Child hit with Taser probes during police demo

An elementary school student was struck by probes from a police Taser weapon Friday morning during a career fair at the Edna Moyle Primary School in East End.

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service said the incident occurred during a demonstration of police equipment at the fair.

The hand-held electric stun gun-type weapons can deliver a 50,000-volt shock to their intended targets when charged. The police weapon used at the school on Friday was not armed.

According to a police report on the incident: “There was no electrical discharge of the Taser during this accident. The child was not ‘Tazed.’

“The probes on a Taser were accidentally released, breaking the skin on a child at the demonstration.”

The child, whose age was not given, was treated at the school and did not require further medical treatment.

The incident has been referred to the Police Professional Standards Unit for an internal investigation.

“The RCIPS apologizes for any alarm the accident caused to children and others participating in the event,” the police report noted.

The police service introduced the Taser weapons in January 2013.

The electric discharges issued by Tasers are powerful, but they are typically used in close quarters as a “less-than-lethal” option for subduing a suspect.

The weapons can cause serious damage if a subject is struck by one of the weapon’s electric charge capsules in the eye or anywhere about the head.

The police service purchased 36 of the weapons from U.S.-based Taser International after receiving close to $5 million in additional funding from the Cayman Islands government. The weapons, including mounted video cameras for each Taser weapon, cost about US$71,000.

Police forces in the U.S. and Britain use Taser weapons typically in close-range encounters with criminal suspects where the use of a firearm would be considered excessive.

They are also often used to subdue violent or mentally ill individuals who might do harm to themselves and others.