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Thursday, November 19, 2009

RCMP may release 2003 Tasering tape

November 18, 2009
Canwest News Service

The RCMP is considering publicly releasing a police video showing a Metis man, Clayton Alvin Willey, being stunned by a Taser in 2003, hours before he died of a heart attack in a Prince George jail.

Critics of the RCMP's handling of Willey say disclosure of the video could provoke the kind of public outrage that followed release of a video of the Taser-related death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski.

"It [the video] is very disturbing, very brutal and very ugly," said Grand Chief Stewart Philip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, who has seen a version of the tape.

RCMP spokesman Sgt. Tim Shields said Tuesday the force is willing to discuss the release of the video with Willey's family later this month. The RCMP wants to show the family the video and other information about the case before a decision is made, he said.

"A decision hasn't been made yet [on release of the video] but we want to ensure that the family is aware of all privacy concerns involving this video," Shields said.

The RCMP statement followed a public call for the release of the video Monday by Philip and BC Civil Liberties Association executive director David Eby.

Police used a Taser on Willey while he was tied and dragged face down from a police vehicle into the Prince George detachment.

Phillip and Eby believe the version of the video they and family members saw was edited. The RCMP has insisted that there was no editing. "This is the full and complete version," Shields said.

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