Study: People tased by cops are more likely to waive their rights, give false confessions
by Bonnie Kristian, The Week
February 8, 2016
Suspects who have been tased by police while being taken into custody are more likely to waive their Miranda rights and provide false confessions, according to new research (PDF) published in the Criminology & Public Policy journal.
That’s because a Taser’s 50,000-volt shock temporarily impairs brain function, so “TASER-exposed participants resembled patients with mild cognitive impairment,” the study says. “Thus, part of our findings implicates a suspect’s ability to issue a valid waiver [of Miranda rights], whereas another part implicates the accuracy of information he or she might give investigators during a custodial interrogation.”
Even innocent suspects are at greater risk of self-incrimination after being tased. “They may waive their Miranda rights and make incriminating statements to police without the benefit of counsel,” and then find those comments difficult to explain once their mental function has recovered later on.
The study notes that American police have tased 2.37 million people in the last decade, an average of 904 tasings per day, or one every two minutes.
Bonnie Kristian is a freelance writer and seminary student living in the Twin Cities. She is a regular contributor to TheWeek.com‘s Speed Reads blog and pens a weekly column for Rare. Her writing has also appeared at Relevant Magazine, The American Conservative, Antiwar.com, Reknew, and other outlets.
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