WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (CBS Charlotte) – New research shows that adolescents tasered by police do not appear to be at higher risk of injury than adults.
A study conducted at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is reportedly one of the first to focus specifically on the effects of tasering teens.
Despite differences in overall development between adolescents and adults, lead author Dr. Alison Gardner reportedly found no significant differences in the rates at which both demographics were injured, or the types of injuries sustained.
“We were looking closely for increased risk of cardiac effects and bodily injuries because of the differing body size and build of adolescents, but there were no significant injuries reported for this age group,” Gardner said in a press release. “There were 20 mild injuries recorded and the majority of these were expected superficial puncture wounds from the weapons’ probes.”
The study reportedly involved an in-depth analysis of law enforcement data dating back to 2005.
An alleged 2,026 Taser uses were reviewed by those involved with the study. Of those, approximately 100 cases involved adolescent suspects, ranging in age from 13 to 17 – the equivalent of 4.9 percent of all incidents.
“In real-life situations, Tasers were used in adolescents who were larger and older,” Gardner, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Wake Forest Baptist, explained. “This implies that law enforcement personnel are using Tasers as apprehension aids when physical apprehension is not easily accomplished, as would be the case in smaller and younger subjects.”