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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

B.C.'s inquiry into tasers will include use by transit police

April 16, 2008
Canwest News Service

Vancouver-area transit police will be included in a public inquiry into the use of Tasers by B.C. police officers after reports the stun guns were used on at least four non-violent transit users in the past year.

Former justice Thomas Braidwood, who is conducting two inquiries into Taser use, said Tuesday he will examine reports that passengers -- primarily those who had failed to pay their fares -- were Tasered by SkyTrain transit police.

B.C.'s SkyTrain police are the only armed transit police force in Canada. "That is unique and we will look at it," he said of the Taser reports. Braidwood's comments followed a Vancouver Sun column Tuesday that showed Tasers had been used four times against non-violent passengers.

The information, obtained by Vancouver writer Gordon Keast under Freedom of Information legislation, also showed that SkyTrain police have used the stun gun on 10 occasions since last July.

TransLink spokesman Peter Lowe said he couldn't comment on the reports, noting that the Greater Vancouver Transit Authority has its own police board and know the issue. "They have to address it themselves," he said.

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