A letter I sent today.
Dear Chair and Members of the Guelph Police Services Board,
I am writing to you today, further to Thana Dharmarajah's April 25, 2009 Guelph Mercury article entitled Too Close for Comfort? and the editorial entitled A private firm, but a public flap which said: "The Guelph Police Services Board discussed this month a suggestion that it should review whether the officer might have a conflict of interest through running his private company. But the matter was dropped when Guelph Police Chief Rob Davis informed the panel the subject poses no such concerns." I would suggest to you, the members of the Guelph Police Services Board, that you reconsider whether this subject indeed does pose some significant concerns.
In August 2005, in a complaint which I submitted to the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner for British Columbia, I outlined my concerns about Victoria Police Sergeant Darren Laur, who strongly endorsed tasers and played a pivotal role in their introduction into Canadian policing, but had been shown to have financial ties to Taser International. It should be noted that, like Constable Mulder, Sergeant Laur DID have the approval of the Victoria Chief of Police to operate his private company. And, in fact, during the five months following my complaint to the OPCC, the Victoria Police Chief sought to have my complaint dismissed, because he personally felt there was no recognized default having been committed by Sergeant Laur. I continued to insist and the OPCC agreed that, pursuant to the BC Police Act, he was obligated to properly characterize and process the complaint. And so in January 2006, the Chair of the Victoria Police Board directed the Chief of Police to conduct an investigation.
The ensuing investigation, which was completed in August 2007, undertook to review the issues respecting conflict of interest and police officers, including a review of existing policies and practices and legal opinions from several jurisdictions both in Canada and elsewhere. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the Chief of Police was a witness and, as such, his role as Discipline Authority was designated to the Chief of Police of the Port Moody (BC) Police Department.
A very thorough investigation concluded that the Victoria Police Department's policies dealing with conflict of interest issues were inadequate and that there did in fact exist a perceived or apparent conflict of interest in this case. A number of significant policy-change recommendations were made to the Victoria Police Board, which the Board in turn strongly supported. Those recommendations have now been implemented into a new and comprehensive Conflict of Interest policy that will give the public more confidence and should greatly reduce the number of instances where the off-duty interests of police officers would conflict with their roles and responsibilities to the police departments with whom they are employed.
The Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner for British Columbia, in its final review of the investigation, noted that the types of policy changes as a result of the investigation were worthy of other police departments to take note of and recommended that consideration be given to amending the BC Police Act to include a section dealing with conflicts of interest. The new Victoria Chief of Police, Bill Naughton, said "it [conflict of interest] is a common, but largely unexamined, area of concern in North American policing. This is not a Victoria issue alone, this runs across Canada, and as far as I know we're the only agency across Canada trying to take a serious look at this issue."
Fast forward to Constable Mulder's Canadian Centre for the Prevention of In-Custody Deaths and its "First Annual Excited Delirium Conference."
A February 13, 2009 article in the Toronto Star said: "The Mounties [RCMP] have also dropped the term "excited delirium" - a phrase that has no medical foundation, and was criticized earlier by the Commons Committee [on Public Safety and National Security], the RCMP's public complaints commissioner, independent consultants and civil liberties groups."
I suggest that all members of the Guelph Police Services carefully review the following media reports:
A two-part NPR (National Public Radio USA) investigative report from February 2007:
Part I - Death by Excited Delirium: Diagnosis or Coverup?
Part II - Tasers Implicated in Excited Delirium Deaths
Taser's Delirium Defense: How lawyers used junk science to explain away stun-gun deaths, Mother Jones, March-April 2009
Tasers in medicine - an irreverent call for proposals, Canadian Medical Association Journal, May 2008.
Police ethics adviser quits over sponsors - Concerns over role of companies like Taser International in funding lavish conferences were rebuffed, Globe and Mail, April 8, 2009
Finally, I urge you to visit http://www.excited-delirium.com/. The website's owner has uncovered many connections between Taser International, their lawyer Michael Brave, and the American Institute for the Prevention of In-Custody Death and those who would promote excited delirium as a convenient cause for taser-associated deaths. The dash (-) in the website's address is critical because of the many similarly-named websites registered by Mr. Brave that include the words excited and delirium in the name.
And please keep in mind that so-called "excited delirium" has NOT been the common denominator in the at-least 405 deaths that have occurred proximal to the taser. Tasers ARE the ONE AND ONLY common denominator.
Notwithstanding the significant controversy surrounding tasers and excited delirium, and regardless of whether Constable Mulder has been or ever will be compensated directly or indirectly in ANY way by Taser International or the (American) Institute for the Prevention of In-Custody Death or any other related organization or person, the facts which include (but are not limited to) his company bearing such a striking resemblance to the IPICD (which has so clearly been linked to Taser International), his "firm benefiting from some cooperation between the Canadian Centre and the IPICD regarding initial startup concerns and general business practices," and Taser International's use of excited delirium as a LEGAL DEFENCE to contradict its weapon's role in in-custody death lawsuits MUST be enough to prompt your Board to further investigate whether a conflict exists and whether the Guelph Police Service would want to be linked in any way to this controversy.
I do have a copy of the Victoria Police Department's new Conflict of Interest policy; however, while the policy has received Board approval, I understand that it may not yet have been delivered to the department's members and so I am unable to share it with you at this time. If you contact the Victoria Police Board directly, they may be willing to do so. And I would be more than willing to provide further background information to you, should you require it.
I look forward to a written reply from the Guelph Police Services Board at your earliest possible convenience.
Owner of TNT - Truth ... not tasers
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Sunday, April 26, 2009
A letter I sent today.