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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

taser targets lucky they weren't shot

August 12, 2008
Raise a Little Hell with Tom Brodbeck
The Winnipeg Sun

The 42-year-old man who fell on his head after being Tasered by police over the weekend was lucky he wasn’t shot with a Glock. If information by police is correct that the suspect refused to drop his knife, police may have been within their rights to shoot him.

A Taser is considered an intermediate weapon that falls into the same category as batons and pepper spray. According to an RCMP use-of-force expert from B.C. who testified at the Dumas inquest, intermediate weapons are not supposed to be used by police when suspects come after them with sharp objects.

They’re supposed to draw their service pistols.

The reason for that is Tasers aren’t fool proof. I believe the expert said they work in about 80% of cases. Which means if an officer’s life is in danger, they can’t rely on an 80% success rate. They need a reliable means of stopping the threat at that point and the only option is a firearm.

The expert was asked at the inquest whether a Taser would have been a viable option for Const. Dennis Gburek, who shot Dumas (if Tasers were available to Winnipeg police in 2005). He said it would not have been an option, especially in the winter when the success rate falls even further because of heavier clothing.

So these guys brandishing knives should count their lucky stars they were only Tasered. They probably should have been shot.

1 comment:

Excited-Delirium.com said...

Some word trickery going on here:

"suspect refused to drop his knife"

...is much different than...

"come after them with sharp objects"

In the first case, the threat may be nothing more than theoretical. Patience may be the best response. It may be a tentative suicide-by-cop, but perhaps the subject can be talked down.

In the second case, no reasonable person should complain if the police opened fire to protect themselves.

But none of this justifies the misuse, overuse, and abuse of tasers. Nor does it excuse the propaganda coming from Taser about the exact level of risk. And the latter is a significant cause of the former. So yes, it is Taser's fault.