few people on or floor, not dealing with major mental health problems. Five, people had very significant issues and they're. Two of us who didn't did you know, is going to be like that when you move dinner was it did a kind of come as a surprise, where there is a little startled to find. It was quite that that I
the city in the population and by the had no problems with anybody other than Phil. I just want to be very clear about that. Fill grinnin lived right across the hall from limb and he suffered from a host of mental health problems, including p our lawyer and a disorder related to schizophrenia. You know he would after the walls, and he started at like four five o clock in the afternoon and wood I finally maybe eleven o clock at night, and then it would start up again like five o clock in the morning. It would be like some Oh you, people know I'd, know not gonna. Do that stop. Bothering me stop talking to me, I mean he's just talked walls in the winter of twenty fifteen fills condition started to get. Just about everyone noticed it his daughter, his psychiatrist and perhaps most of all the other people in this building.
One day, Lynne was sitting in her apartment when she heard fill out in the hallway, and this time it wasn't the walls he was yelling at. It was one of his neighbors, and this next exchange has some pretty offensive language. He was getting onto the elevator, she got off and he just let fly. Honor use the language you can. I did it out if you want, but you bet, retired blah blah blah, and I mean he just really let her have in this poor woman. Again I had issues around. She was just devastated and shaking in and very upset Lynn reported the incident to the police and the Burlington Housing Authority, which splendid by talking in eviction notice into his door frame filled with seventy six years old. He lived in the subsidized apartment. Complex for eighteen years is met.
Records show his paranoia often focused on fears of eviction. It was March twenty. Sixteen barely springtime the overnight temperatures in Vermont, still dipped below freezing most nights. Less then, a week after he got the eviction notice. Phil was sitting alone in his apartment, yelling at the walls again, but this time Lynde says he was making threats, and I heard him say I'm going to get them, I'm going to kill him. I'm going to get in who's, naming people I'm going to cut him up, I'm going to gut his stomach. I mean common out with really very very alarming stuff, and I said that's it in addition to being fills neighbour. Lynn is a licensed mental health counselor. So she called the treatment centre. Where was a patient Lynn, knew they would notify the police and it did press my mind that I was calling for somebody who was pretty out of the box and through people in the police will come of guns and
My awareness was, it feel, could end up dead that day. Was fully aware that that he was the type of person who could end up being shot by the police. I felt after our relative weighs two officers show up. It fills door body cameras rolling. They knock a few more times with no response. So they get the keen and openness he standing there with a knife in each hand back up one officer draws again tonight. The other educator draws a tease, dropping talk to us. After nearly two minutes of this filth finally speaks on a lawyer. Ok I'm a psychiatrist or don't you know about that, You stupid, son of a bitch down Phil, isn't a doctor or a lawyer. He thought about law school and even took the elsewhere.
After graduating from the university of her mind, but he ended up getting a masters in education. Instead, Phil taught at the community college level before his mental illness made holding a job possible and it was a stay at home dad, after that, its clear he's in the midst of a delusion feel steps forward to close the door and one of the officers fires attains a ban. In order for a teacher to work, a lot has to go right. The weapons fire appear of barbed darts attached to thin wires both starts need to strike their target in order for electricity to flow between them. If even one is nothing happens, thick or loose filling clothing. Can get in the way of making a complete circuit too little slamming door. That's what off to knock one of the darts off course, and it wouldn't be the last time the Burlington Police Department tried to use the shooting
that night I was down at the shooting range of among police Academy in Pittsburgh. When I got a call that we had a motion led to stir person barricaded in an apartment on College Street, Brandon Del pose a was just seven months into his job as Burlington chief of police. He was forty, one Deposit took the job after spending eighteen years at the New York Police Department, he commanded to precincts there and seen his share of police two precincts there and seen his share of police shootings. He could tell the situation with Phil have the potential to turn deadly, so he jumps in his police cruiser and drives sixty miles north to trade they felt life. I was happy to see when I got there that the scene was under control, that they'd wrote the door shut and they were taking their time and they were trying to get him to talk, so they can negotiate. This isn't one of those stories where the police, russian and the situation spiral out of control in a matter of seconds. Far from it, fill us alone in his apartment. The rope tie
around the door. Knob means it's impossible fulfilled into the hallway and provoke the cops into shooting in. He can't hurt anyone except possibly himself, the police have time on their side, so they wait. They knock on the door, Smike, I haven't got any worse You know notice the earth been you that been evicted. We have reached I can help you. I can't help you let you document they call is for MIKE Democratic. So we can talk about what's going on, I feel never answers never says word, they dont know if he's still alive in there says a word. They dont know, if he's still alive in their chief del, pose a wants to see what going on inside the apartment, but he doesn't want is, search to go in blind eye ass. If we had a drill, the police department unknown a drill
I went home and got a drill I got a drywall saw. I got the right bits and we cut a few holes in his apartment wall to put a cat and to see what we could see? Secondly, and what results four. We just saw empty rooms, so almost four hours after two positive signs, its apartment of always thirty deposit assigns it's time to go into the out the Phil standing in the night hiding behind the curtain. He still has the a he still says nothing. He just stands called pepperbox to try to smoke fill out of the to try to smoke fill out of the throws it officers work on apartment. It just throws the officers in the apartment into fits of coffee able to the paper about yeah. It's time to make a new plan. My sergeant says: listen, we can plan,
I sergeant says, listen, we can definitely get up on and we have enough staffing here. We have enough equipment if we could Starting with the tears your we should be able to get in there and had taken into custody up a drop of gas deposits is so confident in the plan. He authorizes his deputy chief Jan right to hold a press conference on the street. This housing development right here is made up of a bunch of different people. Meanwhile, up in the apartment, the cops line up at the bathroom door I officer. Derwent element stands at the front of the line
in one hand he holds a shield in the other. He later tells investigators is a taste, so my taser out at the ready off safe, sorted tree, push the push. Push the curtain open again feel says nothing. He stands there clutching is knives and turns his body toward the officers. At this point, chief deposits says everything is still under control. The planned stops working the moment, pardon taser. I fired the first cartridge. I think you got a lot. I saw him seize up and shaken a little bit, but he didn't drop the night and sure which handicaps the whole time equal, the fuckin barbs But he reached out equal, the fuckin barbs himself soon as Phil remove one of the barbed darts. He breaks. The circuit and electricity stops flowing through his body axon executives and portrayed up
darts, as unlikely here see a wreck Psmith on cable tv in two thousand to gigantic a computer network, a magic putting that spike electricity into it. I can set everything haywire. We do the same thing inside the human body, so the brain can't tell the arms legs and muscles what to do we can't move, you can't attack anyone. What is a stubborn perpetrated from breakin those wires? Fifty thousand votes go there about Rick Smith's brother and Cofounder Tom Psmith said something some when Amy sees bill. We're asked him about it, and twenty eleven have you ever seen. As has subject able to yanked these out now they can controller. Your visit motives looking control motor function right, but sounds more recent training materials seemed to contradict the Smith brothers. Past claims a twenty. Sixteen our point presentation created by the company notes. People can retain control of their arms and legs
even while receiving a taser shock chief proposal, so that was clearly the case with filled random, the tailors hurt him enough to make him really angry into aggravate his episode and yet did not hurt him enough to incapacitate him. What happens next unfolds in less than ten seconds it takes officer element longer than that just to describe it to investigators. He merely steps out at the top of his answer, I remember I said back up. I know someone said get back back back, please move. In fact we did not expect in moving fast out on the street. The deputy chief is still talking to reporters in mid sentence. Gunshots rang out
cameras pan up to the open window. On the second floor, they can't see it but feel, is on the floor dying bullet holes in his chest by drawing an admin. He also has six smaller marks and his body and tasters leave behind chief to says another one of his officers fired one just a moment before the gunshots. At the time we were done with this encounter. Unfortunately, the room was just a crisscross massive taser wires. This story is like hundreds of others all over the country, we send up shooting someone after their teachers prove ineffective. Epa reports found more than two hundred feet
DE cases that follow this same plot lie over just a three year period to users failed to resolve the situation, and then police resorted to firearms, and in more than a hundred of those cases, people became more aggressive after an officer fire taser at them. Had the teachers been effective, many of those people might still be alive, in some cases, its obvious. Why that it didn't work, because one or both of the electrified darts miss their target, but with many of the shootings it's much merk here the darts hit, they just don't do much, and the investigators don't spend much time trying to figure out why they tend to focus on the bullets that prove fatal, not the teachers, the proved ineffective. That was the case with filled Brennan's deaf to
it's a question that gnawed on fills niece Sarah Granite, it was eating me alive for awhile a little less than two months after Phil died, the Burlington Police Department released videos, from the cameras officers war on their uniforms, but it wasn't until the next year that Sarah could bring herself to look at them. I wash it on the anniversary of his death. Why did you decide? I don't even know the answer? Is I don't even know why I watched it. I guess just a maybe try to figure out why I went so wrong and that's when she saw how close Phil Wise when officer elements used his taser, they were face to face,
he's a woman was in the bathroom doorway fills in the shower. Sarah started researching gazers and she discovered it's not enough just for both darts the hit. It also matters how far away the target is. Taser dont have the same effect on the human body when their used at too close range. They still hurt, and sometimes that's enough, but they won't always knock you over. That's because the two taser darts spread apart as they fly, the farther apart, they hit the more effective they become, and I think that I have heard that the cases they were using at the time.
You have to be nine feet away. She's right and the problem is it's hard for officers to get that kind of distance and a small apartment, or even in a scuffle out on the street. The manufacture axon acknowledges teachers are typically used at close range, and when you look at databases from major police departments that track this stuff, you can see just how close in New York. Fort Worth Texas, for example, officers report. They usually fire their cases at distances of seven feet or, let's they only is the met longer ranges about a quarter of the time, in other words, most of the time cops don't use taser at the in just where they become reliably effective. So how far away was fill to find that out, I needed to get into his building. And look at one of the apartments yeah turning scalpel hiker normally think Cindy Syndicate
one has lived in this tiny one bedroom apartment for eighteen years, where it worth sit down to visit here. She was probably fills best friend, meat come down, sit notch airing, we talk and we had Thanksgiving too other every year and non, we only had stuffing dressing, because I shall we each like he was so crucial to solve thankful, for he was so dear. He he were just. I can't say enough about him. I could tell the fills death had really affected Cindy but I wasn't prepared for what she said. Next, it was so terrible I tried to commit suicide for days afterwards and they told me I was in the hospital for three weeks and I've never done that for since never
Do you remember making a decision to commit suicide? Absolutely I've road everything out from my cousin For some reason, the loss, fill and more, he went through before his death was so romantic for me. I I I couldn't bear up to you Had you ve been inside fells apartment before many jobs is laid out some to this or that choice The person who was in his apartment right now his name's Steve any just moved in near a few months ago. He would let you in a minute. Could you take me up there and nor should we go see ice
If we're clock is sixty six and lives with a little dog me, for he has no problem showing me his bathroom. He points to a mark on the shower tile. He thinks might have been caused by a bullet bears the interesting thing. Then he lets me take some measurements with my phone under the watchful eye of for the place is tiny. The whole apartment measures less than five hundred square feet. A bathroom is a bit shy of four feet by seven fit. So, according to this upon. My phone Phil might have been only three, maybe four feet away from the officer when you teased him and could not have been more than say six feet or so way. So I think that could have been a big factor. My the taser didn't work on Phil We asked
listen doctors, the initially agree, but then cancelled the interview. The company didn't respond to our questions about the connection between teachers and fatal shootings by police. They sent us statement saying research shows taser quote the most safe and effective. Leslie, full use of force tool available to law enforcement. After the break action, faces lawsuits from police officers. All she knew the invasion work. And didn't know wine and frankly, we didn't know why and then LO and behold, NEO Year was right in front of us. They didn't work. Designed to be underpowered. That's next on deal from the centre for investigating reporting and p r,
from the centre for investigating reporting in p or ex. This is revealed an outlet. The idea of zappia with an electrical weapon was once the stuff of science fiction. Since your phaser monk, loyally mine on stun stress just done. You will think I'm a wooden. Mid seventies. It became a reality debate over whether to make hand guns illegal under a new space, a weapon- that's done, but does not kill this night in seventy five ill news report includes the only recorded interview we could find featuring jack over he's a southern California scientists who invented the taser gum,
the average citizen said he got the name for the teaser, not from subjects phaser. From Tom Swift. I want you. Listen to me when I really are now is an experimental Romagna term. Swift was a fictional boy genius who invented all kinds of futuristic devices and the war. Taser is a loose acronym of the book. Tom Swift and his electric rifle today, single coming Exxon has a monopoly on producing pages in the? U S and most cops carry them, but the problem is taser is often don't work. The way police expect them to today
on reveal we're looking at why that happens with our colleagues at eight p M reports, corresponding Curtis Gilbert, finds out how axon corner the tale of market and what's happened. Since then, Rick Smith was in early, twentieth, fresh out of business school when he decided to go into the electrical weapons business. I, like a thank you for purchasing Erhead or the intelligent choice for self defense. I would also like to welcome you and my home video is set here because we are tasers made my home a safer place, and the purpose of this video is to help you make your home a safer place as well. It was one thousand nine hundred and ninety four. At the time another company called teaser Tron was still selling tasers based on Jack, covers original design. It own the patents and have the exclusive right to sell tasers to police departments in the US.
So air taser went after the consumer market. Why that's got I'm in the parking lot of club? Ninth, my girlfriend we just subdued attack You have just with the future of silk. Do things the dark age is but it turns out out everyday citizens, weren't that interested and arming themselves with electrical weapons, as Psmith explained at an event in Phoenix a few years ago by nineteen. Ninety eight things were looking grim. We had a pet two thirds of the company fire. You know most of the people who work there go under. You know, starvation mode, but a whole new market was about to open up for Psmith patents that were preventing him from selling his taser. To U S. Police were expiring
It could be a huge opportunity. There was just one problem: the early tailors were unreliable and not very effective. When Psmith demonstrated the air taser on volunteers, he would have them a fake knife and tell them to try to fight through the effects of the electricity. We want you to think again, and some of them were able to do it in order to compete, case or Trans Psmith needed to make a weapon that really worked his solution with simple he turned the power of Whale Psmith tripled the amount of electrical charge his tailors put out. This is the advanced age or on twenty six and it asked the attack the camera test cops loved. It sales exploded, Psmith, Reed
in the company taser international and a few years later he took it public. He boosted the power of the weapons again and bought up what was left of taser drawn from that point. On Smith had a monopoly, this company became a Wall Street darling Psmith talked about those days on a podcast com. Entrepreneurs on fire in two thousand, for we are the top performing stock in the world. It was amazing, run a success, then January two thousand five hundred We are here with a raft of lawsuits in a federal investigation into the safety of our devices. There was to be miserable, more choice
The company would surviving- and we got here like a hundred and fifty lawsuits in less than a year, most of the lawsuits alleged teachers weren't as safe as the company claimed that they could even be deadly. The company acknowledge that people had died after receiving Kayser shocks, but a pointed out. They often have dangerous levels of drugs in their systems or some other health problem. Psmith told CBS News: it wasn't the taser that killed them in every single case. These people would have died anyway Psmith company fought every suit and an almost always one, but he told ABC Nightline. The legal onslaught was getting expensive. Spend more on. Research and development are legal face there been years. One delegation by just want higher than our research, so the company soften its claims about the safety of its devices and Psmith, began to acknowledge that in rare cases they could harm the can you absolutely guarantee that your product would never ever
cardiac arrest and any person we can make that guarantee. The best I can tell you. Is these devices making dangerous situation safer, but Smith's company changed more than its safety claims. It stopped turning up the power. In fact, it went in the opposite direction. In two thousand nine, it released a new line of weapons that put out about half as much power. Finally, the lawsuits began to dry up at one point in twenty eleven, the company was simultaneously fighting, five of them. As of its most recent annual report. That number was down to just eight, but even its fewer suits were filed, claiming taser Shakspeare Deadly, a new kind of lawsuits started popping up ones that claimed the lower powered tasters. Put out enough juice to protect the police. There's one in New Orleans from the family of an officer who was shot and killed after his lower power. Taser was allegedly ineffective, and there's another one from Houston officer she's
as she was injured after her taser failed to subdue a woman who is fighting her anti victory. Is the officers lawyer? She NEWS or David and work didn't know. Wine and frankly, we didn't know why, until we got ended scullery in and then LO and behold, the o year was right in front of us. They didn't work as it was designed to be underpowered. The company disputes that it claims lower power doesn't necessarily mean lower effectiveness, and it says its laboratory testing proves the lower powered gazers work just as well but in the real world that doesn't seem to be the case, in LOS Angeles, when an officer pulled the trigger of a taser It only does the job a little more than half the time it used to be better than that is what we know. John MC man is a captain with the LAPD without dispute, the rate of ineffectiveness has gone up since roughly
about the same time of that transition to the new or model. However, but we don't know is how to interpret the large amounts of data, given the endless number variables that go into that. So a pm reports looked at the other variables the department tracks in its taser database, things like how that is, or was used, how many times. It was used and the rank of the officer using it. None of those factors explained away the drop in effectiveness. Still MC man says a teaser that works about half the time is better than no teeth It provides officers with yet another option that can avoid the use of deadly force and save a life we ideally as an organization like all or less legal tools, to have one hundred percent effectiveness, but we know that's unrealistic. We also look at TASER data from New York and Houston. Those cities saw this
The trend is allay. The department switched to the newer, less powerful teachers and officers found they weren't stopping people as reliably the older tasters. That was exactly what we warned about. We showed our data to Julie, Tron she's, an attorney with the bar Association of San Francisco. She wrote a report a couple years ago, questioning the effectiveness of the law are powered gazers. San Francisco is the only major city in North America, where the police department doesn't use tasters, but the city is now on the verge of changing that, after its leaders spent years studying whether the benefits of teachers outweigh the costs, I think that they should be asked to under that work again, particularly in light of your additional research, because that was the one question we kept ways you don't even know if the sun works, while we wait and see if it works and how well it works, and what's the answer to that now, whether or not it works yeah it doesnt work as often as it should act,
on has sold more than six hundred thousand of the lower powered models called the ex too and the Ex twenty six p, and it continues to sell them in October it released its first new taser in five years when it promises will be the most effective
I went to Fort worth taxes to see. Imagine a group of taser instructors runs practiced rules in the ballroom of a conference centre. There are retired Chicago caught me MIKE part of pillar works orders as they fire at life size targets bearing the image of a comic book villain the character is a computer hacker called iron rowers. He appears in the graphic novel Axon created as part of its marketing campaign for the brand new taser seven directive, you're weapons they dont those few cartridges accompany calls this Exxon Academy, boot camp, its part, training session part sales pitch, and there is also some time for questions. Anybody Carl Johnson is: are a teaser instructor from a small
Texas city called second asked the first one saying that Kayser surrender the oars and everything you talk about the plus to order some of the issues when it comes to their layman's terms with the powers he wants to know whether the teaser seven does anything to address what he says are the power issues with the previous generation of teachers. The models that put out less electricity Johnson doesn't mentioned this, but an officer from his department shot and killed a man a couple years earlier after a lower powered taser failed to subdue in resolving this wreck volume turn down the effectiveness of that arise from ad aware that the shore answer is the power level in each pulse hasn't changed, but the taser seven concentrates that power in shorter, more intense bursts and it puts out more those bursts. Every second axons weapons director chain page tells Johnson that'll make them more effective.
We're just making sure that the electricity that we are delivering is delivered more often in terms of pulses, so not more, but more often and more effectively. Axon has changed something else about the taser seven its range in the past. Its teachers were designed to take, someone from across a pretty big room, but to get those long ranges there was a trade off gazers didn't have a dramatic effect on people when they were fired up close the problem is up close is we're cops typically used gazers. So how do you make a taser that works better and closer quarters? Well, remember those little darts. Get fired from the teaser one of them fly street and the other one is angled slightly downward The darts have to spread at least a food upon before they hit to reliably
perhaps someone if the officer fires to close range, the darts don't have time to spread out one way to solve that is to adjust the angle, the darts leave. The weapon from this to this, so they sprang upon faster and that's exactly with the new teaser does axon says it will reliably take down people as close as four feet away, compared to seven or even nine feet for its earlier miles. But it turns out this new idea wasn't so new. After all, is it through that door? It is true that it is action balls. The Balkan Museum in Minneapolis Paintings a huge collection of artifacts
all somehow related to both electricity and the human body, the vault is where curator aid in Fisher keeps all the items that won't fit in the display cases. So I have a lot of electrostatic generators. We have Leyden jars in here if early kind of power game devices, little static, merry go round carousel in things like dad and m. This is the hazy. It's not just any taser. It's a t, F one, the very first taser ever produced we acquired actually in nineteen. Seventy five we bought it just like any customer, would Fisher where's white gloves as he carefully removed it from the box. The t, if one is made of drab gray plastic, its part firearm, part flashlight. The latest supposed to help with aiming and below that are the square holes, were the darts come out. Can I take a look at that? Yes, there was a touch that yeah,
in the back. So it's ok to be touched. Otherwise we use gloves it turns out that the tariff one fired it starts at the same angle as axons new taser, seven and teacher with that design were still in production up until two thousand three? They were made by TASER Tran writer until Exxon bought up it's only competitor and stop producing its weapons over the years from time to time an aspiring competitor would pop up and try to compete with the teaser. Axons response was always the same. It suits them and they went out of business taxes. Trial lawyer, Andy victory says that stifle innovation They a monopoly position in the market that comes with it a lot of power to control what features, offering down, which is applied
go matter, means that meaningless, on these and law enforcement agencies and uneven them Military, don't have a lot of alternatives and, in the meantime, the company has been expanding into other law enforcement business lines cameras, cloud computing virtual reality, even artificial intelligence, that's where most of axons research and development spending has gone in recent years, not teachers We as the Exxon about the data showing its lower power tailors were less effective in Houston, allay in New York. The company didn't directly addressed those trends in his response
but it said the methodology, most. U S. Police departments used to track how well tasters work leads to inaccurate conclusions. After the break we go back to her mouth and here from the officer fired gun after taser didn't bring down a man barricaded in his apartment, certainly walking the sky being teased in working towards a swinging. A knife at us shortly, that's in a minute on reveal the centre for investigate, reporting and p r exe from the outset afford investigative aborting MP are ex. This is reveal a mallet. It happens all over them from a driveway in Washington state to wooded to my right, the boy taser. Basically,
ever came again was basically ism off in any he started you started, spread and sullen legacy. When I started shooting, till wooded area in northern California lay on your stomach. He hates me a he said times. I'm didn't, deter, slow him down and fight at all. For anything, I felt like it rounded up at Dorothy hits me a more times. I'm gonna go out I'm just really thought of my kids. It up my weapon out these toys follow us.
Two hundred and fifty cases like that, all over the country and just a three year period, we started to show where one of those shoes had burnt in Vermont. Apl reports correspond They stand american public media from more than two hundred and fifty cases like that. All over the country in just a three year period, we started to show where one of those students have burnt in Vermont. Opium reports correspond accords. Gilbert takes us back there now sitting, looks alternatives to the taste loud with much state police today state, third two thousand. Sixteen present with me is harsher. David see is a Bowers Bower Bowers powers. Obviously they were involved. The investigation involving application incident happened. The other night officer Bowers, was just twenty three when he killed Phil Granite he'd been with the Burlington Police Department less than two
Here's the shooting happened and fills apartment at the end of a tense for our stand off filling come at the officers swinging knives after a taser failed to subdue him bowers estimated he was only four or five feet away when he pulled the trigger. He was terrified both for his own life and for the other, perhaps in the room, he opened fire, he told investigators because he knew no. One else was in the position to do it in time, as Phil lay dying on the floor. A chemical irritant, called pepper ball, also known as o c still hung in the air Bowers watched, as his fellow officers turned over fills body to give him for At that time I saw what I believe to be one of my shots. Butchers ease off her chest area. I also cannot breathe I don't know, there's o c in the corner of the room. More ambitious worked up
saying out loud. I can't breathe, bowers walked out of the apartment, carry he wasn't physically hurt. But the police chief sent him to the hospital just to be safe. You are like the main, your session physicians assistance. They had the Deva Catholic me off we really lacking is called out it use like do. You know anything about the shooter that I hold him, I'm the sugar and he's shock dollar. Seventy thought it was some kind of shooting that occurred. Other officers by the check on him. One of them gave him a hard. He wanted to talk to his parents about what happened or had he figured. He wasn't supposed to. What would the investigation going on only people, he felt he could confine were, or his lawyer and his union rap. The next night now restored investigators. He barely slept in the morning he reached out to his
girlfriend had sent her attached to say It is very clear to me how he has since Edward. And I really bodily embarrassed hold investigators. There was something else that bothered him. He couldn't be leave. It had been so easy for fill to overcome. The effects of the teaser I participate in tears are trains are always ago. I washed people with taste and immediately after being, however, the pros then followed and that they would scream and pain and little movement was available to them. So suddenly walking the sky being teased in water.
Towards a swaying, unites us sharp me. You didn't take long for the local prosecutor to conclude, Bowers was justified in shooting fell. Even fills. Daughter agreed with that, but at the press conference announcing that decision, Burlington Police Chief Brandon Del Popolo, said this about how the stand off with Phil ended. He's the man we're trying to serve that night by subduing and getting him back on the medicine he needs, and we consider our efforts of failure. In this case, we did not come to the conclusion that we strove for using it Press conference, which was that we failed, and I was wondering what you meant by that. So I some officers that really took exception to me saying that we failed because they took it. Personally, It doesn't mean it could have been avoided, it doesn't mean it could have turned out differently. It doesn't mean my cops reliable because they're not indefinitely
Does it mean that they did anything wrong because they didn't they acted heroically up until the last minute, but to the extent Our job is to rescue a person in crisis and bring him to help. We did not in doing that, and so in the end, from after the shooting, chieftain post has tried to learn from it, and especially from what happened with a taste. I learned a lot about taser since the full grown and incidents, some of which surprised me. One of the things I did learn was that they had stepped down the power on the model that we were using for reasons of been opened. Hazard and liability also there was, for a time advice few people in the back with a taser which is another. I think things the cops find intuitively strange because
You have to have really extenuating circumstances to use force on someone that could be so serious from behind axons research shows that teachers are most effective when applied to the back, because there's more muscle there and oppose, though also learned that teachers are less effective than he'd assumed. He says part of the problem. Is there, unlike any other tool, an officer carries you think about the baton. It is just a remarkably simple piece of equipment. If you think about the human hand, this complex and fragile, but the cop has excellent control over it and pretty much knows what it can do. The gun is a very old, reliable piece of equipment with a known outcome, We're spray is literally hot peppers that go in your eyes and irritate your mucous membrane. The taser is this complex, A piece of machinery with electricity in its successes, engine done a lot of different factors of human vision.
Oh in luck, it's the most complicated thing a cop has on his or her belt, so the Burlington Police Department went looking for some simpler solutions the departments spent a quarter million dollars to buy an outfit this truck, they call it the emergency response, vehicle officer, Gregg Short, says it carries everything. The cops here could possibly need in case of a mental health call or hostage to negotiate or any other crisis we have robots on. Here we have night vision. Goggles we have thermal imaging. We have breaching rules in here like what you'd see? Maybe the fireman has mean. This is basically a rolling swiss army knife a kinder, but
This is not your typical, like swat vehicle. If you will hear, I'm not can open up a power to negotiate on this a larger and that's not that's not what this truck was meant for at all. This truck has tools to help us control a situation, possibly hostile situation and hopefully deal with. Situation, take taking a situation in a non lethal way. Officer short jumps up on the back of the truck unlocks a panel and pulled out and eat foot met with a semicircle on about the size of a man's chest It's called a wide, usually one or two after should be underlined here, and you look, depend someone with the the arms. In the end you they're up against a wall. On the ground being able to take him out of the legs. You know being able to captain Wegg S, control them from a distance justice. If we for yourself and for them truly apprehend them, it's pretty low tech. The truck also carries a couple of old fashioned fire.
Stinguished, is filled with nothing more than pressurized water. Chiefly proposal says that's. The sort of thing that could against someone with a knife, someone like Phil. She spray that if someone space they cannot evade, towards you, they have to look away or put their hands in front of their eyes. That metal bar shaped like a. Why can be the difference between having to shoot someone or not? There are no taser on the emergency response vehicle, but Burlington police officers still carry them on their belts. They'll pose a wants his officers to have as many options as possible, but the filled running Nothing has changed the way he thinks about tracers. Knowing what I know now, if all things are being equal, woman is a man with a knife in a bathroom down the street from this police headquarters, we would not make the same plan. We would not say the best. Waiter, and this after hours and hours is to say in a team that will rely on a taser if you're use
Terrorism is part of a planned operation like a barricaded person, a person in crisis. If you use To conclude a stable situation, you better have a back up plan cause, there's a good chance. It's not gonna working. You need to do something else. Exxon says it's trying to improve its dangers. In October of last year, the release the taser seven, the Kurdish talked about the company says the weapon were better in close quarters, but the change comes too late. Fulfil grinnin enough, Sir David Bowers and the weapons that don't work is well at close range, the ones that police departments are finding to be less affair. If they're still for sale, leisure, Exxon, ship more than a hundred and thirty thousand other, thanks to Curtis Gilbert, who reported in producing show. It was edited by Catherine Winter that help
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Transcript generated on 2019-12-19.