Dallas Officer Wants More Warning for Taser Training

By Amanda Fitzpatrick
|  Friday, Jan 21, 2011  |  Updated 7:38 PM CDT
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<a title=Dallas officer Andy Butler wants to make sure no other officers are injured by a Taser after a training exercise changed his life forever." />

Amanda Fitzpatrick, NBCDFW.com

Dallas officer Andy Butler wants to make sure no other officers are injured by a Taser after a training exercise changed his life forever.

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Dallas Police officer Andy Butler plans to sue Taser International after sustaining major injuries during a police academy training exercise.

Butler was a recruit in 2009 when he underwent Taser training. Shortly after the exercises he says he noticed a pain in his arm. "15 to 20 minutes after I got Tased I felt like I pulled a muscle in my back, as the day wore on the pain got worst and worst," said Butler.

Butler later would learn he had three herniated discs and would eventually have surgery to replace one of them with metal plates in his vertebrae.

Butler says he wishes he would have known of the dangers and hopes this lawsuit will bring awareness to local law enforcement agencies he feels aren't aware of the dangers of Tasers.

"Maybe some departments can look at it and ask themselves 'is the value of taking a ride on the Taser worth the risk of injuring an officer that could either knock them out of police work?' or for me, I'm walking around with metal plates in my neck for the rest of my life," Butler said.

Steve Tuttle VP of Communications for Taser International issued this statement:

"While TASER does not comment on pending litigation involving our equipment, we continue to stand by the independent peer reviewed medical studies that have shown that the TASER® electronic control devices are generally safe and effective."

"Our company does not require a TASER brand device exposure for instructor or user certification.  Each agency must make this determination."

"TASER technology has proven to reduce excessive use of force claims and these highly publicized cases represent a small percentage of arrests where it has saved numerous lives, dramatically reduced injuries to both officers and suspects while reducing excessive use of force litigation."

The Dallas Police Department said they do not plan to stop using Tasers in their exercises.

"I think it's something we will look at, but I'm not aware of any decisions by the command staff to do away with Taser use at all or to modify the training," said Dallas Police Lt. C.L. Williams. "I mean one incident is not something you want to base a decision on. If there is some kind of pattern, than yes something to look at, we got one incident."

The litigation could take up to a year to resolve.

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