Sacramento, California – On March 10, 2001, Sacramento Police officer Officer Thomas Shrum shot Steven Yount in the left buttock while four officers were trying to subdue and transport him to jail following his arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). As Yount, who was handcuffed and in leg restraints, struggled, squirmed and kicked the inside of the police car, Officer Shrum, intending to draw and fire his TASER© gun, instead pulled out and discharged his nine-millimeter pistol. Immediately after the shooting, Shrum exclaimed, “Oh God, I shot, I shot.” Shrum was armed with an M26 TASER at the time and had to be consoled after the shooting and expressed concern about the suspect at the time who survived.
Rochester, Minneapolis – On September 2, 2002 Officer Greg Siem was having trouble subduing a Sudanese refugee, Christopher Atak, who was under arrest for being drunk and disorderly. When Siem pulled out what he thought was his TASER, he in fact pulled out his firearm and shot once into the man’s back puncturing his intestine, colon and gall bladder. Immediately after the shooting, Officer Siem called an ambulance and apologized to Atak who survived the shooting. According to court documents, “Officer Siem attempted to use a reasonable amount of force to detain an individual who was actively resisting arrest…In a tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving situation, there is absolutely nothing excessive about Officer Siem’s actions,” wrote his attorney. This is where Mehserle’s attorney Michael Rain’s apparently formulated their defense, because on multiple occasions throughout the trial, Rains has told the jury that Mehserle’s mistake was a result of a “tense and rapidly evolving situation.” Siem had drawn his TASER from a cargo pocket on his strong side.
Madera, California – On October 27, 2002, a City of Madera police officer who was carrying her black M26 TASER on the strong side, shot and accidentally killed Everardo Torres, 24, who was already handcuffed. Officer Marcy Noriega, said, “I put the fucking TASER on he wrong side,” after she realized she shot the suspect with her firearm. She also stated, “please don’t die, please don’t die,” as Torres was being treated for his wound. Officer Torres had a prior incident in which she confused her TASER and her Glock when she was first issued the M26 model. Witnesses heard officer Noriega warn Torres that she was going to use her TASER if he continued to kick the inside of the patrol car. She wore her M26 TASER on the thigh holster on the same side as Glock semiautomatic pistol bellow her firearm. Also her gun and TASER were both equipped with the red laser sights.
Somerset County, Maryland – On October 20, 2003, Frederick P. Henry was fleeing arrest from Somerset County Deputy Sheriff Robert Purnell when he reached back to unholster his black TASER M26, but then drew and fired his gun at Henry. Purnell claims that he had mistakenly grabbed his Glock .40-caliber handgun when he shot Henry in the elbow. On the scene, Deputy Purnell told Henry and other witnesses that he used the wrong weapon which he had on his strong side.
Kitsap County, Washington – On June 22, 2006, in Navy Yard City, Bremerton, Kitsap County Sheriff Deputy Tiffany Dobbins shot her firearm when she intended to use her TASER that she wore on her strong side. William A. Jones, 32, had been acting delusional in a tree for five hours prior to Deputy Dobbins’ arrival. Jones had been unsuccessfully by another deputy on the scene, but Jones was able to remove the probes and then he climbed higher in the tree. After the failed attempt Deputy Dobbins was verbally requested to deploy her TASER on Jones, and she responded by accidentally shooting Jones once in the leg. Her immediate reaction was “Oh my God, oh my God, what did I do?” Criminal charges were considered by the Office of the Attorney General of Washington but after a lengthy investigation they declined to prosecute Dobbins.
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada – Daniel Hammond, 25, was shot in the abdomen by Constable Mike Miller on September 10, 2005. Hammond had reportedly caused a disturbance outside a restaurant and resisted when police attempted to arrest him. Miller reached for his X26 TASER to subdue Hammond but came up with his Glock and shot Hammond. Miller had been wearing the TASER on his weak side, but after he first pulled out the TASER he returned it to a cargo pocket on his strong side when he was attempting to handcuff Hammond. When Hammond continued to resist, Miller thought he was drawing TASER when he shot Hammond. Interim Police Chief Bill Naughton said the force has since replaced the model of TASER used in 2005 with ones that don’t feel the same as the Glock handgun.