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Police: Man dies after being shot by police taser

A young man from Barrow, Cumbria, caused a disturbance on Tuesday (16 August) evening prompting locals to report the incident to the police.

Officers from Cumbria police arrived on the scene at 18.30 BST, and, finding the man causing criminal damage, attempted to arrest him.

During the arrest, a taser was deployed.

The young man from Barrow later complained that he felt unwell. He was taken to hospital where he later died.

A spokesman for Cumbria police said: "Neighbourhood police officers attended the scene and arrested a male on suspicion of causing criminal damage and, during the arrest, a Taser was deployed.

"The man became unwell following the arrest and was taken to Furness general hospital by officers.

"At around 9pm the man, who was in his 20s and lived locally, was pronounced dead."

The case has now been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Tasers are electro-shock weapons that carry a 50,000 volt charge. The gun-shaped weapons fire two electrodes, like darts, at the subject. The electrodes are connected to the taser by wires which carry the electric current to the subject, causing them to lose control of their muscles. The weapon has a 7.6 metre range and a laser sight for accuracy.

Amnesty International has voiced concerns in the past about the use of tasers, pointing out that they can be lethal and are open to abuse.

Director Kate Allen said: "Many experts believe taser shocks may exacerbate a risk of heart failure in people who are under the influence of drugs or suffer underlying health problems such as heart disease - risk factors present in many of the cases we examined.

"What is more, tasers have the capacity to inflict severe pain at the push of a button, without leaving substantial marks. This makes them particularly open to abuse."

There have been a number of other documented cases of death caused by taser fire both in the UK and the US.

Related links:
Read more on the story (BBC)
Read 'Reasonable force or police brutality?' (FindLaw)
Find local specialist solicitors throughout the UK (FindLaw)