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Friday, May 02, 2008

RCMP commissioner, Alberta solicitor general zapped by taser

May 2, 2008
The Canadian Press and CBC News

Alberta's solicitor general says being hit with a Taser was one of the most painful experiences he's ever had. He and RCMP Commissioner William Elliott agreed to be shot by the stun gun.

Fred Lindsay said it was Elliott's idea to be shocked with the electronic gun Thursday after they watched a demonstration by an RCMP emergency response team on Thursday. "I think it started with the commissioner, just in conversation, so it just proceeded from there," Lindsay said Friday.

Elliott was the first to get the jolt, which burned a tiny hole in his shirt from the electric charge, said Lindsay, who added he pulled a T-shirt over his own shirt before he was zapped. "My shirt survived and so did I."

It wasn't clear exactly where in the torso either man was hit.

A spokesman for the RCMP in Ottawa said Elliott would not be commenting on the experience. But Lindsay described his shock as one of the most painful experiences in his life. "I remained standing up, but certainly was unable to do anything as far as moving. It freezes you to the spot. I couldn't describe any experience that would be more painful than that. It's pretty much over the whole body," he said. "Certainly afterwards, it's a little bit warm in those two entry points." Lindsay said he was fine moments later: "Within seconds, the pain is gone and you're back to normal."

The solicitor general said it firmed up in his mind that the Taser is an effective tool in handling situations where police need to control an aggressive individual who may harm themselves, police or a member of the public.

Elliott told a Commons committee in February that he'd never been hit with a Taser, voluntarily or otherwise.

In April 2003, the RCMP issued an operational bulletin prohibiting use of the Taser on civilian volunteers for demonstration purposes. However, the force has frequently turned the weapon on officers in training sessions.

At least one Mountie and several U.S. police officers have sued over injuries allegedly sustained during such instruction.

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