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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Braidwood to call for restrictions on use of Tasers

July 23, 2009
CTV.ca News

A retired justice who has been conducting an inquiry into the police use of Tasers is expected to call on police to severely restrict their use of the energy-conducted weapons.

Justice Thomas Braidwood's inquiry is looking into the circumstances of the October, 2007 death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski. The man, who spoke no English, died of cardiac arrest after being shocked five times by RCMP officers at Vancouver International Airport.

Braidwood's report, to be delivered Thursday afternoon (1 p.m. PT), will cover Phase One of the inquiry, which concerns the use of Tasers by police forces in B.C. The report will also be posted online at that time.

The news conference was unexpected, and announced only late Wednesday.

Sources tell CTV News Braidwood's recommendations will include severe restrictions on the use of Tasers by police in B.C.

The RCMP has stated previously that it would adopt Braidwood's recommendations nationwide.

Last year Paul Kennedy, head of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, released a number of recommended restrictions on Taser use. Mounties say they adopted them, but critics say the force hasn't lived up to Kennedy's key recommendations.

Earlier this year, the RCMP cautioned officers to use Tasers only in situations that pose a safety risk, and not for purposes of restraining suspects.

Kennedy's report also called for annual training of officers using Tasers.

Dziekanski family lawyer Walter Kosteckyj is hoping for a moratorium on the use of the weapons until restrictions are in place.

"We've had the benefit of hearing about internal investigations from the RCMP, we've heard about the calibration problems," Kosteckyj told CTV News Wednesday night. "There's so much more evidence than there was even two years ago, that I hope and expect that these will be far-reaching recommendations that will actually get people to sit up and listen."

British Columbia's new Solicitor General Kash Heed will hold a news conference right after Braidwood's announcement.

1 comment:

Critical Mass said...

I know today will be one for you to remember, as most certainly Canada and the Braidwood recommendations will severely restrict the use of ECD's by ordinary, street level law enforcement in Canada.

May I congratulate you, in advance, for your tireless quest to see that the conditions under which your brother was killed by law enforcement, are not repeated.

Hopefully, the Canadian example of severely restricting the use of tasers of all types, will make other agencies and governments take notice and re-think their use of force weapons, especially under-researched ECD stun devices. Personally, I would like to see them only used by SWAT Teams, or highly trained Crisis Intervention Officers, if at all.

Good luck to you and your family.