manifestation of taser drive stun burn marks on fabrics
The purpose of this research is to establish a baseline for the expected damage the TASER drive stun mode does on clothing by examining fibers under high magnification using a VHX-6000 confocal microscope. This will allow investigators to identify TASER markings, classify burns, and corroborate their findings with other contextual evidence when concerns exist regarding if a tasing event occurred.
The drive stun duration (1, 3, 5 seconds) of three TASER models (X26P, X2, TASER 7) were varied upon being applied perpendicularly to a surface of pork hock draped in three fabrics (white cotton, polyester, cotton-polyester blend) (n=81). Using the VHX-6000 confocal microscope, high magnification images were taken to observe any qualitative changes to the fabric.
Changes to the fabrics including discolouration and the presence or absence of melting agree with what the burn science of fabrics predicts. The appearance of the burns is most consistent on polyester fabric across the different drive stun durations and TASER models. The TASER model and drive stun duration were correctly identified in all blind tests on polyester fabric. There were inconclusive blind test results on cotton and blend fabrics. The TASER model is easier to deduce than the drive stun duration since the spatial arrangement of the burns agrees with the TASER anatomy.