The fact that Israelis spent the large part of last year in lockdown has apparently not stemmed the use of police tasers in the country, according to data published in a new report by Israel Hayom.
According to the report, police used tasers 572 times last year, an 8% rise when compared to 2019, and a 24% rise compared to 2018.
The last decline in police taser use came between 2017 and 2018, when police used tasers 474 times and 461 times respectively.
The rate of taser use did not seem to be negatively affected by the three nationwide lockdowns, during which Israelis were urged to stay at home, with tasers being used only 156 times until mid-April, when the first lockdown was announced.
The report added that studies show that darts in the taser guns used by Israel police stimulate sensory and motor nerves, causing involuntary muscle cramps.
Despite this, the taser gun is considered in most countries to be a non-lethal weapon, and is therefore permitted for use by police officers in a wide variety of situations.
Taser guns allow police to neutralize a suspect who is rioting during his arrest, restrain him and take control of him at short range without physical contact. They are designed to help prevent lethal physical violence in incidents in which the police are present, as well as to be used for self-defense.
Attorney Maayan Haimovich, who specializes in criminal law and is the deputy chair of the National Committee for the Rights of Suspects and Investigators at the Israeli Bar Association, told Israel Hayom that “The increase in the use of tasers is worrying, especially during a year in which we were at isolated at home.”
“The use of this tool must stop,” she urged, saying that “At the very least, the taser must be a last resort for the police.”
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