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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Taser video shows urgent need for police weapon review

November 15, 2007
The Province

What is most striking about the disturbing citizen's video released yesterday showing the police Tasering of immigrant Robert Dziekanski, who died immediately afterwards, is the apparent casualness of the act. Dziekanski, 40, clearly had been causing a ruckus at the airport early that fateful October morning before the arrival of four RCMP officers. But as they approach him, he seems to present no great threat. And yet, with little apparent hesitation, the Taser is deployed to bring him screaming to the ground -- where he is pounced upon by police. Judging by the speed of the arrest, the officers appear to have taken for granted the need for the Taser, without regard to the specific circumstances.

If this is the case -- and no final conclusion can be reached until all the evidence is heard -- it demands that rules regarding the use of these weapons be urgently reviewed. Evidence from other cases -- and there have been 17 deaths in Canada involving stun guns -- indicates the Taser has become a convenient weapon of first choice among some police forces. This is not acceptable.

It is supposed to be an alternative to the use of deadly force. And its use is appropriate only where other methods of physical restraint are thoroughly impractical. Dziekanski's fate will not have been in vain, if it leads to new police policies that do not expose citizens to needless death.


Geekwad said...

I've had a conversation with a police officer on another blog. He seems to feel almost exactly what you describe. That Tasers are not so much to prevent the loss of life, but rather to prevent the possibility of an officer getting injured in a takedown. He did not put it so bluntly, but I think it's clear.


taseroni said...

So what's your point geekwad? Police have to deal with enough shite and criminal miscreants on a daily basis. You don't see 1% of the shite they go through. Police should be able to protect themselves from unknown situations with unknown AGGRESSIVE a-holes. Period. Behave yourselves in public and you won't have to worry about feeling the taser son.

Jeannie A said...

There is a time and a place for everything - and certain circumstances require certain actions - however, if oyu listen to the audio on this recording, the RCMP officers are heard talking BEFORE they are even upon the situation to assess it - and one officer is heard asking "Can I TASER him" - they had already decided to use extreme force BEFORE assessing the situation. What might have happened if they took a clamer approach, and tried to find an interpretor?