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Thursday, September 25, 2008

New protocol was followed - Minister won't intervene in taser case

September 25, 2008
DARRELL COLE, The Amherst Daily News

AMHERST - Justice Minister Cecil Clarke is not going to intervene in a review of Taser use being conducted by the Amherst Police Department following the recent shocking of a patient in medical distress.

"The local department has its own review process and my understanding from talking to the chief of police there is that the new governance standards were followed," Clarke said. "Everything I'm aware of is it falled within the standards and the department is doing its followup and due diligence on the matter."

The minister's comments come a few days after Amherst Police confirmed its officers used a Taser on a man in diabetic shock who was resisting treatment by EHS paramedics.

The man's wife, who spoke on the condition of withholding her identity, is calling for an inquiry into Taser use so no one else will have to go through what her husband did.

Clarke suggested giving the department time to conduct its review and said the man who was tased by police and his family have the right to complain to the police complaints commission.

The minister also took exception to comments made by Liberal justice critic Michel Samson, who called on him to clearly define appropriate protocol for using the device.

"There is a protocol in place and the changes we have put in place are based on the two reviews we completed. Nova Scotia has completed one of the most comprehensive reviews in Canada," the minister said. "Mr. Samson is wrong and is misinformed about the fact the standards have changed. There is a strict criteria with regards to the imminent threat to members of the public or law enforcement officials and others and it was followed."

In July, the province completed the second part of a ministerial review of the policies and use of conductive energy devices. The 36-page review contained 16 recommendations from an advisory panel that looked at policies and procedures governing the use of Tasers.

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