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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Taser played no role in man's death: Quebec coroner

Claudio Castagnetta will remain on my list - this changes nothing.

See also Judge rules for Taser in cause-of-death decisions, which says: "Taser officials have repeatedly said that MEDICAL EXAMINERS WHO RULE AGAINST THE STUN GUN ARE NOT QUALIFIED TO JUDGE WHETHER A TASER WAS A FACTOR IN SOMEONE'S DEATH (emphasis mine). In court disputes, it often presents opposing testimony from company representatives, doctors and medical examiners paid by the firm. "The qualifications of a medical examiner depend on their professional and educational background as well as their level of understanding of Taser technology and the underlying effects of electricity upon the human body," [Steve] Tuttle said.

Which leads me to ask: What boundless credentials, then, does Coroner Jean Brochu possess that QUALIFY HIM to judge that the Taser was NOT a factor in Mr. Castagnetta's death?

November 4, 2008
Canwest News Service

QUEBEC - A Quebec coroner released his report Tuesday into the death of an Italian immigrant who was in police custody after he was shocked with a Taser in 2007. Coroner Jean Brochu said in his report that the use of the Taser did not cause Castagnetta's death. Brochu said the cause of death was an accidental severe cerebral edema, or swelling of the brain.

Claudio Castagnetta, 32, died Sept. 20, 2007, while in custody of Quebec City police. He was shocked four times with a police Taser and jailed without receiving medical care.

In August, a Quebec Crown prosecutor ruled no criminal charges would be laid in the case.

Friends and relatives of Castagnetta have called for a public inquiry into his sudden death and Italian authorities have criticized the Quebec government for failing to provide an explanations about the circumstances of his death.

The coroner is the last to look into the death and the province's coroner in chief has the power to call for a public inquiry.

The report comes days after separate incidents in which two men died after having being shocked with a Taser gun by Canadian police. A British Columbia man, Gordon Walker Bowe, 30, died Sunday afternoon in a Calgary hospital, less than a day after a confrontation with police. And last Wednesday, Trevor Grimolfson, 38, died in Edmonton after he was stunned twice with a Taser following a disturbance at a pawn shop.

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