The Tragic Death of Kevin Piskura – One Year Later the Taser Death March Continues

Today marks the one year anniversary of a young man making a foolish decision.

Young men do that sometimes – they drink too much or get in fights.

Kevin Piskura got in a bar fight April 19th – it is reported that he interfered with police officers trying to arrest his friend. It is reported that the police tried to subdue him and then they tasered him.

He collapsed and they handcuffed him.

Then they noticed he was having trouble breathing.

They rushed him to a hospital.

And five days later he was dead.

I am the parent of 2 sons, I can only imagine what Kevin’s parents went through those five days he fought for his life. I can only imagine how their hearts must ache each and every day.

This coming Thursday will mark the one year anniversary of Kevin’s death – during this year, in North America  alone, 64 more people have died after being tasered.  Some were mentally ill, some on drugs, some foolish – virtually all were unarmed.  The oldest was 54, the youngest was 15. Yes – 15.

Tasers are not non-lethal.  There are safer non-lethal ways to subdue.

Please become informed – urge your legislators to outlaw tasers.

To Kevin’s parents – my thoughts are with you.   I am so sorry for your loss.

340. April 24, 2008: Kevin Piskura, 24, Cincinnati, Ohio
341. April 24, 2008: Dewayne Chatt, 39, Memphis, Tennessee
342. April 27, 2008: Paul Thompson, 24, Greensboro, North Carolina
343. April 28, 2008: Jermaine Ward, 28, Jackson, Tennessee
344. May 4, 2008: Joe Kubat, 21, St. Paul, Minnesota
345. May 6, 2008: James S. Wilson, 22, Alton, Missouri
346. May 28, 2008: Ricardo Manuel Abrahams, 44, Woodland, California
347. May 31, 2008: Robert Ingram, 27, Raceland, Louisiana
348. June 5, 2008: Willie Maye, 43, Birmingham, Alabama
349. June 6, 2008: Donovan Graham, 39, Meriden, Connecticut
350. June 8, 2008: Quintrell T. Brannon, 25, Vincennes, Indiana
351. June 9, 2008: Tony Curtis Bradway, 26, Brooklyn, New York
352. June 23, 2008: Jeffrey Marreel, 36, Norfolk, Ontario
353. June 24, 2008: Ernest Graves, 26, Rockford, Illinois
354. June 27, 2008: Nicholas Cody, 27, Dothan, Alabama
355. July 2, 2008: Isaac Bass, 34, Louisville, Kentucky
356. July 4, 2008: Othello Pierre, 23, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
357. July 8, 2008: Samuel DeBoise, 29, St. Louis, Missouri
358. July 8, 2008: Carlos Vargas, 42, San Bernardino, California
359. July 14, 2008: Marion Wilson Jr., 52, Houston, Texas
360. July 14, 2008: Deshoun Keyon Torrence, 18, Long Beach, California
361. July 22, 2008: Michael Langan, 17, Winnipeg, Manitoba
362. July 23, 2008: Richard Smith, 46, Dallas, Texas
363. July 26, 2008: Anthony Davidson, Statesville, 29, North Carolina
364. August 4, 2008: Jerry Jones, 45, Beaumont, Texas
365. August 4, 2008: Andre Thomas, 37, Swissvale, Pennsylvania
366. August 2, 2008: Lawrence Rosenthal, 54, Hemet, California
367. August 10, 2008: Kiethedric Hines, 31, Rockford, Illinois
368. August 15, 2008: Kenneth Oliver, 45, Miami, Florida
369. August 25, 2008: Ronald Adkisson, 59, Creston, Iowa
370. August 29, 2008: Stanley James Harlan, 23, Moberly, Missouri
371. September 3, 2008: Prince Swayzer, 38, San Jose, California
372. September 3, 2008: Andy Tran, 32, Garden Grove, California
373. September 11, 2008: Roney Wilson, 46, Hillsborough, Florida
374. September 17, 2008: Sean Reilly, 42, Mississauga, Ontario
375. September 19, 2008: Gabriel Bitterman, 23, Lincoln, Nebraska
376. September 25, 2008: Iman Morales, 35, New York, New York
377. September 30, 2008: Frank Frachette, 49, Langley, BC
378. October 1, 2008: Jose Anibal Amaro, 45, Orange County, Florida
379. October 18, 2008: Homer Taylor, 39, Chicago, Illinois
380. October 29, 2008: Trevor Grimolfson, 38, Edmonton, Alberta
381. October 31, 2008: Marlon Oliver Acevedo, 35, Riverside, California
382. November 2, 2008: Gordon Walker Bowe, 30, Calgary, Alberta
383. November 3, 2008: Adren Maurice Turner, 44, Mexia, Texas
384. November 10, 2008: Guy James Fernandez, 42, Santa Rosa, California
385. December 3, 2008: Leroy Hughes, 52, Covington, Kentucky
386. December 9, 2008: Quincy Smith, 24, Minneapolis, Minnesota
387. December 19, 2008: Edwin Rodriguez, 26, San Jose, California
388. December 21, 2008: Nathan Vaughn, 39, Santa Rosa, California
389. December 24, 2008: Unidentified man, 46, Houston, Texas
390. January 9, 2009: Derrick Jones, 17, Martinsville, Virginia
391. January 11, 2009: Rodolfo Lepe, 31, Bakersfield, California
392. January 22, 2009: Roger Redden, 52, Soddy Daisy, Tennessee
393. February 2, 2009: Garrett Jones, 45, Stockton, California
394. February 11, 2009: Richard Lua, 28, San Jose, California
395. February 13, 2009: Rudolph Byrd, Age Unknown, Thomas County, Florida
396. February 13, 2009: Michael Jones, 43, Iberia, Louisiana
397. February 14, 2009: Chenard Kierre Winfield, 32, Los Angeles, California
398. February 28, 2009: Robert Lee Welch, 40, Conroe, Texas
399. March 22, 2009: Brett Elder, 15, Bay City, Michigan
400. March 26, 2009: Marcus D. Moore, 40, Freeport, Illinois
401. April 1, 2009: John J. Meier Jr., 48, Tamarac, Florida
402. April 6, 2009: Ricardo Varela, 41, Fresno, California
403. April 10, 2009: Robert Mitchell, 16, Detroit, Michigan
404. April 16, 2009: Gary A. Decker, 50, Tuscon, Arizona

Source: Truth Not Tasers

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Taser Death March Continues – 20 More Since  Kevin Piskura’s Death

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Taser Death March Continues – 20 more since Kevin Piskura’s death

Since Ohioan Kevin Piskura’s tasering and death on April 25th, in North America alone, 6 9 10 11 14 20 (updated July 16th), more people have died after being tasered:

340. April 24, 2008: Dewayne Chatt, 39, Memphis, Tennessee
341. April 27, 2008: Paul Thompson, 24, Greensboro, North Carolina
342. April 28, 2008: Jermaine Ward, 28, Jackson, Tennessee
343. May 4, 2008: Joe Kubat, 21, St. Paul, Minnesota
344. May 6, 2008: James S. Wilson, 22, Alton, Missouri
345. May 28, 2008: Ricardo Manuel Abrahams, 44, Woodland, California
346. May 31, 2008: Robert Ingram, 27, Raceland, Louisiana
347. June 5, 2008: Willie Maye, 43, Birmingham, Alabama
348. June 6, 2008: Donovan Graham, 39, Meriden, Connecticut
349. June 8, 2008: Quintrell T. Brannon, 25, Vincennes, Indiana
350. June 9, 2008: Tony Curtis Bradway, 26, Brooklyn, New York
351. June 23, 2008: Jeffrey Marreel, 36, Norfolk, Ontario
352. June 24, 2008: Ernest Graves, 26, Rockford, Illinois
353. June 27, 2008: Nicholas Cody, 27, Dothan, Alabama

354. July 2, 2008: Isaac Bass, 34, Louisville, Kentucky
355. July 4, 2008: Othello Pierre, 23, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
356. July 8, 2008: Samuel DeBoise, 29, St. Louis, Missouri
357. July 8, 2008: Carlos Vargas, 42, San Bernardino, California
358. July 14, 2008: Marion Wilson Jr., 52, Houston, Texas
359. July 14, 2008: Deshoun Keyon Torrence, 18, Long Beach, California

via Truth Not Tasers

Another Taser Death

Police departments throughout the world purchased Tasers as a safe alternative to disable suspects, only they are not safe.

Newsnet 5 reports the death of 24-year-old Benedictine graduate Kevin Piskura. Piskura, a 2006 Miami graduate, was tasered after getting into an argument with Oxford police after a friend was escorted from a bar. Raw video feed documents the incident.

Tasers are meant to be used in lieu of deadly force. Arguably they are less lethal than guns, but the increasing statistics of death after taser use against unarmed individuals, reveals that they are used far too casually.

I am moved to write this because of a comment my son made at a community carnival last summer. Wandering around among all the children, adolescents, parents and grandparents were members of our local police force. I noticed something on their belts that I couldn’t identify – my son told me they were tasers. As a criminal justice major he knew the statistics, and risk, of their use. He told me; I was surprised, but I didn’t do anything. I didn’t take any action and every time there is a taser death or injury I feel guilty.

No more. Their use is too commonplace and too dangerous. Tasers are more dangerous to people who have heart conditions, on certain drugs or flooded with adrenaline. I have tremendous respect for our police forces, but in a situation of a bar fight, where you have a young man who is upset and unarmed, the risk of use is simply and completely unacceptable.

Please write to your elected officials to speak out against taser use. Ask that taser use be banned pending further study into these unexplained deaths.

To Kevin Piskura’s family – my deepest condolences. The price of bad judgment should not be death.

Understand the risk:

Nobody really knows exactly why these people are dying, we only know that people are dying after they are Tasered,” said Cox. “When we started doing our first study, 70 people had died in the United States. Now it’s nearly 300 people who have died in the United States. They’re Tasered and then they die. We’re calling for a study to find out exactly why.

Cardiac experts have warned against taser use:

When 50,000 volts of electricity from a Taser surge across the body, it can instantly incapacitate a person — more safely than a blow from a police baton or a blast of pepper spray, its manufacturer contends.

But cardiologists are concerned that, in certain cases, the device might also interrupt the rhythm of the human heart, throwing it into a potentially fatal chaotic state known as ventricular fibrillation.

Rather than pump blood in sequence through its four chambers, a heart in ventricular fibrillation writhes uncontrollably, wiggling like a bag of worms. It is a common cause of sudden death.

Cardiologists also know that the window in which a jolt of electricity can halt a heart expands significantly when a patient is treated with certain drugs, or when the body is flooded with the fear hormone, adrenaline. Patients with underlying heart problems are also more vulnerable to the condition.

Amnesty International spoke out against taser use.

The degree of tolerable risk involving Tasers, as with all weapons and restraint devices, must be weighed against the threat posed. It is self-evident that Tasers are less injurious than firearms where officers are confronted with a serious threat that could escalate to deadly force. However, the vast majority of people who have died after being struck by Tasers have been unarmed men who did not pose a threat of death or serious injury when they were electro-shocked. In many cases they appear not to have posed a significant threat at all.

An excellent summary of Kevin’s story and related links is available at Mahalo.

From Truth Not Tasers a list of the dead in North America.

Taser use is banned in New Jersey, even by police. Thank you to Twisted Family Antics.

Wikipedia article on Tasers.