RCMP public complaints commissioner rejects ban but says weapons should be limited to senior officers
OTTAWA- The RCMP's watchdog says the federal government must immediately re-classify Tasers as an "impact" weapon, restrict their use to experienced officers and demand medical attention be summoned once a person is hit by the 50,000-volt stun gun.
His recommendations would limit their use to corporals or members of higher rank in urban centers, and to constables with five years' experience in rural detachments.
Such a recommendation, if followed, would take the stun guns, in use by the RCMP in the field since 2002, out of the hands of many cops in rural areas.
Kennedy said the recommendations, which reject calls for a ban on Tasers, must be followed to instil public confidence.
In its own statement, the RCMP said it would act on the recommendations "as quickly as possible to provide clearer direction to our members, to further restrict situations in which (Tasers) can be deployed, and to develop and implement measures to enhance accountability and to promote officer and public safety."
Excellent reccommendations. The government would look like heroes if they were to compel the Mounties to adopt them. Instead we get non-committal pablum from Stockwell Day:
"[RCMP Commissioner William Elliott] has indicated to me that he intends to act on the recommendations in a manner that takes into consideration the operational requirements of the RCMP," Day said in a news release.
That means little will change. The Mounties need more than a slap on the wrist on this and many others issues, they need a comprehensive overhaul.
Too many times on that Disorderly Conduct show Spike has cops shoot someone with a Taser for pretty well nothing and then demand the person stand up and put their hands on their head and when they do not they get shocked and beaten again. The point of a Taser is to disable them temporarily. Try getting up after getting shocked with 50,000 volts.
I just do not think the everyday cop is qualified to have such a weapon that is not considered lethal.
Man dies in OPP custody after Taser used
Updated Tue. Jun. 24 2008 7:44 AM ET
CTV.ca News Staff
A 36-year-old Ontario man is dead after a confrontation with Ontario Provincial Police on Monday during which he was Tasered by officers.
The death comes just days after the RCMP said it would restrict the user of the controversial Taser device.
Sgt. Pierre Chamberland said police were responding to a report of a man causing a disturbance in Norfolk County, about 130 kilometres southwest of Toronto, at about 10:30 a.m. ET Monday.
"Upon arrival police located a male who was combative and during the encounter police had to deploy a conducted energy weapon," Chamberland told CTV's Canada AM on Tuesday.
An ambulance was then deployed to assess the male's condition, after which he was taken to the Norfolk County OPP detachment in Simcoe, Ont.
However, while at the detachment, the man collapsed and the ambulance was recalled while police officers performed first aid on the man.
"He was transported to Norfolk General Hospital and eventually he succumbed to his condition," Chamberland said.
The province's Special Investigations Unit is looking into the death.
Chamberland would not say whether the man was known to police or whether the Taser was used more than once.
The incident follows the RCMP's announcement last week that it will provide officers with clearer direction on when and how Tasers can be deployed.
The devices have come under intense scrutiny following the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski, who died last October after an RCMP Taser was used on him multiple times in Vancouver International Airport.
A recent report that looked into the RCMP's record with Tasers found close to a third of those zapped required medical treatment afterwards.
Prior to Monday's incident, at least 20 people were known to have died in Canada since 2003 after being Tasered.
But Chamberland said it's important to note that Tasers are only issued to those OPP officers who have been properly trained in their use.
Officers who are qualified to use Tasers must renew their certification each year, he said.
The human body is run by tiny electrical impulses that originate in the brain and tell your body what to do, including your heart, lungs etc. Any electrical weapon should be considered a lethal weapon as it may disrupt the ability of your brain to tell your heart to beat and your lungs to breathe.
I have had so many unfortunately negative encounters with police that I have developed a tainted view of their capacity. These stories simply reinforce that.