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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Taser victims stunned multiple times, says report

November 26, 2008
Tanya Foubert, For The Calgary Herald

RCMP Officers in Canmore and Banff are stunning people with Tasers multiple times to gain compliance, according to an investigation by the Rocky Mountain Outlook.

Documents obtained through the Access to Information Act reveal that since 2005, when reporting all uses of the weapon was mandated for officers, RCMP in both Banff and Canmore have used Tasers on stun mode multiple times, on average 40 per cent of the time.

Records indicate Lake Louise RCMP, on the other hand, since 2005 have drawn the weapon eight times but have never deployed it.

In light of the deaths of two men in Alberta after being Tasered, Alberta's Civil Liberties Association president Stephen Jenuth says use of the weapons should cease. "I do not think Tasers are needed," Jenuth said. "The idea is to use an electrical device to mess up body chemistry to gain compliance. Sometimes what is really required is good policing, but the Taser is often used."

The Calgary-based lawyer said his concern about the Taser is that instead of being used only in extreme situations when an officer's life is in danger, it is also commonly used by officers to gain compliance, much like a cattle prod. "It is the first line of response (for police) and it takes away the necessity to use any other training we give officers," Jenuth said.

Staff Sgt. Shannon Johnson in Canmore and Wayne Wiebe in Banff said they could not comment on the data because of RCMP policy. RCMP use of force co-ordinator Cpl. Greg Gillis said Tasers in stun mode are specifically designed to gain compliance from aggressive or combative people and officers are permitted to use them multiple times.

Last year, the weapon was drawn by Alberta RCMP officers a total of 379 times. It was used only 283 times and in 129 of those incidents it was used multiple times.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cops Tase 54 Year Old Woman For Sitting In Wrong Seat At Football Game

Eyewitness captures video, police falsely say taser intended for compliance

Wisconsin Police were caught on camera tasing a 54 year old woman and confining her to a wheel chair after she sat in the wrong seat at a football game in Madison.
Margaret Hiebing, a veteran Badger season ticket holder, was ejected from the Camp Randall stadium during the Oct. 11 game against Penn State after she was found sitting in the wrong seat, reports WKOW 27 News.
Hiebing had taken a different seat because someone else had occupied her usual place at the packed game.
When police approached Mrs Hiebing she explained the situation and refused to leave. Onlookers began to berate the cops after one of them reportedly threatened Hiebing with pepper spray.
One witness filmed the altercation on a cell phone, evidence which would later dispel initial police claims that Hiebing was causing an obstruction by sitting in the aisle.
Police then forced Hiebing face down on the ground and tased her on the back of the leg.
Hiebing was then placed in a wheel chair and ejected as she was unable to walk out of the stadium.
Former Wisconsin Department of Justice Training and Standards Director Dennis Hanson described the tasing as ” the next step to force compliance” and told 27 News the use of a taser is an accepted intermediate option when the subject of police commands is not cooperating.
This is simply not true.
The weapon is designed to be used as a last resort before lethal force when a suspect becomes violent and the officer feels their own safety is under threat.
The police are now trained that “pain compliance,” a euphemism for torture, is acceptable in apprehending anyone even if that person poses no physical danger.
This case once again highlights the fact that police are using the Taser to get non-violent suspects to simply do what they are told, rather than for their intended purpose as the very last line of defense before the handgun.
Taser has been the subject of much controversy and outrage all over the world.
Last year the UN’s Committee Against Torture issued a statement on the TaserX26, which read: “The use of TaserX26 weapons, provoking extreme pain, constituted a form of torture, and that in certain cases it could also cause death, as shown by several reliable studies and by certain cases that had happened after practical use.”
Doctors in the U.S. and Canada have spoken out against the devices and have accused Taser International of corporate intimidation.
Meanwhile, the UK government wants to arm London police with 10,000 tasers, a plan that police have said they will boycott because of the potential the devices have to cause fear and damage public confidence.
WKOW 27 news reports that over two dozen witnesses have signed a petition stating that the police conduct in Margaret Hiebing’s case was not appropriate.
While stadium video of the altercation also exists, police are keeping it under wraps and have said the incident is still under review.