Angela Jones, a Los Angeles woman, suffered cardiac arrest after being shocked with a Taser gun by police during a traffic stop in June. The incident, which was caught on video by a California Highway Patrol dashboard camera, has once again raised questions about the safety of the weapon.
As seen in video obtained by CBS Los Angeles, police approach Jones' car after they discover it illegally parked on an Encino, Calif., road. The officers conduct a field sobriety test on Jones and question her for about 15 minutes.
But the situation escalates when the 50-year-old actress refuses to let police search her purse.
"I just don't feel like I want you to take my purse from me," Jones says in the video. As she attempts to get back in her vehicle, an officer draws his Taser X26 and shocks Jones in the chest three times. The X26 model of the weapon delivers about 1,200 volts to its target, according to the CBC.
Jones went into cardiac arrest and was unresponsive. An officer administered CPR and revived Jones at the scene.
A person has the right to refuse consent for a search of his or her belongings, but police can search without consent if they believe there is evidence of a crime, according to the ACLU.
According to her attorneys, Jones' toxicology reports revealed no presence of alcohol or illegal drugs in her system the night of the incident.
Jones was arrested and charged with failing to comply with a peace officer, resisting arrest, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, according to ABC Los Angeles. She is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 7.
The California Highway Patrol released a statement about the incident on Tuesday:
As in all use-of-force incidents, the California Highway Patrol has reviewed the application of the taser during the arrest of Ms. Jones. The use of the taser in this incident appears to be within CHP policy. Appropriate charges were filed against Ms. Jones subsequent to her arrest, and the case is currently working its way through the judicial system. Out of respect of that process and to avoid interfering with the successful prosecution of this case, we will not have further comment at this time.
This is not the first time that someone has been severely injured as the result of a shock by a stun gun.
Earlier this year, a peer-reviewed study published in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association, linked Taser use to death in seven out of eight cases.
According to the study, a shock from a Taser "can cause cardiac electric capture and provoke cardiac arrest" as a result of an abnormally rapid heart rate and uncontrolled, fluttering contractions.
In 2009, Taser updated its "preferred target zones" policy in response to criticism about shocks delivered to the chest.
"By avoiding the chest, the officer can avoid the controversy about whether or not the ECD could have caused a cardiac event," according to a Taser training document.