The Taser: Almost Never a Lethal Weapon

Examples of stun-gun use

April 1: Two off-duty Phoenix officers at Metrocenter saw a group of youngsters trying to return to the mall at about 9 p.m. after earlier being escorted off the property. Officer Mike Annoual ordered them to leave, which displeased 16-year-old Tambren Ross. Ross removed a backpack from his shoulders, threw it to the ground, balled up his fists, and stepped toward Annoual. The officer grabbed his pepper-spray canister from his belt and sprayed the juvenile once in the face. Ross took two steps back, as upwards of 20 kids started to form a circle around the cops. Annoual told Ross to get to the ground, which the boy ignored. Officer Morrison then yelled out one word — "Taser!" — and fired his stun gun from about eight feet away. One five-second cycle was enough, as Ross fell to the ground on his stomach and surrendered. Later, the juvenile said he'd been upset with another officer who allegedly had been rude to a cousin of his. The case against Ross was handled in Juvenile Court.

April 7: Despite 51 points from Kobe Bryant, the Phoenix Suns had just beaten the Los Angeles Lakers at the U.S. Airways Center. Officer Thomas Garrett noticed a drunken man in his seat near the railing on the upper concourse. Raul Delgado, all 5 feet, 3 inches and 222 pounds of him, had a tray of nachos, chicken strips and a large beer in front of him, and he just didn't want to leave. The cop said it was time to go, but the 29-year-old wouldn't budge. Garrett reached for him, but Delgado pulled away, threw his food and drink in the air and backed up against a metal railing, four stories above the court. Delgado wouldn't let himself be handcuffed, even after Garrett threatened to drive-stun him with the Taser. The officer then did just that, first in the left rib and then several other times. According to Garrett's report, Delgado emitted a "growl like the Incredible Hulk" every time he was stunned, and said it didn't hurt. He finally allowed himself to be cuffed. Afterward, Delgado told the police "he was going to call [Phoenix police] lab guys and tell them they needed to raise the volts on that thing."

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