The North Rhine-Westphalian police used their new distance stun guns 642 times up to and including November this year. However, the officials only had to fire the devices 154 times, which was almost every fourth use: In 488 cases, the threat to use the taser was enough, the NRW Ministry of the Interior said on request.
The numbers “are consistent with our previous experiences and they speak a clear language. In more than three-quarters of the cases, it is enough to just threaten to use the taser to bring a situation under control," said Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU).
Last October there was the first death in connection with a Taser operation in North Rhine-Westphalia. A 44-year-old died in Dortmund after receiving two electric shocks.
The man, who weighs 137 kilograms and is 1.99 meters tall, had previously injured a police officer with a blow to the head and then tried to storm with a patrol car. As it turned out during the autopsy, the man had a serious heart condition and was heavily under the influence of alcohol. The autopsy could not clarify whether his death was actually due to the electric shocks.
The stun guns are bright yellow and can be seen from afar. The police officers can first trigger a small arc, which demonstrates the power of the taser. In an emergency, the device shoots two electrodes on wires at the attacker, who is put out of action by current pulses.
The tasers are politically controversial - also between the government factions of the CDU and the Greens in North Rhine-Westphalia. During the coalition negotiations after the state elections in mid-May, the black-green coalition agreed to distribute the devices that had already been ordered to other police departments, to continue testing them until 2024 and to connect them to a bodycam. The NRW police are not yet equipped with tasers across the board.