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North Carolina jury condemns Taser with punitive verdict

It turned out that possession of marijuana charges, among other criminal charges, weren't the thing a 17-year-old boy from North Carolina should have been worried about when the police came for him.

As Kristen Askin reports for Fox News, the police shocked the 17-year-old with Tasers at a grocery store after he allegedly committed certain crimes ranging from assault to resisting arrest.

As a result, the boy died.

Harvard pathologist Dr. James Stone testified that the boy had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a medical condition that can cause cardiac arrest in young adults, as Askin reports.

But there is also evidence that the potential risk of cardiac arrest does not increase when Tasers are involved. (Askin's report does not indicate whether that risk increases in those who have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.)

Taser International President Doug Klint said his company plans to appeal the jury verdict, a verdict that awarded nearly $10 million in compensation to the boy's estate, on account of "exclusion of key evidence."

As Askin writes, this key evidence might be the fact that the boy had marijuana, which was not communicated to the jury, as well as the fact that the boy had not been tested for marijuana in his autopsy.

What's implied here is that marijuana could increase the risk of death from Tasers, which, in our opinion, isn't likely.

Source: Fox News, "Taser Zapped With $10M Verdict in Death of 17-Year Old," by Kristen Askin, 07/21/11

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