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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sister of man who died after Taser used on him urges activism

As Canadians are learning the hard way, Coroners Inquests and Fatality Inquiries in Canada do NOT represent the interests of the deceased OR their families. As the Doan family and the Bagnell family and many others have found, these inquests and inquiries are more about "saving the taser" than they are about learning from these deaths and making intelligent recommendations to prevent further such deaths.

Officialdom is NOT the least bit interested in INDEPENDENT witnesses recommended by the families of the deceased. Instead, the taser fan club (the Christine Hall's of the world) is marched out at each and every Canadian inquest and inquiry. Christine has shown up with her "excited delirium" SPIEL at several, if not all, Canadian inquests, including my brother's. Even the weapon's manufacturer, TASER INTERNATIONAL, was granted standing at my brother's inquest with two lawyers from a large national Canadian law firm there to represent their vast interests and to OBJECT to everything that might have put the safety of tasers in question.

THIS MUST STOP!!!! But no one seems to "get it."

December 18, 2008

Families of people who have died after being Tasered by police need to fight for their rights at inquiries, says the sister of a young man killed in August 2006.

After closing arguments at an inquiry into the death of Jason Doan, 28, Surya Doan told reporters her family was shut down in their attempts to bring additional witnesses before the proceedings.

She urged the mother of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski, who died shortly after being stunned with a Taser by RCMP officers at the Vancouver airport in October 2007, to continue pressing for justice.

Demand your own forensic pathologist," she said. Do not be shut up or shut out."

Doan said the inquiry looking into her brother's death would not allow the family to call a forensic pathologist of their choosing.

Jason Doan died 20 days after being Tasered three times by RCMP. Police had been called after witnesses saw him in a highly agitated state, talking incoherently and smashing windows on vehicles while walking down a street.

Surya Doan said the family requested two additional witnesses at a pre-inquiry conference in April but they were protested against by RCMP lawyer David Stam.

She suggested the inquiry was skewed" by the testimony of Dr. Christine Hall, an emergency room doctor from Victoria. Hall testified she received a $300,000 grant from the Canadian Police Research Centre and $100,000 from a justice department in the United States for her research into excited delirium.

Hall told the inquiry there could have been an underlying medical issue in Doan's case because when he was arrested there wasn't any trace of illegal drugs or alcohol in his body.

Hall also said people with excited delirium have an altered level of consciousness, can be incoherent and can engage in random violence and destruction.

In his closing argument, Stam said the officers who restrained Doan and those who investigated his death all followed proper procedures.

Stam said both the pathologist who performed the autopsy and Hall concluded there wasn't a causal link between the death and Taser use.

Will Willier, the Doan family lawyer, said Jason's behaviour may have been bizarre but it wasn't criminal.

He said the RCMP, emergency medical personnel and dispatchers for both agencies should receive specialized training in dealing with people who exhibit traits of excited delirium.

Provincial court Judge Monica Bast said she will try to make a report to the Justice Department minister as soon as possible.

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