A video has surfaced showing a 45-year-old disabled man being jolted by a Taser inside a Kamloops, B.C. RCMP detachment. The video shows John Dempsey, who suffered from a muscle disorder, being wrestled to the ground by two RCMP officers, who then used the conducted energy weapon on him while he was on the ground. In 2004, Dempsey, 45, was arrested for obstructing a police officer who had tried to intervene in the arrest of a friend he thought the Mounties were roughing up.
When officers led Dempsey to the booking room, police said he was combative. He put his foot on the door, and was wrestled to the ground by two officers. While he was on the ground, face down, hands handcuffed behind his back, Cpl. Macahonic pulled out his Taser, placed it on Dempsey's back, and pulled the trigger. "I wasn't resisting arrest, I calmly walked, he grabbed me, and said this will teach you not to [profanity] with you, that's what he said," Dempsey said later.
Dempsey launched a lawsuit accusing the RCMP of excessive force. He alleged he was not the only one who was Tasered unnecessarily -- he was punched in the face by the arresting officer. Dempsey died a few weeks ago after he was hit by a car on the Coquihalla Highway in an unrelated incident.
Only recently did the law firm who represented Dempsey get a hold of the video. RCMP Cpl. Annie Linteau said there was an internal investigation into whether officers used excessive force. In a statement of defence filed in court, the RCMP says the officer who Tasered Dempsey used only as much force as was necessary. "The continuing and increasing levels of combativeness and resistance elevated the level of intervention necessary to control him," said the filing.
The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has called for a moratorium on Tasers. "We've got a systemic problem that demands an immediate answer," said Jason Gratl.
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Tuesday, March 11, 2008