Man shot dead by LA police with Taser gun

February 16 (Xinhua) A man died on Saturday after being shot by police with a Taser gun, becoming the latest victim of Taser guns, authorities said on Sunday.

Police used a Taser gun in an alleged attempt to subdue the victim, Los Angeles coroner's investigator Kelly Yagerlener said.

The man was declared dead at a hospital, but his name was not immediately released, Yagerlener said.

The victim reportedly went into cardiac arrest after being shot late Saturday, said police, who described the man as possibly being under the influence of PCP (pentachlorophenol).

Witnesses at the scene said the man had been running around a Los Angeles neighborhood naked.

A Taser is an electroshock weapon that uses electrical current to disrupt voluntary control of muscles. Tasers were introduced as less-lethal weapons to be used by police to subdue fleeing, belligerent, or potentially dangerous subjects, often when what they consider to be a more lethal weapon would have otherwise been used. The use of Tasers has become controversial following instances of Taser use which have resulted in serious injury and deaths.

According to a December report by Amnesty International (AI) on law enforcement Taser deaths in the United States, 334 people diedin the country between June 2001 and August 2008 after being shot with a Taser gun by law enforcement officers.

AI found that law enforcement officers had used Tasers on schoolchildren, pregnant women and even an elderly person with dementia. More than 30 people died nationwide after being shot with Tasers in jails.

California and Florida were the states with the highest numbers of law enforcement-related Taser deaths during those seven years --55 and 52, respectively, according to the report.