Metro Defends Use of Tasers - 8 News NOW

Metro Defends Use of Tasers

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LAS VEGAS - In a 24-hour city like Las Vegas, any cop can face danger on duty. Some suspects suddenly cause trouble and go into a fit of rage in a condition called "excited delirium".

Officer Marcus Martin is Metro's certified instructor on excited delirium.

"Superhuman strength, impervious to pain, bizarre, incoherent speech – so, they are not even necessarily cognizant of our commands," Officer Martin said. "Admittedly, it's a controversial term."

A camera on a Taser shows what could be an example of excited delirium. An unruly suspect exposed himself in his car and to children in a Wal-Mart parking lot in the northeast part of the valley and then ran.

Police subdued the man with a Taser. The suspect collapsed after jolts of electricity ran through his body.

"I know many young, strong officers who've been humbled in this sort of encounter, where a squad of officers has been thrown off like rag dolls," Officer Martin said.

An Elvis impersonator also learned a shocking lesson near Vegas Drive and Rancho Drive. He felt the painful touch of a Taser after threatening police.

"Without that, we're dog-piling this person. It's a prolonged, drawn-out altercation," Martin said.

Taser usage in Las Vegas has decreased from 573 cases in 2004. The popular stun guns are touted as an alternative to deadly force, and they will continue to be used when police encounter people who seemingly experience excited delirium.

"If you got a problem with the name, then let's rename it. But, don't tell us that it doesn't exist when we're rolling around in the jail cell with it, or when we're rolling around in the streets with it," Martin said.

Critics say excited delirium is a blanket term for a variety of symptoms. While death can occur from the use of a Taser, more police believe it is the quickest way to subdue a suspect in an agitated, chaotic state.

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