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Monday, March 30, 2009

Cops abused authority in Taser arrest, committee rules

March 30, 2009
The Gazette (Montreal)

Quebec’s police ethics committee has ruled two officers of the Chisasibi Cree First Nation police force abused their authority and used a Taser gun without justification in the 2007 arrest of a resident.

The ruling by lawyer Martha Montour stated that Constables Robert Shem and William Tebiscom did not have justification to arrest Aibellie Shauk, even though his father had complained that he was in possession of weapons, which were a violation of his parole conditions.

Shem entered Shauk’s father’s home in Chisasibi near James Bay, about 1,300 kilometres northwest of Montreal, and found Shauk lying on a couch, under a blanket. He ordered Shauk to get up from the couch and walk toward him. When he didn’t, Shem tried to arrest him. In the ensuing struggle, Shem discharged his Taser twice to immobilize Shauk. Shauk was arrested, but never charged with any offences relating to weapons possession. The weapons had been removed by other officers who visited the house earlier.

The committee said while officers were justified in entering Shauk’s home, Shauk didn’t represent a threat, nor did he commit any offence.

The arrest was ruled illegal, and therefore the use of the Taser gun was also inappropriate.

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