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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Officer recounts tasering during inquiry of man's death

December 10, 2008
Richard Cuthbertson, Calgary Herald

A Red Deer City RCMP officer testified Wednesday that he was astonished that Jason Doan continued to battle as officers tried to subdue and arrest the man.

"The way his strength was, it's something I'd never seen before," Const. Chris Kosack told the fatality inquiry examining the circumstances of Doan's death.

Doan was Tasered by another officer during the fight on Aug. 10, 2006. He went into cardiac arrest and died in hospital three weeks later.

On the day of the arrest, Kosack said dispatch radioed him that someone was breaking windows in a Red Deer neighbourhood.

Kosack noted Doan, who fit the description of the suspect. He yelled for the man to stop, but Doan took off. Kosack ran after him, but as he rounded a mini-van, Doan struck him on the head with the handle or shaft of a potato fork.

Kosack said the hit grazzed his head and sent him towards the ground. Doan, he said, took off again and Kosack resumed his chase.

After a brief pursuit, Kosack said he managed to tackle Doan. The man was stronger than the officer and as they wrestled Kosack yelled for help. A civilian witness came to his aid and tried to hold Doan's legs down.

But Doan kept struggling Kosack said. The officer testified he tried to subdue the man by punching him multiple times in the face as Doan lay on his stomach. Kosack said he told Doan to give up his arms he could be handcuffed. It was to no avail.

Another RCMP officer arrived, and she kicked Doan in the side, Kosack said. Moments later, a third officer came and Tasered the still struggling Doan, Kosack said.

The first Taser hit did nothing. But after the second, Kosack said officers were able to get Doan under control and handcuff him.

It was shortly after fight that Kosack said he heard one of the other officers say that Doan was turning blue. Kosack said he rushed to his police vehicle and retrieved a CPR mask. He returned to Doan and Kosack said he and another officer began giving the man CPR until paramedics had arrived.

Kosack told the inquiry he believed it had been a good idea to use the Taser, as no other "avenues" seemed successful in arresting Doan.

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