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Axon board member electrocuted on stage after Keenan Anderson’s death

A photo: Sasha Schuermann (Getty Images)

When Silicon Valley investor and Axon board member Hadi Partovi took the stage to address this week’s packed crowd TASERKON In fact, he did this to put an end to the harassment that is often received by the top executives of the police tech company. If the so-called “non-lethal” stun weapons, Axon’s patented stun guns, are really that safe, why doesn’t anyone in the company step in and succumb to their effects?

“That’s what I’m here for,” Partovi said to applause.

Moments later, a uniformed policeman stepped onto the stage and shook hands with a board member. The officer extended his stance, pulled a stun gun from its holster, and yelled, “Taser, stun gun!” Spikes flew out of the device and dug into Partovi’s pants. After a short delay and a loud “Oh!” the board member’s legs buckled under him as he collapsed to the floor. The camera pans to the side as the assistants approach Partovi’s writhing body. The audience applauds.

The cry “Taser!” echoes the cries of police in Southern California earlier this month when an unarmed black man died in LAPD custody. Difference: Keenan Anderson, 31, was tasered six times in less than a minute and was handcuffed on the ground the entire time. Parthovi only took one hit, falling comfortably on the soft mats.

When asked by a moderator a few minutes later that he had been beaten with a stun gun, Partovi replied: “That was pretty good!”

“I don’t think I want it to happen again, but it was a lot better than the alternative,” he added. Partovi broadcast the demonstration on his Twitter account.

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Partovi’s light-hearted tech demo, if you can call it that, was part of an event to announce Axon’s latest product, the Taser 10. Axon, formerly the Taser, is best known for creating the now ubiquitous “conducted energy device” used by some 94 people. % of local police agencies in the US Founder of Axon and part-time comic book writer Rick Smith says he designed the Taser with a lofty long-term goal: to “make bullets obsolete.” Partovi copied the motto in a tweet about his own taser, praising Axon’s “commitment to protecting life and making bullets obsolete”.

Axon claims its newest Taser 10 has twice the range of its previous electric weapons, with a maximum range of 45 feet, as well as improved accuracy and penetration. All of these improvements are designed to work in the best interest of the company. declared The moon goal is to reduce the number of firearm-related deaths between the police and the public by 50% in 10 years.

“On this live stream, I will not risk my life by electrocuting myself,” Partovi wrote. “I won’t even wear protective gear. I will show that the stun gun is designed to save lives. Its goal is to fight violence.”

While Partovi’s live demonstration was intended to show the police tech company’s commitment to security, it came after Anderson died in LAPD custody on January 3 after being confronted with an officer’s taser. That officer according to LAPD Chief Michelle Moore activated the device more than six times in just 42 seconds. In comparison, Partovi was only attacked once. After the collision, Anderson was taken to the hospital, where he died four hours later. The victim’s family members believe that the officer’s use of a stun gun may have contributed to his death. The coroner’s inquest is still ongoing and the official cause of death has not been released. Lawyers representing Anderson’s 5-year-old son filed a lawsuit. $50 million lawsuit against the LAPD this week, the alleged officers acted carelessly and “repeatedly activated the stun gun by mistake.”

Axon did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment on Anderson’s death.

“The media is spreading myths about Taser because fake news makes money,” Partovi. tweeted January 24th. “But misunderstandings are jeopardizing Axon’s important mission of reducing firearm deaths.”

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What happened to Keenan Anderson?

Anderson, a charter school teacher and cousin Black Lives Matter co-founder Patriss Cullors began his fatal confrontation with police following a traffic accident in which officers at the scene claim he was responsible. According to police, Anderson behaved “erratically” and, after initially complying with their demands, attempted to flee.

The officer pinned Anderson to the ground and elbowed him in the back. Eventually, one of the officers pulled out a stun gun and electrocuted Anderson in the back, activating his electric charge twice from a distance. Then, according to in Los Angeles Timesthe officer switched the weapon to a stun mode that strikes at closer range and hit the wounded schoolteacher at least four more times.

The LAPD released body camera frames events this week. It can be seen Anderson yelling “Please help me, they’re trying to kill me” as a couple of officers try to subdue him on the road. Anderson yelled, “They’re trying to kill me with George Floyd,” just seconds before he was repeatedly tasered. Meanwhile, the LAPD claims cocaine and marijuana have been found in his blood.

Several police experts who reviewed surveillance footage told reporters. Los Angeles Times They are believed it showed signs of excessive use of force by officers. “It will be difficult to convince any judge that these officers used reasonable force,” said Northern California MP and chief state adviser on police tactics, Ed Obayashi. Obayashi suggested that some of Anderson’s signs of “resistance” in the video could also be interpreted as an “automatic reflex” from being stabbed with a stun gun.

At a press conference following Anderson’s death, Moore, the LAPD chief, said that there were six separate taser activations within 42 seconds. Officers, Moore said, repeated or simultaneous activations should be “generally avoided”, although he acknowledged that there are no official limits on the number of times they are allowed to activate a device, and therefore no consequences for overuse. Moore says the LAPD looking in whether he can modify his stun guns to limit the number of shots an officer can fire. Moore said he would be contacting Axon to see if the company could set up a “stop” that could be activated after an officer first pulled the trigger.”

Tasers: Less lethal, but still deadly

While Axon’s marketing materials — and by extension, Partovi’s demo — advertise its weapons as non-lethal, data from actual police encounters paints a much more complex picture. Since 2010, stun guns have killed at least 500 people. according to USA Today report and research. Other reports like this 2016 studying A survey by the LA Times found that out of 1,100 times LAPD officers fired their weapons, they actually went off only 53% of the time.

Civil liberties experts also disagree with Axon’s claim that its products result in a clear reduction in police violence. In the previous interview with Gizmodo, ACLU senior prosecutor Carl Takei argued that stun guns actually led to more use of force by the police, no less.

“The widespread use of tasers and other less lethal weapons has actually increased the use of weapons in general,” Takei said. “Because of the existence of these additional technologies, there is a kind of increase in harm and power.” Meanwhile, body-worn cameras, another major product area touted by Axon as a way to increase law enforcement transparency, simultaneously introduced more effect cameras. swelling the amount of video data collected by the police.

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