November 5, 2008
By NADIA MOHARIB, SUN MEDIA
The Calgary Sun
Knee-jerk reactions to a recent Calgary police call involving a Taser, and ultimately a man's death, are another example of baseless fearmongering about the device rampant in Canada, says a company official.
Although Steve Tuttle, Taser International communications vice-president, couldn't comment on the case here last week -- where a man died shortly after being arrested by cops who used a Taser in a bid to subdue him -- he said it appears to be another example where "hard science and fact is overlooked" in favour of conjecture and controversy.
And, he said, it is ultimately to the detriment of taxpayers who rely on police who have the tool as one way to protect the public.
"The absolute hysteria that has grabbed Canada ... borders on near insanity," Tuttle said yesterday from Scottsdale, Ariz.
"Not one coroner in Canada has ruled any death as caused by a Taser device or even contributory to date."
His comments come days after Gordon Bowe died shortly after being arrested by Calgary police during a Saturday night southeast break-in.
Police said the 30-year-old B.C. man was acting irrationally in the 500 block of 42 St. S.E., before he jumped through a window into a basement of a vacant duplex and a Taser was used to try and subdue him.
A police union official said Bowe, who appeared be under the influence of drugs, was hit by a Taser but only one probe struck him.
And such a scenario would render a Taser entirely ineffective, said Tuttle, explaining both a positive and negative probe on the device must make contact with an individual for it to work.
"It's an all-or-nothing scenario," he said. "Either you get a circuit or you don't ... the bottom line is, you need two probes for a five-second application."
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team is investigating the case to determine if police actions were lawful and see if the Taser strike was successful or not.
ASIRT executive director Clifton Purvis said findings could take months with investigators now waiting on a medical examiner's report to determine cause of death.
And Tuttle said -- in any case where the facts are still unfolding -- it's premature and irresponsible for speculation on the Taser's role, if any, in a death.
"Of course, whenever you have a tragic death, emotions will run high, but you have to wait for the facts to come out," he said. "All that fearmongering and hysteria is jeopardizing citizens in terms of safety."
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
November 5, 2008