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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Calgary judge blasts taser use

June 18, 2009

Some Calgary cops may be resorting to Tasers when they should be using less severe arrest options, a senior Calgary judge says.

Provincial court Judge Brian Stevenson, in a written ruling released yesterday, said he's concerned officers may view Tasers as an "easier" way to subdue suspects.

Stevenson made the comments in acquitting Calgarian Nicholas Ashe on charges of obstructing a police officer and resisting arrest.

Stevenson said he believed Ashe's claim he was simply trying to ask some patrons outside a bar for a light when he was "manhandled" by Const. Clint Gravelle.

"As to what occurred outside Schanks Bar that night I believe the evidence of the accused," the judge said of the Dec. 1, 2007, incident at the entrance to the northwest Calgary club.

"I do not believe that Ashe assaulted Gravelle in the execution of his duty, and if there was contact between Ashe and Gravelle it was only incidental to Gravelle's actions and accidental."

Ashe testified he had gone outside for a cigarette and, realizing he had forgotten his lighter, approached a group outside.

Before he got to them he was twisted around by Gravelle, who was investigating a report of a fight, and told to "back off."

When Ashe started to ask Gravelle what he meant, he was cut off and again told to back off.

The accused then tried to tell Gravelle he was only asking for a light, but before he could get the words out he was pushed towards the ground and "manhandled" before being Tasered twice and arrested.

Defence counsel Paul Brunnen had argued Gravelle fabricated his claim Ashe had kicked him in the face and his credibility was seriously damaged by testimony from a nurse who treated his client.

Gravelle described Ashe as being in a "drunken state", "ranting", belligerent" and "aggressive," while the nurse described him as being pleasant and co-operative, unlike most Tasered patients, Stevenson noted.

"I have a concern that deployment of the Taser is viewed by some officers as an 'easier' way to effect an arrest rather than the use of options of a 'less intrusive manner,'" said Stevenson in ruling it was not necessary in this case.

"Taser use is resorted to too frequently where the circumstances governing its use are not present."


Critical Mass said...

I'm not certain in which year, but in 2003 or 2004, I remember reading on a message board that the two executive brothers running Taser International, who bought the "Jack Cover Patents" to his technology, tested and ran experiments with animals, either in their Phoenix garage or basement. If you have any knowledge of the psychology of kids or adults who torture and/or kill animals, you may have an insight into the mind-set at Taser International. There is a very strong link between animal torture and dangerous psychosis.

Although the evidence is no more than "anecdotal", if true, the ramifications are mind bending. It may explain the lengths Taser International is willing to go to hide, obfuscate and malign the "science" or medical evidence concerning lethality of Tasers.

Good luck with your even-handed and fair exposition of the dangers inherent in stun technology, and justice for your brother.

Anonymous said...

Critical Mass, you're exactly right. I remember reading where the police themselves tasered hundreds of animals to "prove" how safe they are. No, they tasered hundreds of animals because THEY LIKE TO TORTURE. "Oooh, let's see what happens when we tase a snake!" Of course, they could not wait to see people writhe in pain and beg for mercy.

These are comments left on forums.realpolice.net:

"I had to tase a much older woman [after she threw fans and furniture at the cops]... She was a little thing and physically, if we could get close to her we could have subdued her. When she started toward the kitchen..." Started toward the kitchen? So she was walking away from them. And being a woman myself, I know that it is almost physically impossible to "throw" furniture at someone. And an elderly woman? She picked up a fan and hurled it at someone? Uh, nuh.

Here's Chewy: "CBP is looking at getting tasers... I can't friggin wait. I'm going to tase EVERYONE!!!"

I am not for "reform" or "further training" these psychopaths, no, nothing can be done but taking away their precious little torture toys forever.

Anonymous said...

And I'm not sure where the myth came from that tasers are used as a last resort before using lethal force; it certainly didn't come from the police. Here's another comment from forums.policenet.org (his capital letters):

"Consider this: Many department use of force puts the taser BEFORE HANDS ON. When you touch someone, a lot of things can go wrong. The taser safely avoids this. If you refuse a lawful order, in many jurisdictions you may see the laser from the taser hitting your chest next… follow the order or you are taking a ride!"

Oh, what light-hearted fun, to include a little rhyme: see the laser from the taser. hahaha! But what were they specifically discussing? The tasing incident of a 6-yr-old boy by THREE policemen. They HAD to tase him because he was "wielding" a piece of glass. Parents having been taking pieces of glass away from 6-yr-olds for thousands of years but these maniac cops think he needs to "take a ride!"

Soon after that incident, a cop "had" to taser a 13-yr-old girl who had skipped school and was running away. This also was discussed in like terms. (What would people prefer? That we shoot her? was one comment)