74-year-old Roger Charlet recently died in a hospital just a week after police used a taser on him during a traffic stop. On January 4th, Charlet was pulled over by police on Interstate 10 and was accused of being drunk. He was quickly ripped from his car and tased without being given any chance to comply and leave willingly. Police claim that he was “resisting arrest,” however, the video clearly shows that he was not a threat and had no chance of getting away.
Peter Simonson, Executive Director for the ACLU of New Mexico told KRQE that the video clearly shows the officer was in the wrong.
“From all accounts, it looks like an excessive use of force to me. It looks like they didn’t give him much time to comply before they fired the electronic control device,” Simonson said
“At the end of the day, maybe this complies with their policy, maybe this complies with federal law around the use of lethal force, but did it have to go this way?” he added.
Charlet was immediately taken to the hospital after the attack, where he died eight days later, and his family believes that he died as a result of heart complications caused by the taser.
Simonson agrees, and pointed to a report by the ACLU of Northern California that said, “According to Dr. Zian Tseng, cardiologist at the University of California at San Francisco, if the Taser sends its energy to the heart at the wrong time, the electricity may cause ventricular fibrillation, a state in which the heart muscles spasm uncontrollably, disrupting the hearts pumping function and causing death.”
Dr. Kathy Glatter of the University of California Davis Medical School said, “If I hit the heart or create electricity in the wrong time of the (beat) cycle, it could send the whole heart into an electrical tailspin.’”
The New Mexico State Police have been silent about the incident and have not even opened up an internal investigation yet.
According to Amnesty International, between 2001 and 2008, 351 people in the United States died from being shocked by police tasers. Electronic Villiage has documented another 283 taser-related deaths in the United States from 2009-2014. That means there have been at least 634 documented taser-related deaths in America since 2001.
There are 50,000 volts of electricity that shoot out of a police-issued Taser and into their target. The American Heart Association has been vocal about the fact that tasers can cause cardiac arrest and death.