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Friday, November 30, 2007

Nunavut MLA demands gov't investigate RCMP taser incident

November 30, 2007
CBC News

Man was jolted 13 times during arrest, legislator says

Rankin Inlet North MLA Tagak Curley is demanding the Nunavut government look into what he called the excessive use of a Taser by RCMP, alleging that police used the stun gun on one of his constituents 13 times during an arrest.

As a result of being shocked by the Taser that many times, Curley said the man received a shoulder injury and did not work for a whole year.

"His mortgage defaulted because his arrears were so high. And as a result, he eventually lost his house and his job," he told CBC News on Thursday.

Curley brought up the matter in May with Justice Minister Paul Okalik, but he said Okalik told him the individual should go to the RCMP's public complaints commission.

The issue was revived this week, after RCMP told CBC News they follow national policies on when and how to use Tasers to ensure the devices are used appropriately.

The RCMP's policies on Taser use are currently under review by the chair of the police force's complaints commission.

Nunavut RCMP Sgt. Mike Toohey said police did investigate the Rankin Inlet incident and concluded that the arresting officers did not do anything wrong in that case.

Toohey said the use of Tasers or other weapons is determined at the time of the arrest. Afterwards, officers who use a weapon must explain to their commanding officers why it was used.

"With any use of [the] Taser, you know, the supervisor, the line officer, is going to review that and see if it's an appropriate use," he said.

"If the person that is subject of that feels that it was improperly used, then there is a recourse for those individuals. They can either lodge a complaint to their local detachment or go through [the] public complaints commission."

But Curley said the territorial government should step in and investigate the case, arguing that it shouldn't be only RCMP investigating Taser-related complaints.

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