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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mounties involved in case of boy jolted with Taser not yet interviewed

April 15, 2011
The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER — Mounties who used a Taser on an 11-year-old B.C. boy more than a week ago have yet to be interviewed by officers from an outside police force investigating the incident.

Chief Const. Peter Lepine of the West Vancouver Police Department said investigators first interviewed witnesses to the boy's arrest in Prince George, B.C.

"It may seem that interviewing the officers is a task that should have been included in the first phase of the investigation while the team was in Prince George but there is more work to be done before those interviews can take place," Lepine said.

Lepine said his priority is to conduct a fair, thorough and transparent investigation.

West Vancouver police were asked by RCMP to investigate after the boy was shocked by Mounties April 7.

The Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP has announced it will conduct its own investigation and the children's watchdog in B.C. has said she's leaning toward doing a probe as well because the boy was in government care.

The boy was stunned with a shock weapon after RCMP officers responded to a 911 call that a 37-year-old man had been stabbed at a B.C. Children's Ministry facility.

Police found the 11-year-old suspect at a neighbouring property, and the Taser was deployed during his arrest.

First Nations groups have said an independent body, not another police force, should investigate the RCMP officers' actions.

A public inquiry into the 2007 death of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver's airport after he was jolted with an RCMP Taser resulted in recommendations for an independent civilian-led police watchdog in B.C.

Last June, former solicitor general Mike de Jong promised such a body would be formed within the next 12 months.

According to evidence presented at the Dziekanski inquiry, the boy may be the youngest person ever shocked by a police Taser.

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