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Thursday, June 05, 2008

RCMP explain their reason for using stun gun on man following stand-off

June 5, 2008
by Tina Comeau/The Vanguard

The RCMP says the reason they used a stun gun on a man following a standoff in Tusket on Monday morning was because when the person finally exited the house, he looked to be concealing something and would not obey police commands to release his arm.

The police say they did not deploy the weapon’s darts that send a high jolt of electricity throughout a person’s body, but rather they placed the weapon to the man’s arm in the stun gun mode to get him to release his arm.

“In layman’s terms it would be like putting your finger in a socket. You’re going to feel it in your arm more than you are in the rest of your body,” says provincial RCMP spokesperson Sergeant Mark Gallagher. “You may feel it in the rest of your body, but the jolt is going to be in your arm.”

The RCMP responded to an incident at a residence on the John White Road in Tusket in the early morning hours of June 2. They say a man inside the residence had barricaded himself and was armed with a weapon. Court documents identify the weapon as a rifle.

After negotiating with the man over the telephone, Sgt. Gallagher says he had agreed to come out of the residence through the front door. But a half hour went by before the man came out and when he did, he came out through the back door instead.

“He came out and he looked to be concealing something,” Sgt. Gallagher says. “He was asked to show what he was concealing several times, for I don’t know how long, but it seemed long enough, 15, 20 minutes. We negotiated for a while longer, he refused. He was very verbal and for us that’s combative resistance.”

The RCMP officer says in a situation like this the police have to consider officer safety and public safety. They also have to consider the safety of the individual they’re dealing with so they do not cause harm to themselves.

While the general public has come to know the stun gun weapons police use as Tasers, because of their manufacturer, the RCMP refer to them as CEWs or conducted energy weapons.

The RCMP say since they determined the man was not going to comply, it was decided that when they could get close enough to him they would rush him to try and control him.

“He was again asked to release his arm,” Sgt. Gallagher says. “When asked to show his arm or release his arms he wouldn’t do it. The weapon was used in a stun gun mode.”

The man, it turned out, was not concealing anything, but Sgt. Gallagher says police cannot take the risk.

Sgt. Gallagher says from the RCMP’s perspective, it is not felt that the man surrendered himself. But he does say it is the RCMP’s position that the stand-off ended peacefully because there was no loss of life and no one was badly injured.

The man charged at the scene is 38-year-old Darren John Doucette who lives at the residence. Sgt. Gallagher says he was checked over by medical personnel at the scene.

“He was examined by EHS immediately after. They know how to examine these people really well, especially when they’re in a very high stress situation and if there was any need at all to transport him to the hospital we certainly would have,” he says.

Doucette was brought to the RCMP office and further monitored.

“Because of all of the incidents happening across Canada, we certainly keep a very close eye on people, no one is left alone. If there is any reason or need to transport them to the hospital (we would),” says Sgt. Gallagher.

Doucette has been charged with five offences, including criminal harassment, obstructing or interfering with the use of a property, storing a weapon in an unsafe manner, using a firearm without reasonable precaution and resisting and failing to adhere with lawful commands.

He has been sent for a psychiatric assessment and is due back in court June 17.

None of the police allegations have yet to be proven in court. The assessment being conducted on Doucette will explore issues of fitness and criminal responsibility.

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