Expert depicts what happened to tasers in officer-involved shootings

Posted at 4:47 PM, Mar 17, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Officers tried to use their tasers before the officer-involved shootings in Nashville last week.

During last week's first officer-involved shooting, Officer Josh Baker deployed a taser which hit Nika Holbert before the fatal shootout.

"In Officer Baker’s video, when he deployed the taser, it was audible the pop pop pop," said Ken Alexandrow, a retired Metro Nashville officer and founder of Agape Tactical.

According to Alexandrow, Baker did what he was trained to do. He said one probe appears to be connected, so he used a touch stun at close proximity to close the circuit since both of them didn't connect initially. It worked for 5 seconds according to Alexandrow. However, it appears from the video it wasn't enough time to handcuff her, and she reached for her gun.

Alexandrow said there are four reasons why a taser doesn't work: a bad connection, bad spread of probes, clothing disconnect, or lack of muscle due to obesity.

"It flexes the muscles 19 times per second," Alexandrow said. "If someone is not tremendously muscled, and they’re very thick, you're not getting any muscles, so you have nothing to incapacitate."

In the second officer-involved shooting last week in Nashville, a taser was deployed when a woman who was having a mental health crisis rushed at an officer with a pickaxe and bat.

"The way a taser works is once you have a good positive connection, it overrides the signals from the brain to tell the muscles how to act," Alexandrow said.

According to Metro Police, they will review the taser cases at the academy to determine what happened.

For perspective, according to Amnesty International, hundreds of people in the U.S. have died from being tased by law enforcement. Taser manufacturers say those deaths are due to underlying factors such as drug use or heart conditions.