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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Taser subdues man at Calgary auto dealer

February 18, 2009
Calgary Herald

A man was taken to hospital after being Tasered by police Tuesday, but a witness and police say the controversial stun gun helped officers make a difficult arrest.

The man entered a northeast dealership's service area around 7:30 a. m., ranting, threatening staff and refusing to leave, police say.

"He was very, very agitated, saying he was the devil and that he was going to kill us all,"said Scott Schotanus of Universal Ford Mercury Lincoln on Bar-low Trail.

Staff called police and tried to calm the man before help arrived a few minutes later.

The man resisted police and sat behind the wheel of a car, staff say.

"It took four large police officers to take him down," said Schotanus.

"Thank God they had the Taser. Quite honestly, I don't know what other path they had. It was totally warranted."

The man was taken to hospital to be assessed because his behaviour did not change, even after being arrested, say police.

Taser use has become a source of controversy, with the RCMP saying last week it is changing its stun gun policy.The national police force said it recognized Tasers can be deadly and said they are to be used only when there is a threat to an officer or public safety.

Calgary police said they would not make changes to their policies. Calgary officers are instructed to use them only when a suspect is showing assaultive, violent or suicidal behaviour, or if the suspect resists lawful arrest or attempts to flee.

In Tuesday's case, police say the man was acting aggressively and violently, and, though they issued verbal warnings, he did not comply with demands, so the Taser was used.

"Every case is different, but in this case, it did help," said duty inspector Rob Williams.

The province announced recently it has sent 100 of the X26 Tasers to be tested in an Ontario lab after television reports showed the stun guns could deliver a charge larger than the manufacturer deemed possible.

The Solicitor General's office is still awaiting results of the tests and hopes to test another 300 devices before the end of March.

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