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Thursday, November 08, 2007

RCMP investigating use of taser on BC man

November 8, 2007
The Canadian Press

KELOWNA, B.C. — RCMP will investigate two of their own officers after police used a taser to subdue a 68-year-old man in Kelowna, B.C. Supt. Bill McKinnon ordered the administrative review amid concerns the officers may have breached RCMP policy. A professional-standards member of Kelowna RCMP will interview the officers and determine whether they used the taser appropriately. The superintendent has some concerns with respect to the investigation, Sgt. Terry McLachlan said Wednesday.

John Peters double-parked his vehicle while picking up his wife Monday morning. As Anne Peters approached, a police car pulled up and one of the officers got out. The officer had met Mr. Peters in May, after he drove the wrong way through a construction zone. Mr. Peters had argued with the officer then because he was frustrated with the construction. “This cop had it in for him because of the earlier incident in May,” Mrs. Peters said Wednesday. “At the police station, he said to my husband: ‘Remember in May?'” She said her husband was too upset to be interviewed.

The officer told Mr. Peters he was giving him a ticket for double-parking. Once Mrs. Peters got into the vehicle, Mr. Peters suddenly drove off. The officers drove after him and he pulled over in a parking lot. “He should not have taken off. I convinced him to pull over, which he would have done anyway. I always try to get him to please be polite to the police officers, but he is who he is,” Mrs. Peters said.

Officers tried to arrest Mr. Peters but he raised his arm, refusing to co-operate. One of them grabbed him by the shirt, and Mrs. Peters told them her husband had suffered a stroke and has a neurological disorder that compromises his ability to understand language. “Police zapped him twice with the taser,” she said. Mr. Peters also claims one of the officers punched him. “The whole thing is just too ridiculous. I'm just finding it unbelievable that you could be so unprofessional, that you would carry a chip on your shoulder,” Mrs. Peters said.

The officers drove Mr. Peters to the RCMP detachment and have recommended several charges, including assaulting a peace officer, Mrs. Peters said.

Tasers use compressed nitrogen to fire two barbed darts that can penetrate clothes to deliver a 50,000-volt shock to immobilize people. Several people have died recently from taser attacks, including a Polish man stranded at Vancouver Airport who became agitated and threatened police.

The RCMP's policy is to use the conducted energy weapon when confronted by an actively resistant or combative individual, said Supt. McLachlan. The administrative review will be done fairly quickly, he added.

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