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Friday, December 14, 2007

Kelowna RCMP apologize to man hit by Taser in car after parking violation

December 14, 2007
The Canadian Press

KELOWNA, B.C. - Kelowna RCMP have apologized to a 68-year-old man who was hit twice with a Taser as he sat in his car in downtown Kelowna last month. The officer who hit John Peters made a tactical error, RCMP Supt. Bill McKinnon said Friday after an administrative review of the incident. "We determined that the use of the conducted energy weapon or CEW while Mr. Peters remained seated in the driver's seat of his vehicle was in fact inappropriate," he told a news conference. "We in turn regret this particular action and have apologized to Mr. Peters for this tactical error in judgment."

The review found Peters was combative with the officer trying to arrest him. "I won't go into great detail other than to say that it was a heated moment between both the officer and Mr. Peters and he was combative in the actions in fighting off the arrest by the constable involved." McKinnon says a code of conduct investigation is underway and the officer, a four-year veteran, could face disciplinary action.

"Would the general public find the actions of this member to be disgraceful and that's why I've ordered the code of conduct because I believe that the general public would find the actions of this member to be disgraceful, causing embarrassment to our organization."

Peters filed a complaint after he was jolted twice by a stun gun during a verbal confrontation with a Mountie over a double parking violation. Peters, who suffers from a neurological disorder, admits he drove away as the officer was trying to ticket him, but pulled over a short distance later.

RCMP say they will restrict their use of Tasers to situations where something is being combative or actively resistant after a report criticized them for firing the stun guns too often. The review came after a Polish immigrant died at Vancouver International Airport after he was hit with a Taser fired by an RCMP officer.

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