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Police Crime and Less-Than-Lethal Coercive Force: A Description of the Criminal Misuse of TASERs

NCJ Number
International Journal of Police Science & Management Volume: 14 Issue: 1 Dated: Spring 2012 Pages: 1-19
Philip Matthew Stinson Sr.; Bradford W. Reyns; John Liederbach
Date Published
19 pages
This article presents the results of a content analysis of newspaper articles discussing the criminal misuse of TASERs by police officers.
This study explores and describes the nature and character of cases involving the criminal misuse of TASERs by police officers through a content analysis of newspaper articles. The news-based content analysis identified 24 police officers who were arrested for crimes involving inappropriate use of TASERs over a 65-month period from January 2005 to May 2010. Data on these cases are presented in terms of: (a) the arrested officer, (b) victim characteristics, and (c) the situational context of these events. The news-based content analyses were used to identify and describe some factors that were common among these events, especially with regard to the actions and motivations of the arrested officers and how the situational context appeared to influence the criminal misconduct of officers. The findings indicate that the cases examined did not involve much, if any, situational risk to the officer. The criminal misuse of TASERs seems more likely to involve suspects who are already handcuffed, or even citizens who are clearly not criminals at all. (Published Abstract)