April 23, 2008
BY BROOKS DECILLIA, CBC News
The family of an Alberta man who died after being hit by an RCMP Taser in Red Deer almost two years ago hopes a fatality inquiry starting Wednesday will reveal the answers they've been looking for.
"We want to know why a 28-year-old man that is completely strong ends up dying," Surya Doan said in an exclusive interview with CBC News and the Canadian Press. "If it wasn't the Taser, what was it?"
Doan and her family believe RCMP officers used excessive force to subdue her brother, Jason, a pipeline worker, on Aug. 10, 2006, in a park in the central Alberta city.
Internal RCMP reports obtained by the two media outlets offer some details of what happened that day. Jason Doan was smashing car windows and wielding the broken end of a shovel, so officers chased and brought him to the ground, then shocked him with the controversial stun gun.
"His left arm was already in a handcuff and three officers were over him at this point," said his sister, who spoke to police and eyewitnesses herself. "They administered a five-second stun mode to him. They said at that point, he was continuing to struggle so they administered another five second, 50,000 volts."
Police stunned him a third time because they said he was still fighting back.
"They turned him over to put his handcuff on him in the front and he was blue. His face was blue," said Surya Doan.
Jason Doan was unconscious and his heart had stopped. Police resuscitated him, but he died three weeks later of heart failure.
Internal reports indicated that police suspected Doan, who had no criminal record, was using cocaine and alcohol when officers confronted him, but a toxicology report found otherwise. "He had no drugs or alcohol in his body that day. Toxicology found none," said Surya Doan.
The medical examiner listed three factors on the death certificate: excited delirium, heart failure and undetermined causes. No drugs or alcohol were found in his system.
She has high hopes for Alberta's public fatality inquiry that begins Wednesday: "How do you say as a civilian you're mad at the RCMP? You're taught to trust them and believe in them. And it's a really confusing state for a family to have to deal with something like this … We live in a democracy," she said with tears filling her eyes.
The RCMP said it can't comment on what happened to Jason Doan, but did say it welcomes the inquiry.
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