TASER BURN MARKS ON clothing
wanying cao

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Purpose:

This research aims to examine the damages caused by TASER probes and whether types of fabrics and TASER models will result in different damage patterns. Keyence VHX-6000 digital microscope was used for damage observation and measurements. This research provides in-depth data on TASER damages on fabrics microscopically and macroscopically and may help with the identification and classification of TASER damages on fabrics for legal investigations of cases that have TASERs involved.

 

Methodology:

Three types of white fabric were used, including cotton, polyester, and polyester-cotton blend. Three models of TASERs (TASER X26P, TASER 7 and TASER X2) were shot onto each type of fabric, and this procedure was repeated five times. Each damaged area on the fabric caused by a probe was considered a sample (n=90) and was examined under the microscope. Pictures were captured by the Keyence microscope with measurements on the variables, including damage dimension, microscopic condition of the fabrics and signs of burning.

 

Results & Conclusions:

At the macroscopic level of observation, more fabric shrinkage was observed on polyester compared to cotton and blend materials with a frequency of about 1.5-2.0 times higher. However, the chi-square result showed no statistical significance in the frequency of fabric shrinkage among different fabrics. At the microscopic level of observation, deformation of fibre was found in all samples of polyester material. However, the presence of fibre deformation could not be confirmed in cotton and blend materials since the intact area of the two fabrics have fibres in irregular shapes that could not be differentiated from the deformation caused by heat. There are noticeable differences in the conditions of the yarn ends across the fabric types, while there are no significant features observed that could be used to identify which TASER model was used. The value of the statistical data is limited in this research due to the small sample size, while the observations on the features of damage patterns are noteworthy, especially the differences among the fabric types. Future studies may need a larger sample size and carefully control the confounding variables, for example, a larger shooting substrate with a flat surface could be used instead of a piece of pork hock.

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