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Electric Prods Not Intended for Use on Human Beings

June 21, 1963 - Electric prods, which are being used on Negro demonstrators in Alabama, deliver a shock of high voltage but low amperage that “makes you jump,” stockyard men in the Midwest said today. The devices, employed since April by Alabama policemen, are usually steel tubes powered by five to eight batteries similar to those used in flash devices. They vary in length from two to three feet. Austin C. Wehrwein, a New York Times correspondent, recently tested a prod on himself. When he thrust the device, which has two prongs at the end, against his palm it delivered a shock that made him jump a foot. He said it felt as strong as that from a home electric light socket. The prongs left two painful marks on his palm that lasted for an hour. Up to now, prods have rarely been used on human beings. A leading manufacturer of the devices is Hot-Shot Products Company of Minneapolis. George H. Bartell, its president, expressed distress today that the devices were being used against people in the South. “We never manufactured them as a law enforcement device,” he remarked.

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