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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Mountie stun gun tests reveal Taser anomalies

March 7, 2009

OTTAWA - A civil liberties group wants the federal Public Safety minister to conduct independent tests of RCMP stun guns.

In a letter to Peter Van Loan, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association says recent testing of Tasers by the national police force raises serious questions.

The RCMP began scrutinizing its stun guns in response to an analysis by the CBC and French-language Radio-Canada that found some Tasers pack more of a shock than the manufacturer promises.

The scientific review commissioned by the public broadcaster concluded that four out of 41 guns tested actually discharged more electrical current than Taser International says is possible.

In December, the RCMP said initial results of its own tests, carried out by an independent lab, showed all 30 Tasers pulled randomly from service for scrutiny were within the manufacturer's specifications.

This week the police force issued an update that said two of the stun guns tested "were found to be outside" Taser International's 2005 testing protocol standard for open circuit voltage.

Voltage is the amount of force driving a flow of electrons, while current is the rate of flow of those electrons.

In January, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association first raised concerns with the Public Safety minister about the manner in which the RCMP was testing its Tasers.

"We call on you again to test these devices comprehensively, and independently, so that the public can have confidence in the results, and to investigate immediately why and how the RCMP has so mishandled the public communication of the results of their Taser testing," says the association's latest letter to Van Loan.

A spokesman for Van Loan was not immediately available Friday.

RCMP complaints commission chairman Paul Kennedy has called on the police force to restrict Taser use to major threats where a person is combative or risks serious harm to themselves or others.

The RCMP says it has limited Taser use to situations involving a threat to officer or public safety.

A B.C. inquiry is probing an October 2007 incident in which Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski died after being stunned with a Taser and pinned to the floor by RCMP.

1 comment:

Excited-Delirium.com said...

While they're doing the electrical testing, someone should take a spectrogram of the X26 taser's output current waveform. Zoom in on the low frequency end.