HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Many questions are surrounding the death of Pamela Turner, the 44-year-old Baytown woman who was killed Monday night by a police officer. One of those questions is why the Taser was ineffective on her.
FOX 26 did some research into the model of the Taser, which is widely used by law enforcement across the country, and came up with some shocking numbers.
Pamela Turner’s death has one thing in common with over 250 deaths that have occurred in the last three years, an officer using lethal force since the Taser was ineffective. A yearlong study conducted by American Public Media came out last week, days before Turner’s murder, with some shocking data about Tasers.
“You know everyone wants Tasers, the public wants them, police want them, and they are seen as a valuable tool for helping to reduce officer involved shootings, but what we found is that Tasers are becoming increasingly less effective and we can see that that’s leading to officer involved shootings.” says Angela Caputo, one of the reporters who worked on the study.
Findings from American Public Media's study show that the latest model of Tasers being used by law enforcement, the X26P, is half as strong as the previous model, the X26, and resulting in incidents where the Taser is ineffective. Authorities are still investigating the death of Pamela Turner, but what they did tell us was that the Taser used by Officer Juan Delacruz, was ineffective, and that Turner was able to grab his Taser, and use it on Delacruz. A move that lead him to draw his gun, and fire multiple rounds.
Preventing deaths like this is something APM's research may help to accomplish. Their research found that from 2015-2017, 258 law enforcement confrontations ended with someone who was shot and killed, all because the Taser had failed.
"It’s a really big number and, you know, Tasers are supposed to be a way of avoiding lethal force, and we see that that’s not happening a lot of people are actually being killed in circumstances where a Taser was tried first," says Caputo.
We are of course waiting for the investigation to be complete, to see how the Taser was used on Pamela Turner, and why it was ineffective, but had it worked properly, she would probably still be with us.