UK’s Black Lives Matter Says Tasers Are ‘Cruel’

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter
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Black Lives Matter UK recently came out to denounce the use of tasers following the death of a black ex-soccer player.

In a statement, Black Lives Matter UK declared tasers to be a “cruel and degrading form of punishment,”reports ITV. They also declared their support for ex-soccer player Dalian Atkinson’s family.

“The increased use of Tasers by police forces in England and Wales has been commonly presented as a non-lethal alternative to the use of firearms. However, as the tragic death of Dalian Atkinson and at least 10 other such cases in England and Wales over the last decade show, all too often Taser use is fatal. Even when Taser use is not fatal, the delivery of a 50,000-volt shock for the purposes of incapacitation is a cruel and degrading form of punishment,” the statement read.

Police used a taser on Atkinson after he allegedly tried to strangle his father, reports the Daily Mail. Police were called to the scene “amid concerns for the safety of an individual.”

Atkinson’s brother, Kenroy Atkinson, said that Atkinson was in a “manic state” at the time.

“He was in a manic state and depressed — out of his mind and ranting. He had a tube in his shoulder for the dialysis and he had ripped it out and was covered in blood,” Kenroy told The Sun.

Police tased Atkinson four to five times, even when he was on the ground. Relatives said that Atkinson had a weak heart; witnesses say that police waited 20 minutes before calling an ambulance.

In the ambulance, Atkinson went into cardiac arrest and was declared dead at the hospital 90 minutes later.

“We stand in solidarity with Dalian’s family and friends as they grapple with their loss and offer our unconditional support in their pursuit of justice,” Black Lives Matter UK said in their statement.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said that they will investigate the circumstances of Atkinson’s death.

Data shows that electronic control devices, such as tasers, give police officers the chance to control a resisting suspect without causing serious harm. A study conducted by Dr. William Bozeman, a professor at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, and some of his fellow colleagues showed that 99.75 percent of the time, people who were tased sustained little to no injuries.

A small percentage of tasing cases, approximately 1 out of 2.5 million, may effect the heart.

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