These images were borrowed from a Facebook site set up by Clay Willey's family in his honour - see the Facebook Group "PLEASE HELP THE WILLEY FAMILY PUT A STOP TO TAZER DEATHS IN OUR COUNTRY".
November 16, 2009
By Colleen Kimmett, The Tyee
Aboriginal and civil rights groups are demanding RCMP release a video of man who died after being tasered in a police holding cell in 2003.
The video reportedly shows Clay Willey, an aboriginal man, being tasered while hog-tied on the floor of the cell at a Prince George RCMP detachment. The officers involved in the incident have not been identified.
At a press conference this morning, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said the four-minute long clip was "sickening" and "very, very difficult to watch."
"Clearly, they were trying to shut him up by using a taser."
David Eby, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association said he hopes media attention will pressure RCMP to release the video. "We believe it will cause an outcry," Eby said.
Writer Leonard Cler-Cunningham, who uncovered the video during the course of a five-year investigation on aboriginal deaths in custody, brought it to the attention of Eby and Phillip about six months ago. He thanked the RCMP for making the video available to him, but said police refuse to release to the public in order to protect Willey's privacy.
"They're using the right to privacy to protect themselves," he said.
A coroner's inquest into Willey’s death conducted in October of 2004 determined that he died of a cocaine overdose. According to the report, Willey had been acting erratically in the parking lot of a Prince George mall when police picked him up. He was handcuffed and taken to the local detachment, where police said they "touch stunned" him with a Taser after he continued to struggle and kick. Less than 45 minutes passed between the time he was picked up at the mall and the time an ambulance arrived at the detachment. Willey died en route to the hospital.
Dr. John C. Butt, a specialist in forensic pathology, noted that touch stun is a less debilitating mode on the Taser gun and said it wasn't clear how many times it was deployed. He questioned why police would taser a man who was already tied up and face down, and called it a "cruel and unnecessary act."
A media relations officer for the Prince George RCMP detachment said he was not aware of any internal investigation into the officers' actions.
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