November 22, 2007
John Colebourn, The Province
The RCMP's public-complaints commissioner, who's conducting an independent review of Taser use in Canada, says one option is to restrict its use to senior officers only.
Paul Kennedy, chairman of the RCMP's Commission for Public Complaints, said yesterday from Ottawa he will look at jurisdictions where police officers who have a rank of sergeant or higher are the only ones allowed to use the Taser. "The fact is in some areas it is only deployed by a sergeant or higher," said Kennedy, referring to places like Toronto, where only experienced personnel may use the Taser. Kennedy is expected to complete his review by Dec. 12.
Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day announced Tuesday that Kennedy would conduct the review of Taser protocols. "I don't have the answers right now," said Kennedy. "What I'll be doing is collecting all the relevant information."
Day said it is important for Canadians to know that the various investigations will be independent. He announced the new role for Kennedy in the face of mounting criticism over the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver International Airport Oct. 14.
Dziekanski, 40, had been in a secure area of the airport for 10 hours before being Tasered twice by RCMP after he became agitated. He died shortly afterward.
"The complaints commissioner is doing an investigation himself," Day said. "The coroner's inquest, of course, will be independent. "But we want to look at all possibilities, all ways and means to give the assurance to the public that there is going to be an independent view of what took place."
The inquest is set for May 5-16 next year.
An independent review is also being conducted after a 36-year-old Chilliwack man was Tasered in a rental store Monday. The man, who is known to police, was listed in stable condition in Chilliwack General Hospital, RCMP Const. Lea-Anne Dunlop said yesterday. He is believed to have been responsible for a hit-and-run car accident just prior to the confrontation with police. She said the two responding RCMP officers were shaken but OK after the incident. "Physically, they were not injured," she said. "They remain on active duty."
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Thursday, November 22, 2007
November 22, 2007