Tasers have become an essential tool for police, but how effective are they? An APM Reports investigation finds that officers in some big cities rated Tasers as unreliable up to 40 percent of the time, and in three large departments, newer models were less effective than older ones. In 258 cases over three years, a Taser failed to subdue someone who was then shot and killed by police.
As part of an investigation into Taser effectiveness, APM Reports compiled a database of fatal police shootings that involved a Taser between 2015 and 2017. We reviewed nearly 3,000 shootings nationwide and found 258 in which a Taser had failed to subdue someone before the police shot and killed them. In more than a third of those incidents, the suspect became more aggressive after a Taser was used, indicating that it may have escalated the situation.