Taser International, the company behind the new delightful trend in law enforcement where using verbal communication is deemed too time-consuming and replaced with a extremely painful jolt from their patented electro-weapons, was just dealt a stinging blow in court. After winning 45 wrongful death or injury lawsuits, it just lost a $6 million wrongful death suit, paving the way for plenty more liability in the future.
The suit, filed by the family of 40-year-old Robert Heston Jr. Heston was killed when the police tased him, the autopsy finding that he “died from a combination of methamphetamine intoxication, an enlarged heart due to long-term drug abuse, and Taser shocks.” The jury found that Heston was 85% at fault, making Taser 15% responsible for his death.
While Taser spun this as a good thing (we only 15% killed him! Huzzah!), their 12% drop in stock price tells more truth. If Taser is suddenly liable for the damage done to people when taze-happy cops use their weapons, they’ll quickly go out of business. Because while for most people a taze is just a seriously unpleasant experience, it’s obvious that it has the potential to be far more dangerous for people with heart conditions. [Danger Room]