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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Taser International says taser reaction in Canada 'near insanity'

November 5, 2008
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."


Anonymous said...

Ultimately, it is the Canadian taxpayers who ARE RESPONSIBLE for police to be armed with a safe, non lethal and effective tool as one way to protect the public. If Mr. Tuttle finds Canadians hysterical and near insane over the misuse and abuse of his taser, he may well come to appreciate the fact that Canadian people are taking note and losing faith in him and his device. And we do not accept his insults just because we may be affecting his bottom line.

Anonymous said...

Taser spokespuppet Tuttle is making statements that are not true. And I believe that he knows that these statements are not true.

Tuttle stated that both taser probes must hit the victim in order to complete the circuit.

This statement is not true.

If the second probe hits the ground, and the subject is making contact with the ground, then the circuit can be completed via the ground path.

In fact, this ground path is exactly how an electrified cattle fence works (over miles). And the taser works on exactly the same extreme voltage principles as does an electrified fence.

This is almost common knowledge for anyone with any basic working understanding of electrical technology. The spokespuppet for the leading maker of portable electric shock torture devices should know this.

I believe that the Taser training material even mentions that the taser circuit can be completed via a grounded paths where one probe is grounded.

The level of misinformation (this being just one example) being distributed by Taser should give ethical people involved with either side of this debate reason to pause.

Nobody likes to be associated with lying propagandists spreading misinformation. It is up to the reader to decide if this nasty description applies in this case.