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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Nova Scotia orders review of Tasers as man dies a day after he is shocked

November 22, 2007
The Canadian Press


HALIFAX - Nova Scotia's justice minister has ordered a review of the use of Tasers after the death Thursday of a man who was tasered by police a day earlier. But Cecil Clarke said there will not be a moratorium placed on the use of the devices after the death of the unidentified 45-year-old at a correctional facility in nearby Dartmouth.

A police source said the man was involved in a separate "incident" today that might also be linked to his death.

Clarke said he has also asked the RCMP and the province's chief medical examiner to review the death. The RCMP is also conducting a review of the man's arrest by Halifax Regional Police.

Details of what happened were sketchy as Clarke refused to say precisely when the man was shocked or what the time he died, other than it was early Thursday.

"The situation was while within police custody," Clarke told reporters at the provincial legislature.

"It's important the RCMP do their investigation at this time and we hear that investigation and as well that the chief medical examiner undertake the review and give a full report in terms of cause of death."

Clarke said the review will examine Taser practices of authorized users of the devices in the province, including law enforcement, corrections officers and sheriffs.

Tasers have come under heavy scrutiny after Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski, 40, died after RCMP officers tasered him at Vancouver International Airport.

Nova Scotia's opposition parties are calling for a broader review of the use of Tasers, but agreed with the government that a moratorium isn't necessary.

Liberal justice critic Michel Samson said a review is also needed of the procedures surrounding the use of Tasers.

"There obviously needs to be a message sent out of assurance to Nova Scotians, but more importantly to our police officers and correctional services that they should almost be a weapon of last resort after what we've been able to learn," he said.

Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day has asked the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP to review the force's use of Tasers. As well, the B.C. government will launch a full public inquiry into the Oct. 14 death of Dziekanski.

Dziekanski's death brought to 16 the number of Canadian cases since 2003 in which people died after police use of Tasers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hi ricki and patti

Here's a link to a video of a man being tasered on highway in Utah for not signing a speeding ticket. you'll notice how the man falls backward uncontrollably on the pavement - I'm surprised he didn't crack his head open. http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=IMaMYL_shxc&eurl=http://www.sltrib.com/ci_7523456
cheers, blaine in Kamloops