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Friday, March 27, 2009

Quebec minister orders all Tasers to be tested

March 27, 2009
CTV.ca News Staff

Quebec's public security minister is ordering police officers to turn in their Taser guns for testing before they can be used again on the street.

The provincial Forensic Sciences and Forensic Pathology lab in Montreal will test all of the Taser guns to ensure they meet all the technical specifications outlined by the manufacturer.

"All stun weapons must have received a certificate from the (lab) before they are used by officers," Dupuis said in a statement.

In December 2008, Dupuis ordered a review of a certain model, the Taser X-26, manufactured before 2006.

The lab found five of 52 units tested did not operate within the manufacturer's specification and they were destroyed.

One of the X-26 Tasers belonged to Longueuil police, three were issued in the Akwesasne Mohawk reserve at the Ontario border and one was from Eastmain, in northern Quebec.

Police have confirmed that the five Tasers were never used on people.

Quebec has already imposed several guidelines for the use of Tasers, including notifying the person that the device could be used.

Police are also told not to target the head, neck, heart and genitals of a person they are targeting.

More than 20 Canadians have died after being Tasered.

The most prominent recent case involved Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski, who died in October, 2007, after RCMP officers repeatedly zapped him.

His death is now the subject of an inquiry in B.C.

Since the public uproar surrounding the devices, the RCMP complaints commissioner reports Taser use among Mounties dropped 30 per cent in 2008, from a peak of 1,500 incidents in 2007.

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