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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Taser Inc. founder to testify at Braidwood Inquiry

May 6, 2008
By Travis Lupick, straight.com

Tom Smith, founder and chairman of Taser International Inc., is scheduled to appear in Vancouver next Monday (May 12) to present at the first Braidwood Inquiry.

Thomas R. Braidwood, a retired B.C. Supreme Court judge, was appointed by the Province to preside over two inquiries into the use of conducted energy weapons (commonly referred to as Tasers).

On May 5, the first Braidwood Inquiry began an investigation into how Tasers are used by police officers in British Columbia. The second inquiry will focus on the death of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver International Airport in October 2007. Its aim is to “provide the Dziekanski family and the public with a complete record of the circumstances of Mr. Robert Dziekanski’s death”, according to the Inquiry’s website.

Upon completion of both inquires, Braidwood is expected to make recommendations on how Tasers should be used by police in B.C. Those recommendations could include restrictions on when and how the weapon is used.

Although RCMP officers were involved in Dziekanski’s death, the RCMP will not be subject to Braidwood’s recommendations. As the RCMP is a national police force, a B.C. commission of inquiry has no authority over its officers’ conduct. The Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP is presently conducting its own review on the use of Tasers.

Subject to change, Smith is scheduled to appear at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue at 580 West Hastings Street for the Inquiry’s morning session, which will begin at 10 a.m. According to the inquiry’s website, commission forums are open to the public.

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