Are Taser Employees Trolling an Anti-Taser Documentary?

Killing Them Safely directors reveal questionable negative reviews.


The documentary film Killing Them Safely, which delves into Taser International's claim that their products are non-lethal, has garnered generally wide praise and positive reviews, with a few exceptions. However, as Forbes reported, the filmmakers recently uncovered some questionable authors behind some of the film's harshest critics

Scores of one-star reviews for the movie hit iTunes this week, though none of the amateur reviewers said they worked for the company. Some, however, decided to use their real names and it's apparent they work for Taser, according to Berardini and producer Jamie Concalves, who put out a number of tweets as proof.

…Steve Tuttle, the one founding member of Taser who went on the record for Berardini's flick, didn't seem bothered by the actions of employees, though he wouldn't say whether he knew who was leaving the reviews. "I can't control our employees in what they do in their off hours any more than I can tell a police officer when to use a Taser…. Does anyone in their right mind think that anybody that works at Taser would like this documentary?

Reason TV's Paul Detrick took a look at the lethally of Taser's product back in January or 2012. You can watch the video and read the original writeup below.

On May 10, 2011, 43-year old Allen Kephart died after having a Taser applied to him multiple times by three San Bernardino, California, sheriff's deputies during a routine traffic stop in Lake Arrowhead.

"I feel that my son was murdered, I feel that something has to be done about law enforcement," says Alfred Kephart, who filed a wrongful death lawsuit in San Bernardino Superior Court, August 30, 2011.

High profile police related deaths like Allen Kepharts' are pushing activists, families and courts to question whether Tasers or officers are to blame, but the answer to that question is a tricky one.

Numerous studies and reviews from the National Institute of Justice, Amnesty International and the Police Executive Research Forum have come to different conclusions on Tasers and how officers use them. A study in the American Heart Journal even revealed that studies funded by Taser International were "substantially more likely to conclude Tasers are safe."

Former federal prosecutor Laurie Levenson says that when it comes to Tasers, safety depends on the circumstances in the case.

"We can remember back to the Rodney King case and in fact they did try to use a Taser there and it didn't work, where we had police using so much force, it was almost lethal," says Levenson. She points out that often questions of force from officers using Tasers come up after minor traffic violations.

According to Peter Bibring , staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, that is because when police are led to believe Tasers can't cause harm, they "are more likely to use them in circumstances where they would never consider using more serious force, like a gun."

Those types of circumstances led the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in October 2011, to look at more incidents involving Tasers and policing, one being the Tasing of a woman eight months into her pregnancy. The court found that when police use a stun gun it may be a violation of Constitutional law.

In the year 2000, around 5,000 law enforcement, correctional and military agencies were using Tasers, by 2011, that number climbed to 16,000.

About 6:33 minutes.

Written and produced by Paul Detrick. Associate producer is Tracy Oppenheimer.

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  1. I continue to be skeptical of the anti taser movement. It puts the blame for an ongoing problem on an inanimate object, not its use. It also has a tired anti-corporate angle to it.

    If you put a wooden stick in the hands of people who are drawn to a line of work because they can kill people with impunity while standing in front of video cameras, you’re going to see wooden stick abuse.

    1. Yeah, it’s a tool like anything else. You probably shouldn’t be zapping people unless absolutely necessary. Still, I’d rather get tazed than shot or beat to death. But hey, that’s just me.

    2. I see two legitimate components to the anti-taser crowd.

      1. Taser Inc wrongly touts it as completely safe and non-lethal, for various definitions of “completely”, “safe”, and “non-lethal”; for instance, it might not be immediately obvious how dangerous it is to taser some clown who has just drenched himself in gasoline.

      2. Cops love themselves some nonlethal way to punish disrespect and use it way too often, such as tasering some poor sod 10 times and treating his natural twitching responses as reasons to (a) laugh and/or (b) repeat the tasering and/or (c) kick and beat the non-responsive sucker.

      It’s like when the tobacco executives swore under oath before Congress that they knew of no scientific research showing tobacco could cause cancer. I figure tobacco has been known to cause a nasty cough and other ills since it was first introduced to Europeans, and have little sympathy for lung cancer victims who claim tobacco companies duped them. But I also have little sympathy for blatant lies under oath, or ads claiming health benefits, and figure they deserve whatever karma came their way.

      So it is with Taser Inc. If they were honest about its dangers, and if they tried real hard to make cops understand its limitations (such as don’t taser someone ten times), and if cops didn’t have such ridiculous immunity and privileges, then I would have more sympathy for Taser Inc and cops who taser people.

      1. I think the onerous is on the government to understand the lethality of the weapons they are using. To your point the big issue is the “Respecr my authoritah” mindset that makes them introdyce firce so quickly to a non-aggressive situation as in the one with the pregnent mom.

        1. Introduce force. POS phone.

          1. Blame the phone for “onerous”, too, 😉

          2. Hey! The phone is just a tool.

            1. You’re a tool!

              Or towel. I don’t remember.

      2. for instance, it might not be immediately obvious how dangerous it is to taser some clown who has just drenched himself in gasoline.

        Mythbusters did a segment where a taser ignited pepper spray.

  2. Pig rapist victims speak out


  3. OT (It’s the weekend): At least the Yugo was cheap

    An extremely embarrassing story broke the other day that two-thirds of Tesla drivetrains ? their electric motors, specifically ? are destined to require replacement before the cars reach 60,000 miles. This according to an independently commissioned Weibull Reliability Engineering Resources analysis of actual Tesla failure rates and customer reported problems to date (see here).

    Eric Peters links to the data behind the report, more information on the report (methodology used, caveats, and Tesa’s unresponsive response to the tester’s questions) here.

    1. Consumer reports last year on Tesla


        1. Kind of scary that a car with that many issues is best overall. Or was that just green politics in action.

          1. Or was that just green politics in action.


          2. I figure it was green politics mostly.

            Consumer reports has a lot of good stuff — comparisons of detergents, deck stains, appliances, etc; and the reliability data on cars from all their subscribers is better than any industry data just for being directly from car owners, no matter how biased as a self-selected group. But they do nonsense like review chocolate and peanut butter, which have no objective measurements, and their car reports also throw in a lot of subjective impressions.

            I figure they were overwhelmed by the electric motive aspect of Tesla, combined with the luxury aspects, and they let their green emotions get carried away.

  4. Welcome to the realpolitik of a mixed economy enthralled by and fascinated with the initiation of force, Reason staffers. Staff is going to have one heckuva time pinning this disinformation pushback on Trump Perot, but I do not doubt a valiant effort will be made.

    1. Agile Cyborg you ain’t.

      1. Needs moar space sex

    2. Way to stick it to the MAN, Hank! You tell ’em!

  5. Either the slight, remote chance of getting killed by a Taser, or the highly likely chance of getting killed by bullets. Tase me bro.

    (Although I do see the argument that cops will use the taser in situation where they should not be using any level of force).

    1. Well if they didn’t have the taser, they would be using guns or clubs in those same situations. Not to say more instruction on the danger of its use aren’t needed.

    2. The problem is the line of work increasingly attracts psychopaths. Is no surprise they have found use for a non-lethal device as aneeded instrument of torture.

      1. As an instrument. Sometimes auto correct goes wild.

    3. Does police use of a Taser require lots of extra paperwork like a gun-shooting does?

      Just wondering if there were any real negatives for a cop to use the Taser.

      1. The officer is required to count the number of volts used. This is difficult and requires significant overtime. And lies.

  6. Serious question, to which I doubt there is a good answer because our masters have made a point of not tracking the data:

    Have police shootings gone down since they started carrying tasers?

    If not, then the tasers are not doing what they were supposed to do, and have become an additional way of enforcing compliance/torturing non-cooperative subjects.

  7. 43-year old Allen Kephart died after having a Taser applied to him multiple times by three San Bernardino, California, sheriff’s deputies during a routine traffic stop in Lake Arrowhead.

    See? That nice couple on Damn Bernardino weren’t terrorists on jihad, they were protesting civil rights abuses by LEOs in San Bernardino.


  8. It’s well known that being tased has beneficial therapeutic effects. Like clearing your bowels and bladder. It also restores your memory during interrogation.

  9. That makes a lot of sense dud.e


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