Last month, an article in the Star Tribune revealed a disturbing partnership between Axon Enterprise Inc. (Taser) and a public hospital.
For 14 years Axon has been paying the Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) more than $1.1 million to help convince juries and the public that Tasers are lifesaving devices. Axon has been paying two doctors between $20,000- $36,000 a year to write hundreds of Axon-funded stories and serve as Axon medical advisors.
Two researchers in leadership positions at HCMC have served as medical advisers for Axon, and the hospital’s research arm conducted 22 Axon-funded studies, hospital records show. For at least eight years, Axon paid the hospital’s chief medical officer, Dr. William Heegaard, $20,000 annually to serve on the company’s medical advisory board until he resigned this year. Heegaard has disclosed in studies that he also has owned Axon stock.
Dr. Jeffrey Ho, medical director for EMS at HCMC, doubles as Axon’s contract medical director for at least 32 hours per month. Every three months, the hospital bills Axon $34,344 to cover Ho’s shifts while he’s working for the company, records show. Ho bills the company directly for outside work, which amounted to $36,000 last year, according to Hennepin Healthcare spokesman Tom Hayes.
The Hennepin hospital also signed an additional contract with Axon “to make its security personnel available for conferences and other appearances promoting its use of Tasers to protect patients, staff and guests.”
Axon’s disturbing re-branded image
Taser has been re-branded; they are now calling themselves “Axon/Protect Life.” Axon claims their shock devices save lives; “we create technologies and services that enable you to capture truth and protect life.”
I wish everyone would read Axon’s incredulous public safety mission…'
Read more: Axon Partners With a Public Hospital to Re-brand Stun Guns as Lifesaving Devices