September 3, 2008
By Dan Delmar, The Suburban
It began as an unremarkable Sunday evening for Haitian-Montrealer Quilem Registre. The troubled 38-year-old was living in a halfway house after being convicted on theft charges and was battling substance abuse problems. On Oct. 14, 2007, he borrowed his girlfriend’s car at around 5 p.m. and made his way to his parents’ house in east-end Montreal. He then drove his father and one of his four sisters to Mass. Four hours later, Registre would be pinned to the ground with 50,000 volts of electricity surging through his body. Four days later, Registre would take his last breath.
Registre was sober when he left his family at around 7 p.m. Two hours later, two Montreal police officers were on patrol along Jean-Rivard St. in St. Michel when they were passed by a car that failed to stop at the corner of 24th Ave.; Registre had relapsed and was driving erratically. The officers activated the cruiser’s emergency lights and both cars came to a stop a block away, on 23rd Ave.
The officer known only as “B.” left his vehicle and approached Registre, who, according to the police report, was “gripping onto the steering wheel with both hands and he was tense...he was so tense that he was lifting himself up from his seat.” He was screaming hysterically and B. couldn’t understand what he was saying, let alone what language he was saying it in. The officer tried to open the car door to get him out, but Registre turned the ignition on and took off. He sideswiped two parked cars before colliding with a third, which eventually brought him to a full stop.
“The man, still hysterical, was looking at me with wide eyes, as if he had seen something terrifying,” B. wrote in his report. “I spoke: “Calm down.” He didn’t listen to me and didn’t stop screaming.”
B. said Registre, still in the driver’s seat, was punching and kicking him. The officer managed to hold him down until his partner, “T.”, approached the car. “Taser!” T. yelled. “The X26 was holstered on my belt,” B. said. “I backed up at least one metre, taking out the weapon from its pouch, and pointed the laser on the chest of the man, who was now standing and resisting.”
Once the probes were stuck to the body of Registre, B. pulled the trigger, causing what’s known as “electro-muscular disruption” (EMD); the head-to-toe convulsions that result from electrocution. “The man fell onto his chest. I ordered him to “show your hands.”“ Registre continued to resist. He began to pick himself up and B. said it appeared he was about to lunge at the officer. That’s when B. pulled the trigger a second time.
T. then had Registre pinned to the ground. The two shocks failed to calm the man and he continued to struggle, hiding his hands under his chest to avoid being handcuffed. A third Taser jolt. “As soon as the (five-second) EMD effect had finished, the man once again started to resist arrest,” B. said. “I observed no sign of submission.” A fourth shock. And a fifth. B. approached Registre and tried to help T. restrain him, still with no luck. “His right hand was still underneath him, as if he was looking for something.” A sixth and final shock was sent before T. managed to handcuff Registre. The Taser was used on the man six times in only 53 seconds. Eight minutes after the final shock, the officers called for an ambulance.
Registre, in the end, was unarmed; a crack-pipe was found in the car. On his arrival at Sacré-Coeur hospital, doctors noted that his breathing was irregular, his body temperature and pulse were dropping drastically and it was confirmed that both crack-cocaine and alcohol were in his bloodstream. Into the early hours of Monday, Oct. 15, his health deteriorated. His small intestine and colon were failing and he suffered cardiac arrest the next day, requiring immediate CPR to keep him alive. By Wednesday, Oct. 17, Registre was in intensive care and in such a delicate state that he couldn’t even be moved to an operating room.
That night, doctors told the family that the situation was “catastrophic and irreversible.” As per their wishes, treatment continued into the early hours of Thursday, Oct. 18, but to no avail. At 3:35 a.m., Quilem Registre was no more.
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
September 3, 2008