April 2, 2009
By Staff Reporter, The Province
RCMP Tasering of an elderly knife-wielding man was "reasonable and justified" according to a report from the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP.
Frank Lasser, 82, was a patient at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops on May 3, 2008, when early that morning he brandished a knife at a nurse.
Hospital staff believed, according to the report, that Lasser planned to use the knife against them.
Police and hospital security tried to disarm Lasser, but an officer fearing for the safety of a fellow officer fired his Taser to make Lasser drop the knife. He was then subdued by police.
"Throughout this incident, Mr. Lasser's behaviour could reasonably be described as posing a threat of grievous bodily harm or death," said Paul Kennedy, chair of the commission. " It was only after repeated failed attempt to control Mr. Lasser through other means that RCMP members elevated their use of force to deploying the CEW. Accordingly, I find that the use of the weapon was reasonable and justified under the circumstances."
In the minutes following the incident, Lasser was described as much calmer and co-operative.
Kennedy initiated the complaint on May 9, 2008 to investigate the appropriateness of the incident, as well as specific concerns raised with respect to RCMP policy, procedures and guidelines on the use of the conducted-energey weapon.
A second aspect of the complaint investigation was to assess the adequacy of the existing RCMP Taser policies, procedures and guidelines.
Reported RCMP CEW use declined 30 per cent in 2008, compared to 2007. When unholstered, the weapon was used 72 per cent of the time in 2007 — compared to 51 per cent in 2008.
"Overall, I am encouraged by the decrease of CEW usage and increased restraint show by RCMP members in the field," said Kennedy.
The full report and further background information regarding RCMP Taser use can be found at http://www.cpc-cpp.gc.ca.
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Thursday, April 02, 2009
April 2, 2009