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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

EDITORIAL: No reason to trust

March 26th, 2008
Times & Transcript (Moncton, NB)

The RCMP is saying "trust us" when it comes to the use of electric stun guns, or tasers. It says that taser use has been appropriate and the public should just take their word rather than be given the relevant facts to independently judge for ourselves. The RCMP stand doesn't cut it. Privacy concerns, as cited, have nothing to do with it. Rather this is an attempt to avoid accountability so the RCMP can use tasers any time, anywhere, and under any circumstances without answering to anybody. That is the way of a police state. By refusing to provide relevant information, the RCMP demonstrates it cannot be trusted.

The New Brunswick government must create specific guidelines for taser use. These should make tasers a line of true defence for police, not just a convenient way to subdue someone. There are legitimate concerns about tasers that must be addressed. Their use is rising dramatically and evidence suggests tasers are being used inappropriately for convenience, not necessity. Given the dangers (19 people have died in Canada in seven years after being tasered), this is unacceptable. So too is withholding information that indicates whether the police are following acceptable use policy or not. The RCMP must prove it can be trusted.

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