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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

RCMP probe of taser incident a whitewash, victim says

December 18, 2007
CBC News

A Kelowna, B.C., man and his wife say an RCMP investigation into why he was shocked by a Taser stun gun over a parking violation amounts to a whitewash.

John Peters, 68, was jolted twice with a Taser fired by a Kelowna Mountie following an incident in which he drove off after the officer tried to give him a ticket for double parking. Peters stopped his car a short distance later, and was subsequently hit twice with the stun gun.

The RCMP report released Friday found the officer acted improperly by using the Taser on Peters while he was still in his car. But it also said the officer was generally justified in using the Taser a second time after Peters got out of his car, because Peters was combative and lashing out with his arms.

That version of events is false, according to Peters and his wife. "I was trying to avoid his vicious attack, because he'd already punched me," Peters told CBC News on Monday. "I didn't know what to expect. I didn't hit him though. I never hit him." Peters's wife Ann, who was in the car at the time, said her husband only put his hands over his face after the officer punched him in the mouth, and that the officer used the Taser twice on her husband while he was still in the car.
"John never hit the officer. He was never tased outside the car. He was tased both times inside the car."

The finding of the RCMP investigation that her husband was combative is simply not true, she said. "I was shocked, because there was very little truth to most of what was said. It was a complete whitewash."

B.C. Civil Liberties president Jason Gratl said the case shows why the police should not investigate themselves. "The investigation easily raises as many questions as it answers, and it doesn't do much to restore the reputation of the RCMP to the public," said Gratl, who is now calling for an independent inquiry. John Peters said he is considering legal action.

Last week the RCMP apologized to Peters, and said the officer would be disciplined for using his Taser on Peters while he was in the car, which is not correct procedure.

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