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Friday, January 06, 2006

Taser sparks outrage

January 6, 2006
Sorcha McGinnis, Edmonton Sun

The death of a man who was Tasered on Christmas Eve has stirred up outrage in a city woman who is now demanding a fatality inquiry in the case of her brother. Jennifer Bosse's 28-year-old brother Ronald Perry died March 23, 2004, after suffering a massive heart attack brought on by excited delirium. He was taken to hospital four days earlier following a struggle with police that saw him Tasered. Bosse says she still has more questions than answers about Perry's death - especially in the wake of a similar incident involving another city man - and hopes a fatality inquiry will provide her family with some closure.

Alesandro Fiacco, 33, was Tasered by cops Dec. 24 after he was found behaving erratically. He was subdued by the device but died on his way to hospital.

"I was upset his family had to go through that, especially with it being Christmas time," said Bosse. "I'm angry police are still using Tasers even though there's been more than one occasion where people have gone into cardiac arrest and passed away. If cops don't know a person is on medication, (a Taser) could harm them. There are other ways to subdue a person."

Police had been responding to a complaint about a man vandalizing cars in the area of 129 Avenue and 64 Street on March 19 when Perry was Tasered. Earlier, he had injured his head in a fight. The day before his arrest, he broke his ankle jumping from a third-floor balcony near 49 Street and 113 Avenue.

The medical examiner's office later determined there was no link between the man's death and his being Tasered. A police investigation concluded the matter was non-criminal. Alberta Justice spokesman Mark Cooper said at the conclusion of his report, the medical examiner forwarded Perry's file to the Alberta Fatality Review Board which did not recommend a fatality inquiry.

The reasons for that decision have not been made public. However, Cooper said the family has the option of asking the board to reconsider its decision.

Bosse plans to get a lawyer through Legal Aid to start the process.

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