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Thursday, September 30, 2010

You're not properly licensed to use the malfunctioning, eye-scalding gun

"People aren't dying because of "excited delirium" as Taser International ridiculously claims. They're dying because their shitty guns cause people's hearts to explode."

September 30, 2010
Allison Kilkenny, Huffington Post

Raoul Moat, a 37-year-old man, was recently the target of a massive police manhunt in England after he shot three people with a sawn-off shotgun. After spending six days on the run, Moat was finally cornered by police. Hours of negotiations proceeded at the end of which Moat shot himself and later died at a hospital.

The salivating media followed every second of the tense pursuit with classy O.J.-style gusto. Journalist Johann Hari was particularly critical of the overzealous coverage, and especially how the media glorified Moat, describing him as having a "hulking physique," which of course is typical of a "notorious hard man." I dunno, ladies. Should we fear him or date him?

Details have now emerged that the police weren't properly licensed for the long-range X12 tasers they carried during the manhunt. At first, it seemed a minor detail in an extremely dramatic story, but now that some time has passed, reality is setting in. Police were carrying long-range tasers that haven't even been tested by scientists yet.

Well, what's the harm? An electrocuting gun is meant to electrocute. If it does that, great. If there's a little glitch, what's the worst that can happen?

Taser shotgun firm shoots itself in foot

Paul Marks, chief technology correspondent

Controversy continues to dog a non-lethal weapon called the Taser shotgun.

The "X12" Taser shotgun is made by Taser International of Scottsdale, Arizona and fires a battery-packed 12-bore shell with forward-facing barbs that deliver a debilitating electric shock.
In August last year, New Scientist revealed research that showed an early version of the weapon was both difficult to aim accurately, putting victims' eyes at risk, and sometimes delivered a shock for more than five minutes, rather than 20 seconds.

Such issues were part of the reason that the Taser shotgun went into a programme of testingin the labs of the UK Home Office's Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB).


Of course, none of this concerns people when the weapon is used against someone violent like Moat. The man was clearly mentally ill (he'd attempted to seek psychiatric help before the shootings,) but he was prone to eruptions of anger, and served time in jail for assaulting a nine-year-old relative. Hardly a man who inspires sympathy.

But it's interesting that police are using tasers that haven't even been cleared properly by scientists. It should concern people who aren't gun-wielding psychopaths, and may one day be at the receiving end of 50,000 volts of state sanctioned torture for something little like getting mouthy with a police officer over a speeding ticket, telling a bad joke, or daring to exercise their First Amendment rights.

Home Secretary Theresa May announced she has revoked Pro-Tect's licence to supply tasers to police forces for breaching the rules including the transportation of ammunition. That's a good thing, and a good demonstration of how the state is supposed to work. A private company breached proper dispensing protocol, so the state regulates their contracts. No proper testing, no business.

I'm curious as to how this would be handled in the states where deregulation and allowing companies to do whatever the hell they want is all the craze right now. Have all the tasers currently being carried by U.S. officers been properly tested?

Tasers, when they function perfectly, are brutal weapons of torture. It seems like every week there's a new horrifying story in the news about yet another innocent victim who has been killed or injured by tasers. So imagine if these weapons malfunction to the point where they blind victims and inflict excruciating pain for more than five minutes.

A recent study at the University of California found that deaths in-custody actually rise sharply - nearly six times - during the first year a department uses tasers. These things aren't the soft, friendly version of policing. They're torture devices that kill people, and are particularly dangerous for the mentally ill, and individuals with heart problems. And they're being marketed by companies that aren't even properly testing them.

Way back in the day, when U.S. companies designed deadly products called cigarettes, they were asked to appear before Congress to explain why they should be allowed to kill Americans for profit. It may be time to bring back that tradition. People aren't dying because of "excited delirium" as Taser International ridiculously claims. They're dying because their shitty guns cause people's hearts to explode.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Taser Wars: Stocks, Lies and Audiotapes

September 28, 2010
Sharon Weinberger, AOL News

Nonlethal weapons aren't normally considered a cutthroat business area, but documents filed in a lawsuit over the Taser stun gun suggest the stakes were high enough to set off an industrial espionage scheme worthy of Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale.

The often-convoluted -- and at times comical -- back-and-forth is described in court filings related to a 2009 lawsuit.

Taser International, which sells the eponymous stun gun, sued James McNulty, an engineer and attorney, and Stinger Systems, another stun gun manufacturer. Among other allegations, Taser accuses McNulty and Stinger of trying to manipulate the price of Taser's stock.

The Taser stun gun is a nonlethal device that uses an electrical current to incapacitate its victim. Taser International markets several variants, including a popular law enforcement model that works by shooting two darts attached to wires.

McNulty, a longtime nemesis of the world's largest stun gun manufacturer, denies Taser's charges. He also has a few of his own accusations. In a recent court filing, McNulty claims Taser International concocted a scheme to have another stun gun entrepreneur make secret recordings in an effort to implicate him in the alleged scheme.

According to court documents, which include internal company e-mails detailing the plan, Taser directed Paul Feldman, then-president of the Raleigh, N.C.-based Law Enforcement Associates, to record more than half a dozen audio recordings of McNulty.

Law Enforcement Associates specialized in covert audio- and video-recording devices, according to the company's website. It was also at one point trying to enter the stun gun business.

Feldman, according to a statement filed by John Chudy, agreed to make the recordings because he believed Taser would invest in Law Enforcement Associates; a promise Feldman later felt Taser did not fulfill. Chudy, who had worked with Feldman's company on a stun gun, said Feldman had related the recording-for-investment story in a rambling phone confession about the ill-fated scheme.

McNulty first learned of the secret audio recording from other employees at Feldman's company, according to court documents. McNulty often provided them with generous Christmas gifts, like Movado watches. They warned him that Feldman was in touch with Taser and secretly recording him.

The engineer's dealings with stun guns predate Taser International; McNulty worked with John Culver, the original creator of the Taser, who later licensed the stun gun technology to Taser International. "I was a member of John Culver's research staff," McNulty told AOL News in an interview.

Over the years, however, McNulty has emerged as an uber-nemesis of the company, which has been a stock market darling for many years because of its rapid growth in the law-enforcement market. Taser International and McNulty have since engaged in a series of lawsuits and countersuits.

For both sides the legal battle appears to have become personal. In his court filings, McNulty refers to Taser's "crap sham stock" and accuses Feldman, who made the secret recordings, of "reptilian behavior."

For Taser, this sort of language is part of the problem.

"TASER seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief because of the defendants' ongoing plot to damage TASER through fraudulent and misleading press releases, defamatory 'whisper campaigns' to potential customers and investors of TASER, and the Defendants' use of lawsuits for marketing purposes, rather than as a vehicle for seeking relief from the Court," Steve Tuttle, the Taser spokesman, wrote to AOL News.

Taser's most public legal tangles have been with victims of its stun gun device. They have sued the company for wrongful death or injury, claims that the company has so far successfully defeated in the courts. But alongside those lawsuits over the safety of the Taser has been a series of legal battles, like the current one, fought with other makers of stun guns over patents and business practices.

The current allegations of secret recordings may be only the latest twist in the company's protracted legal battles, but it's a claim that Taser, in formal questioning, originally denied. "Taser did not develop or initiate a plan to make audio recordings of McNulty's conversation with with Mr. Feldman," Taser responded to one interrogatory.

Taser e-mails that Feldman obtained and submitted to the court tell a different story. Those e-mails appear to show Rick Smith, the CEO of Taser International, urging Feldman to get McNulty to implicate himself in plans to ruin Taser.

"Draw him out to boast of past misdeeds," Smith instructs Feldman in one e-mail.

"We can without doubt get the audio you want," Feldman replies to another e-mail.

McNulty referred questions about the litigation to court documents.

In a statement to AOL News, Taser spokesman Tuttle repeated the company's argument -- also made in court documents -- that Feldman acted of his own accord, and Taser only became involved in the recordings at a later date. "Mr. Feldman ... has testified, unequivocally in his recent deposition, that he did not record any conversations with Mr. McNulty at TASER's direction," Tuttle wrote in an e-mail.

Feldman, when reached by AOL News at home, declined to comment.

In his court filings, McNulty questions the legality of the audio recordings in Taser's possession, pointing out that some of the covertly made recordings may have violated wiretap laws, which differ from state to state. Whether legal or not, the e-mails about the recording paint a portrait of Taser as a company willing to resort to elaborate private espionage.

Taser CEO Smith in one e-mail writes the phrase, "SCRIPT OUTLINE," and goes on to describe how Feldman should solicit information from McNulty, including coaching Feldman to claim he was "afraid" of Taser. In an e-mail to Taser's general counsel, Doug Klint, Smith proceeds to outline what he thinks should be Feldman's question areas, including finding out information on journalists McNulty may be speaking to.

"Who else has he collaborated with, or caused to take action against TASER (media, analysts, etc.)," Smith wrote as part of the instructions for Feldman, according to the e-mail filed in the court documents.

Apparently audio recordings may not have been the only thing Taser was after. In another document submitted by McNulty, the general counsel asks Feldman whether he could be outfitted with a pinhole camera. "We would love to get the guy on video," Klint writes.

The message concludes with the signature line: "Protect the lives that matter most to you with the new TASER C2 Personal Protector."

In the meantime, the war between McNulty and Taser doesn't look like it'll end anytime soon. McNulty announced Monday in a press release that, as part of that lawsuit, he was countersuing with a new claim against Taser. He says the company was infringing on his patents for a new weapon that works using wireless ammunition shells, rather than darts attached to wires.

Wireless technology, McNulty says, could render the current generation of stun guns obsolete.

U.K. stops import of Tasers after illegal use

September 29, 2010
QMI Agency

British police are in need of a new Taser supplier after an illegal shotgun version of the popular stun gun was used to try to subdue a gunman in July.

The British government revoked Pro-Tect's licence to import Tasers because the government alleges the company illegally supplied the X12 shotgun-style Taser to a local police force.

The X12 -- which fires a barbed battery that delivers a debilitating electric shock -- was only supposed to be supplied the U.K. Home Office for testing.

"Faced with these breaches, the Home secretary has decided to revoke Pro-Tect's licence to supply Tasers," a spokesperson for the U.K. Home Office said in a statement.

The controversy began after Raoul Moat shot and killed himself after a six-hour standoff with police, during which he had been shot twice with Taser stun guns.

"Enquiries following the Raoul Moat operation revealed Pro-Tect breached its licence by supplying X12 Tasers direct to police that were only available for supply to the Home Office Science and Development branch," the spokesperson said.

"The enquiries carried out by Northamptonshire Police also revealed the company breached rules governing the secure transport of the devices and ammunition."

The U.K. minister for crime prevention wrote a letter that says the government is working to find a new importer to "ensure that police forces continue to have adequate Taser stocks."

Arizona-based Taser International manufactures the stun guns.

Tasers: Police must not be allowed to rely on 'discretion' to use unapproved weapons

29 September 2010
Amnesty International UK

Amnesty International has expressed grave concern that the Taser XREP projectile and X12 shot gun were used without having gone through the official weapons testing and approval process. The organisation expressed its concern following the recent revelation that the weapons distribution company – Pro-Tect Systems – had issued the police these weapons without Home Office authorisation. Pro-Tect Systems has since had its licence suspended.

Amnesty International’s Arms Programme Director Oliver Sprague said: “No new weapon or equipment should used by the police until it has passed a rigorous and transparent safety, testing and approvals process. The Taser XREP is far more powerful than the traditional Taser with a considerably longer 20-second shock cycle. As a projectile fired from a shot gun, there are serious concerns over its accuracy and reliability as well as the risk of causing unnecessary injury.”

Results from a 2008 independent assessment funded by safety testing authorities in the UK, the USA and Canada have found the XREP projectile to be inaccurate with a high failure rate.

Amnesty is urging the Home Office to review its decision to enable Chief Constables to authorise the use of any weapon as long as its use is "lawful, reasonable and proportionate", apparently even if these weapons have not been thoroughly tested or approved for use. At a minimum Amnesty believes that this should include testing the efficacy of the weapon, medical safety testing and evidence that its use is compatible with proportionate and lawful use of force, in line with international human rights standards.

Oliver Sprague continued: “The UK has in place some of the world’s toughest approvals and testing processes for new police weapons. What is the point of having such a robust system if Chief Constables are, it seems, able to bypass rigorous testing and approvals and deploy any weapon they see fit? Any new police weapons should only be considered following a needs and risk assessment that identifies a recognised gap in their capability that cannot be overcome in any other way.”

International standards on police use of force and weaponry encourage the development of ‘less lethal’ weapons, but also stipulate that any such weaponry should be very carefully evaluated and controlled.

These same standards also set requirements on how and when police officers should carry weapons, including the circumstances in which they can be used and comprehensive training and accountability policies and procedures. The decision to allow discretion for Chief Constables to deploy XREP or any similar emerging technologies in absence of rigorous testing and approvals process, including clear procedures set in place for how and when they can be used, is a clear breach of these international standards

Oliver Sprague added: “A weapon like the XREP should not be in the UK police force’s arsenal until it has gone through all the necessary checks and is shown to be safe to use. If and when such approval is given, the XREP should be given only to specialist firearms officers and used when there in an imminent threat to life.”

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Firm that supplied Tasers used in Raoul Moat standoff loses licence

September 28, 2010

The company that supplied the Taser guns used by police in their standoff with Raoul Moat has had its licence revoked, the Home Office said today.

The home secretary, Theresa May, withdrew the authority of Pro-Tect Systems to supply the weapons after it "breached its licence".

The company was licensed to supply the Tasers to the Home Office for testing but not to supply them to police. It also "breached rules governing the secure transport of the devices and ammunition," the Home Office said.

Northumbria police used an XRep Taser to bring to an end one of the biggest manhunts in British history in the early hours of 10 July.

Moat had shot his former girlfriend Samantha Stobbart, 22, killed Chris Brown, 29, and blinded police constable David Rathband, 42.

At Moat's inquest, the Home Office confirmed that the XRep Taser, which is fired from a 12-gauge shotgun, was not approved for use by forces in England and Wales and was "subject to testing by the HOSDB (Home Office scientific development branch)".

The Home Office stressed there was no wrongdoing on the part of police, who have the authority to use any weapon they see fit "as long as the use of force is lawful, reasonable and proportionate".

A spokesman said: "The process for approval of less lethal weapons is set out in a Home Office code of practice document on police use of firearms which chief constables must 'have regard to'."

The move means Pro-Tect Systems – the only supplier of Tasers in the UK – will no longer be allowed to import and sell Tasers. A company spokesperson said it could not comment while the IPCC investigation was going on.

But Moat's brother, Angus, has accused officers of using his brother as a "guinea pig". "They had not used them [XRep Tasers] before, and that was not the time or the place to conduct an experiment," he said.

The 40-year-old, of Shieldfield, in Newcastle – who is waiting for the results of a second post-mortem examination on his brother – added: "We have said all along we have concerns about the sequence of events that night.

"I am cautiously reassured by the Home Office that there is a legal dimension to this."

Monday, September 27, 2010

Taser Is Sued by Inventor James McNulty for Patent Infringement

September 27, 2010
PR Newswire


LAS VEGAS, Sept. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Inventor James McNulty, a senior member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, who was a member of the research staff of the late TASER inventor John "Jack" Cover and instrumental in development of the early law enforcement model TASERS™, today announced that he has sued Taser International, Inc. (Nasdaq: TASR) for patent infringement for its nascent production of wireless TASER shells, that can be discharged from conventional firearms (federal case docket no. 2:09-cv-00289-KJD-PAL). The suit claims that Taser sells the shells in violation of McNulty's "5,831,199" and "6,877,434" patents. The suit seeks an injunction against further sales, compensatory, exemplary (punitive) and enhanced damages and attorney's fees. A case filing lists the aerospace giant BAE Systems, Ltd., manufacturer of the Harrier Jump Jet, and its affiliate Defense Technology Corporation as entities that may have a direct financial interest in the successful outcome of McNulty's case.

Documents produced in the suit and other public filings show that affiliates of a number of the world's 10 largest defense contractors are potential competitors of Taser for any substantial military markets that may develop for less lethal electronic shock weapons.

Documents produced in the suit show that one affiliate has already developed in competition with Taser's X12™ and X RAIL™ a combination weapon, that fires ammunition cartridges that can also be interchangeably fired from and sold as replacement ammunition for Taser's X26 and M26 stun pistols, and that the affiliate has already manufactured stocks of thousands of the ammunition rounds.

McNulty, a 27 year participant in the industry commented, "Documents already produced in the case show that this competitive ammunition technology has application in the law enforcement market for TASERS™ and TASER™ ammunition. Securities and Exchange Commission filings show that resale of ammunition for the over 359,000 M26 and X26 stun pistols, which have been sold by Taser to the law enforcement market, is a significant source of revenue for the company. In its last reported quarter ending June 30, 2010, Taser's ammunition cartridge sales accounted for over 25% of its total business. Taser has no basic patents that prevent any other company from manufacturing and selling competing ammunition for the X26 and M26 products.

The prospect in my opinion is that Taser shall fight for ever smaller shares of competitively diminishing law enforcement and military markets for projectile stun guns and ammunition and against interest of such behemoth enterprises. Taser's Securities and Exchange Commission filings show that many of Taser's assets are plant and equipment, intellectual property and inventory for manufacture and sale of its current line of stun pistols and ammo. The value of these types of assets can quickly vaporize with advent of new competitive electronic control device technologies. I shall vigorously protect my advanced IP in this field for its licensees/prospective licensees."

Friday, September 24, 2010

Is taser the perfect stock? 3/10 - keep searching

September 24, 2010
By Dan Caplinger, Motley Fool

Everyone would love to find the perfect stock. But will you ever really find a stock that gives you everything you could possibly want?

One thing's for sure: If you don't look, you'll never find truly great investments. So let's first take a look at what you'd want to see from a perfect stock, and then decide if TASER (Nasdaq: TASR) fits the bill.

The quest for perfection
When you're looking for great stocks, you have to do your due diligence. It's not enough to rely on a single measure, because a stock that looks great based on one factor may turn out to be horrible in other ways. The best stocks, however, excel in many different areas, which all come together to make up a very attractive picture.

Some of the most basic yet important things to look for in a stock are:

•Growth. Expanding businesses show healthy revenue growth. While past growth is no guarantee that revenue will keep rising, it's certainly a better sign than a stagnant top line.

•Margins. Higher sales don't mean anything if a company can't turn them into profits. Strong margins ensure a company is able to turn revenue into profit.

•Balance sheet. Debt-laden companies have banks and bondholders competing with shareholders for management's attention. Companies with strong balance sheets don't have to worry about the distraction of debt.

•Money-making opportunities. Companies need to be able to turn their resources into profitable business opportunities. Return on equity helps measure how well a company is finding those opportunities.

•Valuation. You can't afford to pay too much for even the best companies. Earnings multiples are simple, but using normalized figures gives you a sense of how valuation fits into a longer-term context.

•Dividends. Investors are demanding tangible proof of profits, and there's nothing more tangible than getting a check every three months. Companies with solid dividends and strong commitments to increasing payouts treat shareholders well.
With those factors in mind, let's take a closer look at TASER.

What We Want to See
Pass or Fail?

5-Year Annual Revenue Growth > 15%

1-Year Revenue Growth > 12%

Gross Margin > 35%

Net Margin > 15%

Balance Sheet
Debt to Equity < 50%

Current Ratio > 1.3

Return on Equity > 15%

Normalized P/E < 20

Current Yield > 2%

5-Year Dividend Growth > 10%

Total Score
3 out of 10

Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard and Poor's. NM = not meaningful; TASER has a net loss over the past 12 months. Total score = number of passes.

A score of 3 isn't even good, let alone perfect. But TASER has seen a once-promising business turn into disappointment, as big profits in 2007 turned out to be a one-time phenomenon. The failure is particularly disappointing in light of how other self-defense-related businesses have performed financially. Olin Corp. (NYSE: OLN) has seen its Winchester ammunition business soar, quadrupling its profits since 2006. Even as Sturm Ruger (NYSE: RGR) and Smith & Wesson (Nasdaq: SWHC) gained investor attention and boosted share prices in the past year and a half with their sales of more aggressive self-defense alternatives to stun guns, TASER couldn't generate profits, and shares fell steadily .

What TASER has going for it is a clean balance sheet and decent gross margins. But until the company can figure out how to be profitable, it doesn't look like a good bet for investors.

Keep searching
No stock is a sure thing, but some stocks are a lot closer to perfect than others. By looking for the perfect stock, you'll go a long way toward improving your investing prowess and learning how to separate out the best investments from the rest.

Montreal - Justice for Victims of Police Killings

The families of the victims of police killings and their allies are organizing two events in Montreal:

SATURDAY, October 23, 12:30pm
Gathering at the corner of Guy & de Maisonneuve
(métro Guy-Concordia, Guy exit)

FRIDAY, October 22, 4-6pm
In front the Police Brotherhood, 480 Gilford
(métro Laurier, St-Joseph exit)

We remember: Anas Bennis, Claudio Castagnetta, Ben Matson, Quilem Registre, Gladys Tolley, Fredy Villanueva and all the other victims of police killings.

JOIN US on the North American Day to Stop Police Brutality & Repression to show your support and solidarity with all victims of police killings. Together with the families and supporters of police victims, we demand dignity, justice and truth.

Family friendly - Welcome to all!
INFO: 514-848-7583 – 22oct-mtl@gmail.com -- www.22octobre.net

The families of people killed by the police, their friends and their allies are organizing a commemorative vigil and march to remember victims. These families, who face an uphill battle in uncovering the truth and obtaining justice for their loved ones, need our support.

Friday, October 22: There will be a family-led vigil in front of the Police Brotherhood (480 Gilford St., Laurier metro, St-Joseph exit) between 4 and 6 p.m. We will end the vigil by lighting candles in memory of the victims of police killings.

Saturday, October 23: There will be a family-led, family-friendly march against the systemic impunity in the face of police killings and police violence. The march will begin at 12:30 p.m. on the corner of Guy St. and de Maisonneuve. We strongly encourage as many supporters as possible to come out on the streets and show our support for the families. There is power in numbers!

What we are seeking is DIGNITY, JUSTICE and TRUTH.

The main purpose of the march is to:
- REMEMBER the victims who lost their lives to police violence and abuse and;
- SUPPORT their families in any way we can

We support the list of demands of the Bennis, Castagnetta, Matson, Registre, Tolley and Villanueva families. Their demands include:

- END police brutality
- END police impunity
- END racial, social and political profiling
- ACCESS all information in a prompt manner
- LAY criminal charges in police killings
- HOLD public independent inquiries in police killings
- APPLY the recommendations of the coroner
- STOP the use of tasers

This initiative came out of the Forum Against Police Violence and Impunity in January of 2010, during which the families expressed their desire to come together to remember their loved ones and strengthen their respective struggles for dignity, justice and the truth. The symbolic date of October 22 was subsequently chosen for a family-friendly march to commemorate the victims of police killings to coincide with the National Day of Protest in the United States organized by the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation, which has been mobilizing every year since 1996.

We ask for your group’s endorsement. To get involved contact us at (514) 848-7583 or at 22oct-mtl@gmail.com. You can pick up flyers and posters for the event at QPIRG Concordia (1500 de Maisonneuve St. W 2nd floor).

Family friendly - Welcome to all!

INFO: 514-848-7583 – 22oct-mtl@gmail.com -- www.22octobre.net
facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=146318535409280
facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=156866504341679

Letter to the Editor: Taser wasn't cause of death

September 24, 2010
Chilliwack Times


I am writing to you regarding Tyler Olsen's article entitled, "Taser death delay; RCMP failing to sign-off on Knipstrom report now 300 days overdue," in the Sept. 17 Chilliwack Times.

The article itself indicates the RCMP pepper sprayed, Tasered and hit the decendent with a baton.

It further went on to mention the coroner's inquest linked the decedent's death being linked to, "excited delirium" and "serious ecstasy intoxication." Nowhere in your article does it mention the death was caused by the use of a taser.

My concern is the misleading and sensational headline. This headline appears to be an obvious attempt to garner advertising revenue by linking this case to the continuing malicious and unethical reporting of incidents involving police and taser use.

The headline is incorrect and unethical according to your own article.

Members of the B.C. Mounted Police Professional Association (BCMPPA) along with their brothers and sisters in the Canadian Police Association (CPA) continue to make our communities safer using the tools and training provided to them by the RCMP. The use of the phrase, "Taser death" portrays BCMPPA members in a negative and incorrect light.

As the editor, you have final say in how the story is to appear. Please ensure your articles and headlines are factual regarding the BCMPPA and its members. The headline disappointingly betrays the usual professional and factual reporting by the Times and its staff.

Leland Keane, member,
B.C. Mounted Police Professional Association

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Taser hires Shift to trump negative brand perception

September 23, 2010
PR Week
Alexandra Bruell

SCOTTSDALE, AZ: Taser International selected Shift Communications as its AOR to help battle the public's negative perceptions about the brand, explained Jeff Kukowski, EVP of marketing at the company. He confirmed that the account is in the high-six-figures. The agency will handle media relations, social media, and consumer messaging and strategy around the well-known electronic control devices for consumers and law enforcement. Shift will also help launch a consumer product called Protector, which aims to prevent mobile use while driving, as well ...

You have to be a subscriber to PR Week to read the rest.

Note to Shift Communications: Your assignment - Put on a nice big pot of corporate communications coffee and keep it coming, pull up a big comfy corporate communications couch and begin by reading every word on THIS website (no subscription required). No really, I mean it - go all the way back to 1990 and read all 2,987 of the posts I`ve placed here - for a reason - from start to finish. Then read every single word at www.excited-delirium.com (again, no subscription required) - don`t even blink in case you miss something. Finally, read the Braidwood Report, Phase I and Phase II.

Once you`ve completed the above assignment, and have got all the pieces of this twisted puzzle put together, then and only then will your talent agency be all caught up with those of us who have been paying very close attention all along. At that point, you may want to revisit your corporate (and personal) code of ethics, your corporate (and personal) moral compass, consult your corporate (and personal) lawyer and then decide if this is truly the gig you want to align yourself with. Believe me, it ain`t pretty. We`re not talking about a few niggling `negative brand perceptions` here. This isn`t Domino`s Pizza or Pabst Blue Ribbon we`re talking about. Oh no, this is much, much more, by a long shot. And no amount of twittering, blogging, facebooking or any other social media cuteness can erase the sinister fact that 512 people who were alive one minute were dead the next. And, in every single instance, a taser was involved.

You will really want to consider your next move very carefully. If you do decide to proceed - perhaps you simply cannot live without the high six figures - you WILL (mark my words) end up in a place where you feel like the lawyer who defends his rich, sleazy client because he needs the money, even though he knows his client is no saint and is quite likely guilty on all counts. And where I come from, he/she could be seen to be guilty by association.

Taser Deaths On The Rise: Are They Cruel & Unusual? (VIDEO)

September 23, 2010
Huffington Post

Are Tasers a good alternative to Police Departments' use of automatic weapons, or are they "cruel and unusual"?

Across the United States, over 12,000 law enforcement agencies have added Tasers to their arsenals, and with Taser deaths on the rise, CBS News has put together a video report investigating the controversy behind police use of Tasers.

Since 2004, the Houston Police Department alone has used its Tasers 2,500 times. In California, there have been 55 reported deaths from Tasers; in Florida, 52.

And in the past three years there have been several incidents that have raised national concern about Taser use, notably the 72-year-old woman who was Tasered by Texas police during a traffic stop, and the man with a heart condition who was Tasered four times in his own home in California.


CBS NEWS: Are Tasers Overused?

September 23, 2010
CBS - The Early Show

Three men in South Florida are facing multiple charges after leading police on a high-speed chase. Two of the suspects were subdued by officers using tasers, which are becoming more and more popular with police, and more and more controversial with critics. The chase, in Miami, led police on dangerous pursuit across highways, over sidewalks and through heavy traffic. It ended with a dramatic crash but no injuries, as Broward County officers took down the driver by taser.

CBS News correspondent Don Teague reported on "The Early Show" tasering happens more often than ever -- the taser has become weapon of choice for police. Teague pointed out more than 12,000 law enforcement agencies have now added tasers to their arsenals. Houston police alone have discharged them 2,500 times since 2004.

But some are questioning just who is getting shocked.

From incapacitating a disruptive student in Florida to a great-grandmother in Texas, you can go online and find one shocking example after another of tasering, Teague said.

Peter McFarland, who was tasered by police in California, told CBS News, "All of a sudden, they just showed up. And they came in here like there was a fire going on or some gunfight was going on." McFarland, who suffers from a heart condition, is suing Marin County police after he was tased four times in his own home.

In other cases, the device has proved fatal. A study by Amnesty International says that, in at least 35 states, taserings have led to deaths -- 55 fatalities in California and 52 in Florida, alone.

Thomas Ruskin, a former detective with the New York Police Department, told CBS News, "In most cases, the tasers have been a very good tool. It's a lot better to think of someone possibly being tasered than being shot."

On "The Early Show" co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez spoke with Bill Stanton, a former New York police officer and security expert with Qverity.com.

Rodriguez said, "It is easy for us all to watch the video and make our judgment about the decision at the time. We haven't been there arresting a suspect. You have, many times. Is there any time you wished you would have had a taser?"

He responded, "Good point. It is easy for us when we sit on the couch and watch this stuff go down. Though cop should have to meet a bad guy one on one. They have a fist, you take your nightstick. They take your stick, it will either be a taser, now the taser stops us from using a gun in many cases, and that's a good thing."

Rodriguez, who was tased for research purposes, said it was "the most excruciating pain followed by, literally, paralysis." She asked, "Could they be more dangerous than people think?"

Stanton replied, "I'll ask you this. You've been tased. Have you been shot?"

Rodriguez responded, "I haven't been shot, it's better than being dead, but if an officer used it on me unjustifiably, as we've seen many instances, it would have been inhumane."

Stanton said, "Right. Those officers should be investigated and locked up, but in many professions there`s malpractice with doctors, lawyers, et cetera."

John Burton, a civil rights attorney, weighed in on Stanton's remarks, saying the taser is not a substitute for lethal force. He explained, "Lethal force is used very, very rarely, 95 percent of police officers never fire their sidearm in their entire career. It's only to be used in the most extreme circumstances. When those are present, no rational officer would use a taser because lethal force is used to stop a lethal threat. Tasers are used on people frequently who are doing very little, other than not going along with the program of the police."

"Just making the officers mad?" Rodriguez offered.

Burton replied, "Well, right. And it's, also, and another point you made is that it's much more dangerous than the manufacturer, who provides a training, tells the officers. There have been over 500 fatalities associated with taser use or extreme injuries caused by falling, darts hitting people in the eye, people exploding because of being near flammable liquids, et cetera."

Rodriguez said to both men, "I think the point both of you can agree on is that tasers should not be abused. But is there anything that can be done to prevent abuse?"

Stanton said, "A cop tells you to pull over, pull over. Don't ram him three times, don't take a swing at a cop."

"You know full well some people do that and officers, you never know how they will react," Rodriguez said. "Is there anything you can do to teach officers not to do that?"

Stanton said, "Absolutely, more comprehensive training for the officers. Teach them how to use the tools in their tool bag."

Belleville Police rule against Shawn O'Sullivan

September 23, 2010

Belleville's deputy police chief has ruled ex-boxer Shawn O'Sullivan's complaint against city police is "unsubstantiated," The Intelligencer has learned.

Police arrested O'Sullivan, 48, of Belleville Nov. 28, 2009 following a scuffle with a neighbour. Though criminal charges of mischief and assault were withdrawn May 13, he agreed to a six-month peace bond preventing him from contacting the man.

Police and O'Sullivan have both said publicly he was shocked by a Taser or similar stun-gun device during his arrest.

But the Olympic silver medallist claims he was also beaten by police and, contrary to police reports, did not resist arrest.

O'Sullivan's lawyer, Bill Reid of Toronto, filed an official complaint May 27 with Ontario's Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD). The OIPRD then forwarded it to city police for review.

Reid said yesterday Belleville Police Deputy Chief Paul VandeGraaf ruled O'Sullivan's complaint is "unsubstantiated" in the wake of an internal review by the police service, Reid said.

The story was broken on our website (www.intelligencer.ca) Wednesday afternoon.

He said O'Sullivan received a letter earlier this month from VandeGraaf.

"As per the Police Services Act of Ontario, I have no decision open to me other than to determine your complaint to be 'unsubstantiated,'" Reid said early Wednesday afternoon, reading from the letter.

"In light of there being no substantiated evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of the officer involved ... this complaint file is now closed," said Reid, again quoting VandeGraaf's letter.

VandeGraaf would not address the complaint directly but said O'Sullivan still has the option to pursue a further review. "The matter's been resolved to the complainant and the investigative file's been forwarded to the OIPRD," VandeGraaf said Wednesday in a telephone interview.

"The process from there is that there are options for the OIPRD to seek it to be reviewed or for the complainant to ask for a review to be done," he said.

"I'm not going to speak about the complaint," said VandeGraaf. "There is still a potential for Mr. O'Sullivan to request a review so it would be a bit premature for us to speak about that," he said.

Reid said VandeGraaf's ruling "is not a surprise" and he and O'Sullivan will pursue the case with the OIPRD. "We are going to go ahead with the review," he said. "There is an opportunity to enclose further reasons or other evidence into the court," said Reid. "I don't want to disclose what that will be just yet but we will be enclosing further material."

Reid said O'Sullivan was arrested by Const. David Bradley and one other officer, possibly an auxiliary member of the force. He said O'Sullivan's complaints are based on two issues: the use of the stun gun and the boxer's claim he was "knee-capped" by police. O'Sullivan has charged officers stepped on the backs of his calves and thighs, causing knee damage.

"I can tell you that it's the subject of medical treatments even as we speak," Reid said. "I believe there is corroboration for Shawn's allegations," said Reid. He said he was waiting to see a copy of the police review's final report.

VandeGraaf said a police paperwork error meant not all documents on the matter were sent properly, but that Reid should have received the Wednesday afternoon.

Reid could not be reached for comment later in the day.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

O'Sullivan's complaint against police 'unsubstantiated' - deputy plice chief

Belleville's deputy police chief has ruled ex-boxer Shawn O'Sullivan's complaint against the Belleville Police Service is "unsubstantiated," The Intelligencer has learned.

O'Sullivan was arrested last November by city police following a physical confrontation with a neighbour. Though criminal charges of mischief and assault were withdrawn he was placed under a court order preventing him from contacting the man.

Police and O'Sullivan agree he was shocked by a Taser or similar stun-gun device during his arrest.

But the Olympic silver medallist claims he was also beaten by police.

O'Sullivan's lawyer, Bill Reid of Toronto, said yesterday Belleville Police Deputy Chief Paul VandeGraaf ruled O'Sullivan's complaint is "unsubstantiated" in the wake of an internal review by the police service, Reid said.

The deputy chief would not address the complaint directly but said O'Sullivan can still ask Ontario's Office of the Independent Police Review Director to review the case.

Reid said he and O'Sullivan will pursue that review.

Inquest to examine Delhi man’s death - Jeff Marreel died after being Tasered by police

September 16, 2010

An inquest will begin next month into the death of a Delhi man who died after being Tasered by Norfolk OPP in June 2008.

But that's offering little comfort to the man's father, who says he continues to be frustrated by a lack of answers in the case.

"Why will it do any good? It's two years afterwards," Noel Marreel said of the inquest, which begins Oct. 12 in Hamilton.

The death of his son Jeffrey "should never have happened, but it did," he added. "I'm getting stonewalled. You give up after a while."

A jury of five will be convened at the John Sopinka Courthouse in Hamilton to hear evidence from about 21 witnesses.

Police Tasered and then arrested Marreel after being called to the lakeside hamlet of Fisher's Glen following a report of a man acting erratically.

There, police found the 36-year-old — who had a lengthy criminal record, including arrests on drug charges — brandishing a piece of metal.

Marreel was subdued and taken to the OPP detachment in Simcoe where he showed signs of "medical distress." He was taken by ambulance to Norfolk General Hospital where he died.

No criminal charges can come from the inquest, which is expected to last six days, but the jury can make recommendations on public policy, said Dr. David Eden, regional supervising coroner for operations for the ministry of community safety and correctional services.

"The recommendations are not binding, but the majority of them are implemented," noted Eden.

At least 20 people have died in Canada after being jolted by police Tasers since the stun-gun was introduced in 1999.


A report prepared last year by the Ontario Special Investigations Unit, which investigates deaths in police custody, cleared police of any wrongdoing in the Marreel case.

The SIU report labeled the cause of death as "acute cocaine poisoning."

The inquest will be heard by Dr. Jack Stanborough while Hamilton Crown Attorney Karen Shea will act as counsel for the coroner's office.

Eden said inquests are normally held "as close as possible" to where the incident occurred, "but we also take into account the availability of Crown counsel."

Norfolk OPP Insp. Zvonko Horvat said he will attend the inquest "to oversee the process and to show support for my officers."

An inquest, Horvat noted, "is not to find fault in any individual. It's to find solutions, if there are any solutions to be found."

Riverside County (California) sheriff rejects Taser criticism and declines to act on jury recommendations

September 22, 2010
By SARAH BURGE, The Press-Enterprise

Riverside County sheriff's officials, in their formal response to two grand jury reports from late June, have dismissed most of jurors' criticisms and declined to act on most of its recommendations.

The grand jury reports focused on the department's use of stun guns and its handling of harassment complaints by employees at the Lake Elsinore station.

Neither the grand jury reports, nor the Sheriff's Department responses delved into details about the incidents that prompted the grand jury investigations.

One report suggested that deputies might be overusing Tasers and recommended a review of training procedures and written policies to ensure the devices are used properly.

In one incident, a deputy shocked the same person eight times in less than a minute, the report said. A log showing the number, duration and time of day of the Taser shocks was attached to the grand jury report.

Undersheriff Colleen Walker said Tuesday that she did not know which Taser incident the report referred to. She said the department deploys Tasers about 11 times each month and that the grand jury report did not provide enough information to determine which incident the attached Taser deployment log was from.

"We don't know what they were looking at when they crafted their opinions," Walker said.

Sheriff's officials said in July that the Taser deployment records cited in the grand jury report do not give a complete picture of the incident, such as the effectiveness of the shocks and the level of resistance the deputy encountered.

Sheriff's officials said in their written response that they will not change department policy to restrict the number and duration of Taser shocks allowed.

Such a restriction would "result in an unacceptable compromise to public safety," sheriff's officials wrote. Deputies often become involved in violent, unpredictable confrontations and strict limits could prevent them from responding appropriately when there are extenuating circumstances, they wrote.

The response also said the department already conducts the kind of Taser training and detailed reviews of Taser incidents recommended by the grand jury.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Winnipeg cops study ways to avoid losing Taser cartridges

After its officers lost four unused Taser cartridges in eight months, the Winnipeg Police Service is looking at ways to zap any further losses.

Const. Natalie Aitken, a police spokeswoman, said the service’s use of force experts will consider other types of cartridge pouches and speak to other police agencies during a review of the situation to find out if any changes are necessary.

“We’ll be exploring some of the different options, if there are any,” Aitken said.

On Saturday night or Sunday morning, a police officer became the fourth in Winnipeg to lose a Taser cartridge since February.

The cartridge and its black canvas pouch were lost in Division 13 in northwest Winnipeg and haven’t been recovered. Police are seeking the public’s help to locate it.

“It is really of no use unless you possess the (Taser),” Aitken said.

The Taser X26 itself wasn’t lost.

Police didn’t identify any locations where the pouch might have fallen off the officer’s belt.

It’s believed the other missing cartridges — lost in District 3, which encompasses northwest Winnipeg — haven’t been returned to police.

Aitken said most officers attach the pouch to their duty belt, along with their service pistol, handcuffs and other items.

Mike Sutherland, president of the Winnipeg Police Association, said such a loss might occur from time to time because of the physical nature of the job.

The risk of an item becoming loose increases when officers struggle with a suspect, run and hop over fences, among other things, he said.

Sutherland said none of his members have complained to the union about the pouches.

Police said the missing cartridge could pose a risk of harm to someone even if it’s not attached to a Taser.

The cartridge contains barbed probes attached to wires. The probes and wires extend at rapid speed from the cartridge when a Taser is discharged.

If the cartridge is carried in a pocket a buildup of static energy could activate it and cause the probes to be propelled, putting the person at risk of injury.

Police are asking anyone who finds the cartridge to immediately call the non-emergency line at 986-6222.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

For the FOURTH time this year, @winnipegpolice officer loses DANGERous #taser cartridge

Do you suppose that the Winnipeg Police department is really "losing" the cartridges or are they actually "using" the cartridges but can't be bothered with the reporting and paperwork??

On Twitter - truthnottasers: @winnipegpolice haven't tweeted since January! Too busy searching for the FOUR dangerous #taser cartridges they've lost SO FAR THIS YEAR??

September 19, 2010
CTV News

WINNIPEG — A Winnipeg police officer lost the cartridge from his Taser Saturday night and police say it could be dangerous to anyone who finds it.

The cartridge - which contains probes and wires that deliver a shock when discharged - fell off an officer's belt overnight somewhere in District 13 in Northwest Winnipeg.

The Taser itself was not lost.

Police say the cartridge could pose a risk, especially if it's placed in a pocket. A build-up of static energy could activate the cartridge, causing the probes to be propelled.

If you find the cartridge, call @winnipegpolice immediately.

Chiefs criticize Iowa's top police trainer

September 19, 2010
CLARK KAUFFMAN, Des Moines Register

... One police chief has complained that Westfall exposed Iowa's police departments and sheriffs' offices to financial liability by using an uncertified Taser instructor ... In May, Arnolds Park Police Chief Alan Krueger complained to the governor that a Taser-instruction class led by Westfall was a "debacle" and a waste of taxpayer money. Krueger said the class was only half as long as promised and covered the same ground as a separate class officers had to attend the next day ... He wrote: "It appears the only one that benefited was the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy as they were able to charge the cities and counties an extra $100 per attendee." ... Krueger also complained that no one at the academy apologized to Iowa's police chiefs and sheriffs for exposing them to serious financial liability by allegedly using an uncertified Taser instructor ...

Krueger wasn't the only Iowa police chief to complain about Westfall's instruction in Taser usage. In May, Estherville Police Chief Eric Milburn wrote to Westfall and said the officer he sent to the class reported that it was repetitive, redundant and contradictory to accepted training methods. "Your administrative policies, decisions and administrative rules are consistently and continuingly causing conflict between the academy and the Iowa law enforcement community," Milburn wrote. Milburn copied the governor's office on his letter, and also complained to Krukow. "My confidence in the academy is pretty much at an all-time low," Milburn wrote. Culver's staff met with Westfall, who responded to Milburn with a letter assuring him she would continue to work with Iowa officers to provide the best service the academy could offer. In July, Sheriff Warren Wethington of Cedar County complained to Culver that there appeared to be a "severe lack of confidence and respect with Director Westfall."

One of Wethington's deputies, Orville Randolph, complained to the academy council that Westfall "failed to even show up for a class" in one instance, and that her instruction was "rambling and incoherent."

He added, "In my 21 years of experience at the Cedar County Sheriff's Office, I have never seen such open contempt and disrespect for the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy. I believe it is because of only Penny Westfall and it is time for new leadership at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy, and it needs to be done NOW."

Westfall told the Register that some of the recent complaints are based on a misunderstanding regarding Hansen's certification as a Taser instructor.

Over the past 14 months, some Iowa officers attended Taser classes taught by Hansen at a time when Hansen was not certified by Taser International. When the company sent out a letter advising police agencies that anyone who attended the classes would not be certified by the company, some police chiefs and sheriffs felt cheated and complained they were being exposed to additional liability by the academy.

Westfall wrote to the Register that a Taser-certified instructor was present for the classes taught by Hansen and the officers who attended those classes were later able to take an online course and become certified by the company.

State records show Hansen's teaching methods were being questioned as far back as 2006.

Three years ago, Taser International faulted Hansen for failing to follow the company's approved lesson plan, and it recommended that Hansen refrain from teaching any additional classes on the Taser. According to the company's vice president of training, Rich Guilbault, Hansen was apologetic and promised to do better.

But the company concluded in 2008 that Hansen was teaching an unauthorized, abbreviated course on Taser use, and asked him to refrain from teaching any more Taser classes. According to the company, Hansen didn't respond.

Earlier this year, Guilbault wrote to Westfall and expressed his concerns.

"As I understand it, Mr. Hansen has arranged it so he is the only person who can certify Taser instructors in the state of Iowa," Guilbault wrote. "I find this information, if true, disturbing in itself as it indicates he is more concerned with his own authority than with the welfare of the officers of Iowa."

Although he declined to answer any questions from the Register, Hansen said in a statement: "I've never instructed a class I was not properly certified and trained in. I hope and pray that my legacy will be that I sincerely cared for every officer that I've ever taught."

Saturday, September 18, 2010

California man dies after he is tasered

September 18, 2010: Joseph Frank Kennedy, 48, La Mirada, California

Man shot with Taser by Minneapolis police dies

September 18, 2010
Minneapolis Star Tribune

A 28-year-old man shot with a Taser gun by Minneapolis police died Friday night, police said Saturday.

David Cornelius Smith had been on life support at Hennepin County Medical Center since the Sept. 9 incident. He was declared brain dead and life support equipment was to be disconnected Friday night, his uncle, Larry Smith of Oak Park, Ill. said. David Smith died at about 9:30 p.m., said police spokesman Sgt. Jesse Garcia.

About 3:45 p.m. Sept. 9, after police were called to the YMCA at 30 S. 9th St. on a report of a man who was disturbing patrons in the sixth-floor gym.

When officers Timothy Gorman and Timothy Callahan tried to physically remove Smith from the Y, he fought with them for several minutes, injuring one of them slightly before he was shot with a Taser, police said. After he was arrested, he experienced a medical emergency and was rushed by ambulance to the hospital, police say. Gorman and Callahan, both department veterans, were placed on standard paid administrative leave.

Larry Smith said the initial jolt from the Taser caused David Smith to go into cardiac arrest. He said his nephew suffers from bipolar disorder. The family believes police did not handle the situation properly, Larry Smith said.

He added that the family was told that David Smith was handcuffed and restrained when he was Tasered, and that family members have seen marks on his back.

A native of Peoria, Ill., David Smith moved to the Twin Cities about eight years ago for a Job Corps position and decided to stay, his uncle said.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Taser death delay - RCMP failing to sign-off on Knipstrom report now 300 days overdue

September 17, 2010
Tyler Olsen, The Times

Nearly three years after Robert Knipstrom died after being arrested by Chilliwack Mounties, an investigation into the events leading up to his death continues to gather dust at RCMP headquarters.

Knipstrom died on Nov. 24, 2007, five days after being pepper sprayed, Tasered and hit with a baton as Mounties attempted to subdue him.

The Commission for Public Complaints (CPC) Against the RCMP launched a "chair-initiated complaint" immediately after the arrest of Knipstrom. Last November it completed its investigation into the incident and forwarded its report to the RCMP for final comment.

The CPC recommends that the Mounties take no longer than 30 days to sign-off on reports and comment on whether, and how, it plans to address the issues raised. But nearly 300 days after receiving the Knipstrom case, the report has still not been released.

The initial complaint called for a review: of Mounties' use of force; of medical treatment Knipstrom received in Chilliwack immediately following his arrest; "of whether the RCMP officers involved in the criminal investigation of the members involved in the events of Nov. 19, 2007, complied with the RCMP policies, procedures, guidelines and statutory requirements;" and of whether that investigation "was carried out in an adequate and timely fashion."

The delay cannot be explained by a lack of familiarity with the case on the part of Mounties; the investigation into how Knipstrom died was itself undertaken by the RCMP. Still, the CPC report will be made public, but only after the RCMP top brass reports on what actions the police force may take.

"They're responding to our recommendations in this report," said CPC spokesperson Kate McDerby. "That's why we feel that the 30 days, as a guideline, is something that is manageable--because they're not going back to investigate it again.

The Knipstrom case isn't unique as far as overdue CPC reports go. Indeed, the RCMP has yet to sign off on 14 reports that are even older than the Knipstrom case. One of those reports has been waiting for RCMP comment for more than 500 days, according to McDerby.

This backlog of CPC reports is relatively new. After clearing a separate accumulation of investigations by March of last year, the Mounties were praised in the CPC's 2009 annual report.

But the RCMP says that recent large-scale security operations have strained its ability to deal with the reports.

"There is currently a backlog and the reason for that is we've had to reallocate our resources over the past 12 months due to the Olympics and the G-8 and G-20 meetings earlier this summer," said RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Pat Flood.

McDerby said the CPC and the Mounties are meeting to address the problem. Still, with cases like Knipstrom's long overdue, the organization is encouraging the RCMP to get moving.

"We know that there were constraints put on the RCMP this year," said McDerby. "In spite of that, we feel that the creation of a backlog becomes part of a slippery slope and...we're the shepherds of the public complaints process, we want to ensure that Canadians have access to [a process] that is timely."

Until receiving notice from the RCMP on what action it may take to address the reports, the CPC cannot comment on any recommendations it may have made.

"Ideally we like a complaint to be, from the time it comes in until the final report is issued, to be no longer than a year," she said. The Knipstrom case is approaching its three-year anniversary.

Last year, a coroner's inquest linked Knipstrom's death to "excited delirium" and serious ecstasy intoxication. Coroner Vincent Stancato recommended that all B.C. emergency services personnel should receive more training on how to identify and deal with excited delirium.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Inquest into the death of Jeffrey Marreel announced

HAMILTON, ON, Sept. 16 /CNW/ - Dr. David Eden, Regional Supervising Coroner for Operations, today announced that an inquest will be held into the death of Jeffrey Marreel.

Mr. Marreel, 36, died on June 23, 2008, at the Norfolk General Hospital following his arrest by the Ontario Provincial Police. An inquest is mandatory under the Coroners Act.

The inquest will examine the events surrounding Mr. Marreel's death. The jury may make recommendations aimed at preventing similar deaths.

The inquest is expected to last six days and to hear from approximately 21 witnesses.

The inquest will begin at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, October 12, 2010, at the John Sopinka Courthouse, 45 Main Street East, Hamilton. Dr. Stanborough will preside as inquest coroner and Ms. Karen Shea will be counsel to the coroner.

Oklahoma man dies after police taser him

September 16, 2010: Gary Lee Grossenbacher, 48, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Editorial - Questions from the uninvited

September 15, 2010
Lovely County [Arkansas] Citizen

Clearly Sheriff Bob Grudek is feeling a little defensive. Last Tuesday he called a press conference and notified area media -- except the Citizen.

From what we can glean from reports of the event, Sheriff Bob spent a good deal of time bashing the Citizen's reporting and defending his deputies against the paper's "allegations of excessive force."

Grudek was very upset by the recent "Boys and Their Toys" editorial that criticized the marijuana eradication air-raids in which his department participated, and by the "Deputies gone wild?" story in the Sept. 2 edition. The press conference was his attempt at damage control.

Had the Citizen been notified, we would have had a few questions, but obviously that's why we weren't welcome. Much easier to control the message when the relevant questions aren't asked and you can put all the blame on lying, "politically-motivated" reporters.

One question we would have asked is, "Why aren't instances of use of force by the department documented and tracked?" Tasers and pepper sprays are considered "non-lethal force weapons" although both have resulted in injuries and deaths.

Law enforcement professional groups recommend their use be documented for statistical and procedural review and most agencies have such procedures in place. That our sheriff's office does not is not a reflection on the officers, but on management.

We also would have asked "Why did you violate the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act and not show us your department's Standard Operating Procedures for Tasers and pepper spray? You told us you have them. What are you hiding by not producing them, or is it they don't actually exist? And why all the stonewalling?"

One reporter wrote, "King wrote of several incidents in which he said excessive force was used." Other news outlets reported "allegations of excessive force." Did the sheriff say that or did the reporters just not read the story? There were no such statements in the article, not an allegation anywhere. What was in the story was documentation of police and sheriff department reports, and quotes from police officers, the sheriff and two of the men who were Tasered or pepper-sprayed.

The sheriff reportedly defended his deputies' actions in the three documented incidents as justified, and said, contrary to the report of the officer who brought in the diabetic man, that jailers didn't know the man was diabetic when he was Tasered several times. But they had been told and clearly endangered the life of a man who, with a blood sugar level of 14, was already near death.

The press conference also featured a film and photos showing officers wounded in the line of duty to make the point that non-compliant subjects endanger officers if not subdued with these weapons. The sheriff told reporters the weapons are a good alternative to using guns. We agree, but does that mean if the officers didn't have Tasers and pepper spray, the octogenarian sitting in his garden, the handcuffed drunk and the diabetic would have been shot?

These "non-lethal weapons" were designed to be used instead of guns, but they are still dangerous enough that they should be used judiciously and with restraint. Is CCSO using them at the first sign of non-cooperation? Without incidents being documented and tracked, we'll never know.

Grudek accuses "a select few who have the benefit and availability of space in our local media outlets," of "misreporting" and injecting "personal opinion."

It's easy to call someone a liar, but it holds more water when you specify what lies were told. We stand by every word in the Taser/pepper spray story; it's all well-documented. So our next question might have been, "What, specifically, in the story was inaccurate?" Think we would have stumped them on that one.

They got us on the "personal opinions" part, though. "Boys and Their Toys" was chock full of them, but an editorial is all about opinion. You may not like the opinion, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be expressed. And the fact is, that editorial reflected the views of many of the sheriff's constituents.

Most cops act professionally, but there are bullies and above-the-law cops in all departments. Better if they had a boss interested in weeding them out rather than giving blind, unconditional support.

If there are no bad apples in CCSO, congratulations; it's probably the cleanest police force on the planet.

RCMP foot-dragging blamed for complaints backlog

September 15, 2010
The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The RCMP has been sitting on a pile of complaint findings for months, sparking concern about timely justice for those who have grievances against the national police force.

The Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP says that as of last week it had been waiting 300 days or more for final signoff from the Mounties on 11 complaint investigations. Among them was a high-profile probe into the case of Robert Dziekanski, who died after being stunned with a Taser at Vancouver airport in October 2007.

Another 11 reports have been on the RCMP's desk for between 180 and 300 days, while a further 22 were sent to the force between 30 and 180 days ago.

The Mounties say they've simply been too busy with the Olympics and international leaders' summits to keep up.

The commission aims to shepherd each complaint through the process -- from the initial lodging of the complaint through to its conclusion -- as swiftly as possible, and within one calendar year, said Jamie Robertson, a commission spokesman.

Before a final report is issued, the commission sends an interim report to RCMP Commissioner William Elliott for comments on findings and recommendations -- a phase of the process for which the commission allots 30 days.

Although the commission applies strict standards to its turnaround times for handling complaints, it can "only recommend that the RCMP does the same," Robertson said.

Among the other reports awaiting an RCMP response are the commission's probes of:

-- The RCMP arrest of Robert Knipstrom of Chilliwack, B.C., who died in hospital in November 2007 days after being Tasered, pepper sprayed and hit with a baton;

-- The Mounties' investigation into how a Conservative MP listened in on a 2008 conference call of the federal NDP caucus.

Sgt. Pat Flood, an RCMP spokeswoman, said the force is "cognizant of the backlog" of interim reports.

The force has been delayed in responding due to the "reallocation of resources in recent months to meet the security obligations of the Olympics and G8-G20 summits," she said.

In last year's annual report, the complaints commission had applauded the RCMP commissioner for delivering replies to all but two outstanding investigation files from 2007 and 2008 by the end of March 2009.

This year, however, the backlog has again mushroomed.

Robertson said while the complaints commission "acknowledges the significant strains that security obligations in connection with the Winter Olympics and G8-G20 placed on the RCMP, as stewards of the public complaints process (the commission) is concerned about the accumulation ... and the delays which result."

A Conservative government bill introduced in June to overhaul the complaints commission wouldn't remedy the problem.

Paul Kennedy, the former chairman of the commission, said in a recent interview the lack of legislated time limits for the RCMP to respond to interim complaint findings was "an intolerable situation."

Edmonton police ordered to charge officer

September 15, 2010
Conal Pierse, Edmonton Journal

Alberta's Law Enforcement Review Board has ordered Edmonton's police chief to charge an officer for allegedly using excessive force when he Tasered a man four times in 2003.

In a ruling issued Tuesday, Chief Mike Boyd is directed to charge Const. Aubrey Zalaski with unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority for applying a level of force inappropriate for the circumstances.

The directive was prompted by a complaint from Timothy Ferguson in relation to his arrest on Dec. 24, 2003. The report is an account of what happened that night, based on evidence, statements compiled after the incident and cross-examinations conducted by the board.

The report does not include any information about charges or convictions related to the arrest.

That night, police were responding to a domestic disturbance at Ferguson's residence. He had allegedly thrown a barbecue off his 10th-storey balcony and was yelling in a threatening manner at his girlfriend.

According to the report, Ferguson had consumed methamphetamine and alcohol earlier that night and appeared to be enraged and intoxicated when police arrived. The officers had to force their way into his apartment, at which point Ferguson assaulted one of them, officers said.

The officers called for backup, fearing their lives were in danger. Four other officers responded before Zalaski arrived, and they employed a variety of tactics to restrain Ferguson, including pepper spray, baton strikes and physical strikes and holds.

The report states that Ferguson was also Tasered, which failed to weaken his resistance. The officers resorted to physical restraints.

When Zalaski arrived, Ferguson was face down, restrained by two officers while a third was wrapping up wires to his Taser. One officer requested a mask to prevent Ferguson from spitting. Zalaski went to his cruiser to retrieve one.

Zalaski stated that Ferguson did not calm down after the mask was placed on him and began to increase his resistance. Zalaski then Tasered Ferguson four times.

Ferguson notified the police chief on Dec. 31, 2003, of his intent to file a complaint about excessive force used in his arrest; however, he didn't file the particulars of his complaint until more than two years later on Feb. 12, 2006.

The chief directed an investigation into the incident and stated in a disposition letter on Dec. 1, 2008, that there was no evidence to corroborate Ferguson's claims and that criminal charges were not warranted.

Ferguson appealed the decision to the LERB nine days later, and following an investigation the board concluded "that an objectively reasonable person might not consider the Tasering of the appellant reasonable given that it was deployed four times while the appellant was being held down by several large male officers, was handcuffed, was wearing a spit mask, and was displaying symptoms of excited delirium."

The LERB also directed Boyd to hold a hearing as outlined in the Police Act in relation to the charge.

The actions of other officers accused of excessive force were deemed reasonable by the board "given the urgency of the situation and the intensely violent and aggressive nature of the appellant," the report said.

The board raised concerns about the adequacy of the chief's investigation, noting that Taser download information was only discovered and disclosed after the LERB hearing was underway.

The LERB also noted that Ferguson's lengthy delay in providing the particulars of his complaint made it difficult for the chief to properly investigate all matters in question.

Dean Parthenis, spokesperson for Edmonton Police Service, said the department is withholding comment until the decision has been reviewed by EPS legal advisers.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Texas man dies after police taser him

September 12, 2010
RICHARD ABSHIRE, Dallas Morning News

Freddie Lee Lockett, 30, Dallas, Texas

Family: Man shot with Taser is likely to die

Sep 12, 2010
Minneapolis Star Tribune

A Minneapolis man shot by police with a Taser last week during an altercation at the downtown Minneapolis YMCA is on life support and is not expected to survive, a family member said Saturday.

David Cornelius Smith, 28, suffered from mental illness, said his uncle, Larry Smith, an attorney from Oak Park, Ill. He remained hospitalized Saturday at Hennepin County Medical Center. Family members believe that police mishandled Thursday's Tasering incident, Larry Smith said.

Smith's parents, an uncle and cousins, all from Peoria, Ill., were on their way to Minneapolis on Saturday to be with him, Larry Smith said. They have not talked to police about the details of what happened, but were told by hospital staff to arrive as quickly as possible, he said.

Smith said his nephew suffers from bipolar disorder, a condition that involves periods of excitability or mania alternating with periods of depression. "There are some serious mental health issues for him" that may have led to the behavior that prompted the police call to the YMCA, he said.

Larry Smith said the family is angry that a Taser was used to subdue a mentally ill person.

"I'm sure the police are trained to handle individuals with mental health issues," he said. "There are a lot of people with mental health issues in this country, and they don't get Tased by the police."

Police were called to the YMCA at 30 S. 9th St. at 3:45 p.m. Thursday on a report of a man who was disturbing patrons and were directed to the sixth-floor gym. When officers Timothy Gorman and Timothy Callahan tried to physically remove Smith from the Y, he fought with them for several minutes, injuring one of them slightly before he was shot with a Taser. After he was arrested, he experienced a medical emergency and was rushed by ambulance to the hospital, police say.

Larry Smith said the initial jolt from the Taser caused David Smith to go into cardiac arrest. "It didn't stop his heart; it killed him," he said. "Paramedics restarted his heart on scene."

Since he arrived at the hospital Thursday, Smith's heart has stopped again and once again he was revived, his uncle said.

He said David Smith did not have any underlying physical health issues. "To the best of my knowledge, he was a healthy young man who loved to play basketball," Larry Smith said.

He said he wasn't certain whether his nephew was a YMCA member or had entered the building without permission.

YMCA officials have not discussed details of the case. In a statement released Thursday, YMCA spokeswoman Bette Fenton said police were called "to keep YMCA members and staff safe, and we support the efforts of the officers."

Larry Smith said that he did not know when his nephew received the bipolar diagnosis and that in fact he had not learned of it until last week. He said he also didn't know whether David Smith was taking medication.

David Smith, a native of Peoria, moved to Minneapolis about eight years ago for a Job Corps position and decided to stay in the city, his uncle said. He lived on his own and was taking college courses, though Larry Smith wasn't sure where. When the two last spoke in June, Larry Smith said his nephew talked about getting into a finance job and taking classes to become an investment banker.

David Smith was a "charismatic young man" who was an accomplished cello player in high school, Larry Smith said.

Larry Smith said he has already reached out to two Minneapolis law firms and the NAACP for their help in addressing police actions in his nephew's case. His family is traumatized, he said, and want answers from police.

"He was in Minneapolis because he loved the city," he said. "It's a shame how his love for the city ended up resulting in his death. I'm sure the people of Minneapolis don't want their city to be known as, 'Come love this city, but be careful, the police might kill you.'"

Police are conducting both criminal and internal investigations into what happened. Gorman, a 13-year veteran of the department, and Callahan, a 17-year veteran, are both on standard administrative leave. Both are decorated officers who have received numerous commendations.

According to Minnesota court records, David Smith was recommended for a six-month civil commitment for chemical dependency in 2008. A stay of commitment was ordered, meaning that if Smith voluntarily complied with orders issued by a judge, he would not be committed. In 2000, he pleaded guilty to causing a public nuisance, and in 2009 pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. Both are misdemeanors.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

$7 million suit launched against York Regional Police

September 10, 2010

Two young men who were allegedly beaten and Tasered repeatedly when they were caught up in a drug raid in a Richmond Hill hotel room two years ago have launched a $7 million lawsuit against York Regional Police.

Brandon Talon, then 23, whose battered face appeared on the front page of the Toronto Sun in the wake of the raid, and Jonathan Fontela, then 22, claim they have been left physically and mentally scarred since the wee hours of the morning of Sept. 6, 2008, when they claim they were “brutally” awakened by rifle butts, boot heels and jolt after jolt of electricity.

“Brandon is still having a lot of health problems,” said Brandon’s mom, Barb Talon, who is among the four complainants named in the civil suit. “He’s never been the same.”

Both men, who had no criminal records and passed drug tests, claim they had no idea their old high school pal was a dealer when they crashed in his hotel room.

Nor did they know their friend was under police surveillance for trafficking drugs from the room in the Sheraton Hotel at Hwy. 7 and Leslie St.

A statement of claim, filed with the courts Friday by their Toronto lawyer Leon Gavendo, alleges the pair were asleep on a couch and the dealer was with his girlfriend in a bedroom when officers entered the suite — some in plainclothes, some wearing ski masks and carrying assault rifles.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

At the time, Fontela and Talon thought it was a home invasion because they were half asleep and the officers allegedly didn’t identify themselves as police. Both men claim they instinctively fought for their lives.

“Brandon was tasered by one or more of the said police officers at least 12 times, including before, during and after he had been beaten and placed under arrest and placed in handcuffs, and including before and after he had lost consciousness as a result of being repeatedly beaten and tasered,” the suit alleges.

“Jonathan was tasered by one or more of the said police officers approximately 10 times, including before, during and after he had been beaten and placed under arrest and placed in handcuffs, and including before and after he had been completely subdued.”

The suit accuses officers of acting “maliciously” and using “grossly excessive force.”

Talon lost partial vision in one eye. Fontela suffered permanent brain damage.

They both also claim to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and each is suing for $3 million.

Talon’s mother and Fontela’s father are each asking for $500,000 in the suit, which names York Regional Police Chief Armand Le Barge and 17 of his officers.

“I have already proven my innocence in court,” Brandon said. “Now, all I can do is hope that the people responsible are held accountable for their actions so that no one else gets hurt.”

Police found cocaine in the bedroom and charged all four occupants.

Fontela and Talon later had their drug charges dropped. But they were found guilty of obstructing police and granted absolute discharges.

Le Barge, who is retiring in December after 37 years, said the civil suit was expected.

While he was unable to say much with the matter before the courts, Le Barge said he stands by his officers.

“They took actions that they felt were appropriate,” he said, adding out three of the four people charged have since been convicted.

Friday, September 10, 2010

California man dies after he is tasered

September 10, 2010: Larry Rubio, 20, Lemoore, California

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Are Electric Stun Guns Always 'Non-Lethal' Weapons?

Amelia Templeton September 9, 2010 Portland, OR
OPB News

Electric stun guns are used by law enforcement agencies across the country. People generally call the guns by their most common brand name, Taser.

Most research suggests that the 5-second pulse of electric shock the guns deliver doesn’t cause any long-term harm to a healthy person. But the company acknowledges that Tasers haven’t been scientifically tested on elderly or sick people.

Reporter Amelia Templeton takes a closer look at the recent death of Phyllis Owens, from Sandy.

Sergeant Adam Phillips runs the Taser training program for the Clackamas County Sheriffs. Phillips says that one of the main benefits of the Taser is that’s its safer than other weapons.

Phillips has voluntarily allowed himself to be shocked with a Taser three times. He says is painful. Then it’s over.

Adam Phillips: “I wouldn’t let myself get tasered if I was concerned.”

But two recent incidents in Oregon raise questions about whether the Taser could be linked to more serious health risks.

Steven Avila, a 16-year-old from Salem, was shocked with a Taser by state police in June. He spent several days in the hospital in critical condition.

Little information is available about the incident because Avila is a minor.

In July, a Clackamas County deputy fired a Taser at an 87-year-old woman, Phyllis Owens. She collapsed immediately and died in a hospital about an hour later.

Larry Lewman: “The critical thing is really the timing. And she went down, boom. And that’s how you relate this.”

That’s deputy state medical examiner Dr. Larry Lewman. He performed an autopsy on Owens. He says she relied completely on a pacemaker to tell her heart when to beat, and how fast.

Lewman says the Taser wouldn’t have killed a healthy person. So he listed heart disease as the cause of Owens’s death.

Larry Lewman: “I think it happened at this time and at this place because of the application of the stun gun, which probably interfered with the electrical device.”

Clackamas County Sheriffs classify the Taser as a non-lethal weapon. A spokesman for the sheriffs’ office says the deputy’s use of force was justified. That’s because he believed Ms. Owens was reaching for a pistol. The weapon was actually a pellet gun.

Dr. Eric Putz is the cardiologist who gave Ms. Owens her pacemaker. He has two theories about how the Taser could have interacted with her pacemaker.

Putz says a pacemaker has a wire that acts like an antenna. The sensitive antenna monitors the electrical signal from the heart to make sure it’s beating. Outside electrical signals can trick the pacemaker’s antenna.

Eric Putz: “If it picks up the electrical signal, it believes that that electrical signal is a heartbeat and it will not pace. When you suddenly and abruptly go without a heart beat, you can have life threatening arrhythmias related to that.”

Putz has a second idea about what could have happened in Owens’ case. The stun gun dart hit Owens in the shoulder, not far from where her pacemaker was implanted. Putz says its possible the wires allowed the electricity to travel to her heart, and cause it to beat erratically.

Eric Putz: “That electrical energy, or that, that pathway so to speak, could include that wire that goes from the chest wall down into the heart and lead to a rhythm called ventricular fibrillation.”

Dr. Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy says he doesn’t think either of those scenarios is very likely. In a recent study partially funded by the Taser company, Lakkireddy implanted pacemakers in about a dozen pigs with healthy hearts. Then he shocked the pigs with Tasers. He says the pacemakers in the study did sometimes pick up the current as interference and stop pacing briefly.

The Taser company did not respond to numerous requests for comment.

(REALLY?? Read how "the Taser company" responded to a National Post reporter in May 2008 - Jonathan Kay on the best corporate media department in the world - where they refer to Dr. Lakkireddy's research but omit to mention that the study was partially funded by they themselves.)

On its website, the company cites Dr. Lakkireddy’s study, and says that Tasers are safe even for people with pacemakers.

But the company also warns law enforcement officers that Tasers have not been scientifically tested for use on pregnant, infirm, elderly people, or children. And it says that use of the stun gun on those people could increase the risk of death.

Adam Phillips: “None of them are precluded at any time from our policy or in the training that Taser provides. That’s Sergeant Phillips, with the Clackamas County Sheriffs.

Adam Phillips: “Elderly and young are included in that. They never say you cannot use it against this group under these circumstances.”

Sergeant Phillips says Owens’s death hasn’t led to any policy changes. He says any police use of force can be problematic for people with underlying health issues. But sometimes use of force is unavoidable.

Adam Phillips: “ I don’t know that there is an answer, with any of our tools, with people who have underlying health issues. Neither you or I could tell. A doctor can’t tell. So how would we expect a police officer to?”

The Clackamas County major crimes unit has been investigating Owens’ death. The district attorneys office says the investigation should conclude this week.

Palo Alto police change Taser policy

September 9, 2010
Gennady Sheyner, Palo Alto Online

Recent incidents in which Palo Alto police officers fired their Tasers at suspects would have violated the city's new policy for deployment of the controversial stun guns, Independent Police Auditor Michael Gennaco concluded in his new report.

The report details five recent incidents of Taser use, including one in which an officer fired a Taser at a "young" burglary suspect who tried to run away from the officer. Some of these Taser deployments would have been appropriate under the previous department policy, which permits Taser use when suspects are "actively resisting," which includes such actions as "tensing" or "bracing" to resist arrest. The new policy creates a stricter standard and requires that the suspect "pose an immediate threat of physical injury before firing a Taser is appropriate."

In the case of the unnamed "young man," the officer who fired the Taser appears to have violated even the original, less strict, policy. The officer fired the weapon after the young man ignored an officer's order that he stop and began to run away. The officer missed, but the unnamed suspect, hearing the sound of the Taser, stopped running, lied down on the ground and allowed police to handcuff him. He had a small knife and a screwdriver in his pocket and was arrested for possession of burglary tools, according to the auditor's report.

Though a police supervisor initially determined that the officer's use of the Taser fell within the Department's policy, Police Chief Dennis Burns had "misgivings" about the incident and ordered a new review, which concluded that the officer failed to comply with the existing policy because the officer had minimal evidence at the time about the suspect's intent to burglarize and because the suspect's flight did not constitute "exigent circumstances" or "active resistance or active aggression." The auditor agreed with the review's findings and the officer was forced to undergo new training and receive counseling.

In other cases, officers appeared to have followed the department's previous Taser policy (which was in effect at the time of the incidents) but would not have been in compliance with the revised policy. In one case, officers tried to handcuff a male suspect who appeared "angry, intoxicated and agitated" and who became "verbally confrontational" with the officer. Two officers grabbed the man's hands and bent him forward; a third officer, under direction from his supervisor, fired a Taser at the man's back.

Though the supervisor said the suspect in this case was "actively resisting" by "tensing" during the arrest, both Gennaco and managers in the department had "significant concerns" about this Taser incident. They concluded that the Taser deployment was "minimally within the original policy" but would have been in violation of the new policy.

Gennaco reached a similar conclusion in another case, in which a suspect hit a police patrol vehicle with his car, ran a red light and hit three parked cars and a light post before stopping his car. He then tried to run away, but other officers soon apprehended him. The officer whose car was hit caught up to the suspect while the other officers were handcuffing him. Though one hand was already in a handcuff, the suspect's "muscles tightened" while officers were trying to secure his left arm. The officer whose car was hit then fired a Taser at the suspect, who was then arrested without further incident.

After reviewing the incident, the department and Gennaco concluded that "had this Taser deployment been undertaken under the new revised policy, the application would have been out of policy."

Gennaco wrote that the police department's revised policy also provides guidance on "multiple cycling" of the Taser. Under the new policy, an officer must reevaluate the circumstances and consider whether the suspect still poses an "immediate threat" before a Taser is fired for a second time.

"The new policy restricts use of Taser to more appropriate situations that are consistent with recent legal opinions," Gennaco wrote. "Now that the revised policy has been issued, the Department has begun to provide the necessary training to familiarize officers with the new requirements."

The report also mentions an incident in which an officer's firing of the Taser appeared to be "timely, appropriate and in compliance with the Department's policy, then and now." This case involved two brothers, one of whom the police knew had a history of mental illness (his mother told the police he was "possibly violent, suicidal and delusional"). After leaving his vehicle, the older brother approached a female officer and "raised his arms over his head." The female officer pulled his hands down and other officers moved in to try to restrain the older brother, who began to wrestle with them.

At this point, the female officer fired a Taser at the older brother's back, but the darts "made insufficient contact and were ineffectual." The younger brother joined the fray but was quickly pulled away by an officer. Other officers arrived and tried to place the older brother into the police vehicle but could not do so. Ultimately, paramedics and firefighters arrived, secured the older brother to a gurney and took him to a hospital in an ambulance.

Gennaco said he reviewed tapes of the entire incident from beginning to end and was "impressed by the officer's calm professionalism during the incident and their patience in dealing with a mentally disturbed individual."

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Taser International sells tasers to Jammu and Kashmir (India) to shock protestors in the trouble torn region

JK police gets TASER guns to ‘shock’ protesters
M HYDERI, Greater Kashmir

Srinagar, Sept 8: The Jammu and Kashmir police has procured TASER guns to quell protests in Valley.

Reliable sources told Greater Kashmir that police procured around 50 TASERs from the US based gun making firm.

The TASER trademark, as per observers is an acronym for Thomas A Swift's Electric Rifle.


After Pepper, and Pump Action Guns, TASER is the latest sophisticated weapon introduced in Kashmir. Pleading that TASER is Non-Lethal Weapon, police said it would be used to nab protesters by “putting them to shock”.

TASER, as per police, is an electroshock weapon that uses electrical current of around 900 volts to disrupt voluntary control of muscles.

“Someone struck by a TASER experiences stimulation of his or her sensory nerves and motor nerves, resulting in strong involuntary muscle contractions,” said a police official owning the gun in the City.

The gun, as per police, fires two electrically charged pins on the target putting him to shock so much so that he or she goes unconscious instantly.

“Basically the gun is meant to nab the uncontrollable lot in the mob,” said a police official adding that it could hit close range targets up to the distance of around 25 feet.


In the first phase, the guns are learnt to have been introduced in the summer capital of Srinagar after which cops in other districts of the trouble-torn region would be equipped.

“Presently in Srinagar officials above the rank of ASI (Assistant Sub Inspectors) have been equipped with the Taser gun,” added a police official.

Officials said the security agencies introduced the TASER as an alternative to deadly assault riffles like AK- 47 and INSAS, allegedly used mostly on the protesters in this trouble torn region.