(Adds Taser International's stock symbol)
By Akane Otani and Mridhula Raghavan
Aug 25 Shares of Digital Ally Inc, a
company that produces wearable cameras, rose as much as 80
percent to $14.25 on Monday as outrage over the fatal police
shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Missouri fueled
interest in the company's devices.
More than 24 million shares changed hands on Monday making
the stock one of the most heavily traded on the Nasdaq. The move
in the stock brought shares to levels not seen since October
Digital Ally shares closed about 57 percent higher at
Public outrage over the Aug. 9 police shooting of
18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, has led a
growing crowd to sign a White House petition calling for police
to be required to wear cameras on the job.
It has also sparked increased interest in Digital Ally
shares. At least 7.4 million shares changed hands in each of the
last four sessions, but between August 2009 and June 2014, the
stock's average daily volume was only about 13,000 shares.
Digital Ally Chief Executive Stanton Ross told Reuters on
Monday that the company had been receiving offers "all the
time", but said he wouldn't divulge any more details until a
commitment letter had been signed.
Digital Ally's video cameras sell for $795 and are compact
enough to be pinned to shirts, belts or eyeglasses.
"We have had a lot more enquiries because of the civil
unrest that is going on over in Ferguson," Ross told Reuters
Taser International Inc CEO Rick Smith told Reuters
the estimated market for wearable video in North America is
about $500 million, citing a Cambridge University study using
Although wearable cameras only accounted for 9 percent of
Digital Ally's total sales in the June quarter, sales could
surge as pressure mounts to find ways to hold law enforcement
In a Cambridge University study, complaints against a
California police department were found to fall drastically
after officers began wearing cameras on the job. Both suspects
and officers were strongly deterred from violating rules when
they were videotaped, the study found.
Still, up until this week, the recent gains in the stock had
led many investors to bet against the stock's rise. Heavy demand
drove 68 percent of shares available to borrow being lent for
short bets, according to data provider Markit, which watches
(Editing by Andrew Hay and Simon Jennings)