Tasers became a popular weapon for law enforcement in 2009. They were intended to be non-lethal, saving lives of both suspects and police. Studies show that almost one person has died every week from Taser use since 2009.
There have been 190 Taser-related deaths in the United States since 2009, according to a blog called ‘Electronic Village.’ Amnesty International reports that there were 341 deaths between 2001, and 2008, totaling 541 deaths in 12 years.
90 percent of those killed by Taser use were unarmed.
Wednesday an 18-year-old man was stunned in Miami Beach. Officer Jorge Mercado fired his stun-gun at Israel Hernandez-Llach, who officers were pursuing for ‘tagging’ an abandoned McDonald’s restaurant.
The Miami Herald wrote that “witnesses reported that Miami Beach police officers, who had been chasing him for about 10 minutes, celebrated trapping and Tasering him by slapping each other with high-fives as the teenager lay dying in the street” from the electric shock of the stun gun.
Members of the art community condemned the police. Hernandez-Liach was an award winning artist. His work had been recognized by Democratic Representative Debbie Wasserman Shultz.
Officer Mercado has been placed on administrative leave while the incident continues to be investigated.