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Taser news: Evolution of a brand name?

Speaking of tasers, more people are speaking of tasers these days.

Virginia Lawyers Weekly reports three taser-related cases in next week’s issue, which doubles the number of “taser” cases reported in prior years since 1993.

A Richmond federal district judge said in Keller v. Town of Colonial Beach (VLW 007-3-410)that a man who alleged injury from a police officer’s use of a Taser X26 to subdue the apparently deranged man after he emerged from the Potomac River could sue the officer, but not the police chief or the town.

And in Crihfield v. City of Danville Police Dep’t, a Danville federal court refused to dismiss an excessive force case filed by two men against two city police officers who allegedly hit them multiple times with a taser gun after arresting them at a convenience store for possible intoxication.

In another case from Danville Circuit Court, the Virginia Court of Appeals upheld a cocaine conviction in a case in which the defendant said the officer had illegally seized the defendant by brandishing a taser gun as the defendant walked away from a “known drug house” after spotting the cop.

Increased use of tasers by police actually has been credited with leading to lower rates of injury and death among suspects, but their use is controversial.

Maybe the increased use of “taser” is the result of an inevitable evolution in branding, a switch from the generic “stun gun” to “taser” as a lower-case verb form, like “xerox.”

After Andrew Meyer yelled, “Don’t tase me, bro” before he was “escorted” from a University of Florida lecture hall for haranguing Senator John Kerry, Wired reported that the phrase “hovered between 9th and 11th place as the most searched for term on Google two days later.”

On another note in taser-related news, a study released Oct. 8 by the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, which included data from Inova Fairfax Hospital, concluded that in nearly 1,000 cases of taser use, 99.7 per cent of the subjects had either no injuries or mild injuries such as scrapes and bruises.

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