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Friday, January 27, 2012

Fraction of VPD carries Tasers under new rules

"Tasers can still be used on seniors, children, pregnant women and the mentally ill, despite warnings from the manufacturer."

January 27, 2012
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Peter Grainger

The new standards for Taser use are set to come into effect next week, and they mean that just a fraction of Vancouver police officers are carrying the conducted-energy weapons.

The changes to B.C. policy were recommended by retired judge Thomas Braidwood, who led an inquiry into the death of Robert Dziekanski after being stunned multiple times at the Vancouver International Airport in October 2007.

The Vancouver Police Department is already complying with the province-wide standards, which require officers to undergo training before they can carry Tasers. But the department doesn't automatically send people to be qualified and officers have to volunteer.

Right now, only 107 officers carry a Taser, and a third of those are members of the emergency response team. As of December, there were 1,327 sworn officers in the VPD.

Some of the other new policies include:
  • Tasers are only to be used on violent people
  • Officers must give verbal warnings before shocking anyone
  • They must use, or consider using, crisis intervention first
  • They must avoid chest shots
  • Shocks cannot last for more than five seconds
However, Tasers can still be used on seniors, children, pregnant women and the mentally ill, despite warnings from the manufacturer.

That is a concern for BC Civil Liberties Association director David Eby, who was the only civilian member of the implementation committee on Braidwood's recommendations.

"This device, still untested on those groups, is still being used by police officers and potentially on those groups. That is a potential major issue given the recent Tasering of an 11-year old in Prince George," he said.
"There may be some mistaken notion that now they're safe, now we know what the effects of them are, now we know when we can properly use them and when we can't. I don't think police officers have that information still."

Transit cop turned off by Tasers-Ex-VPD officer says he now doubts safety, usefulness of devices

"Dickhout, a former Vancouver Police Department officer who still works as a transit cop, said he will never carry a Taser again because he believes they are not appropriate for transit policing."

January 27, 2012
Sam Cooper, The Province

A SkyTrain transit cop who Tasered an intoxicated fare evader in Surrey testified Thursday that he believed the man was assaulting his partner, but in the aftermath he was sickened and decided to never use a Taser again.

In an Office of Police Complaints Commissioner discipline hearing, Const. Daniel Dickhout is alleged to have used excessive force on Christopher Lypchuk, who fell and smacked his face on a concrete stairwell after being Tasered at Scott Road SkyTrain station in September 2007.

"I don't think it was excessive," Dickhout testified of his use of the Taser.

"In my view at that time, he was attacking [partner] Const. Chartrand."

Lypchuk was cut over his eye in his fall but could have been concussed or even have died, according to public hearing counsel Joe Doyle.

Dickhout said he escorted Lypchuk off the train for fare evasion and was writing up a ticket on the platform when Lypchuk suddenly picked up two unopened beers and fled for the stairwell exit.

Security-camera footage shows Dickhout quickly drawing his Taser and catching Lypchuk in a steep and narrow stairwell, with his partner blocking Lypchuk from above.

Dickhout's partner "interjected" with a comment, according to Dickhout, and Lypchuk took a jerky step toward the second officer, before stopping.

Dickhout said from below, as Lypchuk took his step: "I see his right elbow back, in what I take to be cocking and throwing a punch."

At that point, Dickhout said, he pulled the trigger and Lypchuk stiffened and fell down several steps.

"I realized, days later when I watched the video from the top of the stairs, that he may not have been doing what I thought he was, and that made me sick," Dickhout said.

Dickhout, a former Vancouver Police Department officer who still works as a transit cop, said he will never carry a Taser again because he believes they are not appropriate for transit policing.

"Since that time, we had the [Robert] Dziekanski incident," Dickhout said.

"I don't think they are quite as safe and useful as I once believed."

Dziekanski died at the Vancouver airport in October 2007 after being Tasered and restrained by RCMP officers.

In cross-examination, Doyle established several inconsistencies between Dickhout's incident report and video evidence shown in court.

Doyle suggested Dickhout truly did not perceive an imminent assault, because Dickhout did not write in his report that he feared Lypchuk was about to punch his partner.

"When I reviewed the video, I was reminded of a punch," Dickhout said. "I don't know why it didn't get into my report."

The hearing has been adjourned until Feb. 22.

Deaths in Police Custody: Excited Delirium

Next On: Tuesday, 20:00 on BBC Radio 31 Jan 2012


Inquests in England are increasingly hearing a new term to explain deaths in police custody: Excited Delirium. It's a diagnosis with origins in the United States, where it has been associated with consumption of massive doses of cocaine. People with ED are said to possess super-human strength and to be largely impervious to pain. They behave bizarrely, sometimes destructively. They often seem paranoid and frequently resist arrest. As police struggle to restrain them they overheat and die.

But critics -- including some British Pathologists -- point out that Excited Delirium is not recognised by the World Health Organisation and that there is a lack of valid research. Civil liberties organisations fear that the diagnosis might be employed to excuse improper use of restraint techniques by police.

For 'File on 4' Angus Stickler has travelled to the cocaine capital of the United States, Miami, where police and scientists are attempting to define and deal with the controversial condition.

And in England he speaks to families whose loved ones have died after being restrained by the police. Is Excited Delirium well-enough understood to be used by courts? And just how many people are dying while being restrained -- either in custody or while being arrested? Are the official figures reliable?

Producer: Andy Denwood.

Tue 31 Jan 2012
BBC Radio 4

(There will be a transcript after the program)

New standards for Taser use go into effect in B.C. Monday Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/news/standards+Taser+into+effect+Monday/6060706/story.html#ixzz1khHd5Yj9

January 27, 2012
Mike Raptis, The Province

B.C. police agencies will soon be forced to comply with new provincial Taser standards following commissioner Thomas Braidwood's landmark 2009 recommendations.

The new standards — most of which will take effect Jan. 30 — will be binding on all police forces in the province, including the RCMP.

The Vancouver Police Department has already adopted the majority of Braidwood's recommendations, including new standards for use of force, equipment storage and electrical testing for the conducted-energy weapons (CEWs), police spokesman Const. Lindsey Houghton said Thursday.

Under the new provincial policing standards, all front-line police officers, recruits and cadets must now complete training in crisis intervention and de-escalation.

"Prior to the legislation, there was no provincial standard of training for CEWs," Houghton said.

There are 107 VPD members certified to carry the Taser on duty. Seventy-six are patrol officers and 31 are assigned to the emergency response team.

Seven transit police officers are certified to use the Taser. However, that number will grow, said Insp. David Hansen, as an unspecified number of transit police will soon undergo the provincial training regime.

In 2009, Solicitor-General Shirley Bond directed all police in B.C. to use de-escalation techniques with all persons, including the emotionally disturbed.

Provincial standards will require police officers who deploy a Taser to provide medical assistance and have an automated external defibrillator readily available.

Karbon Arms Prevails over Taser in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona

January 26, 2012
Market Watch, Wall Street Journal

TAMPA, Fla., Jan 25, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Karbon Arms, a leader in electronic immobilization technology prevailed in the U.S. District Court. In the court filing, Taser International /quotes/zigman/85741/quotes/nls/tasr TASR -0.65% falsely accused Karbon Arms of violating a court ordered injunction. Karbon was vindicated of the baseless allegation by Rick Smith, Taser's CEO, that Karbon is "seeking to evade the Court's injunction through subversive means."

In the hearing to determine whether Karbon Arms is selling an infringing version of the Stinger Systems S-200 Judge James A. Teilborg ruled that the circuitry and operation of the devices are "unquestionably" different. As a result, the Court found that Taser has failed to prove that the Karbon MPID is not more than "colorably different" from the circuit in question. The injunction against Karbon is the result of the assets purchased from Stinger Systems by outbidding Taser in August 2010.

In addition to this victory, in December 2011, the U.S. Patent Office completed a re-examination of Karbon's patent number 7,778,005 and found in favor of Karbon Arms. Taser requested this re-examination in May 2011. Karbon Arms' CEO Robert Gruder stated, "These successful outcomes are proof that Karbon is prepared to defeat Taser's relentless attacks and attempts to corner the Electronic Immobilization Device market."

Matthew Pliskin, President of Karbon Arms, stated, "We are enjoying the momentum on both the legal and marketing fronts. This is an exciting time for Karbon Arms." In response to Taser's October 24, 2011 press release he added, "I am disappointed by Taser's unethical behavior and mischaracterization of Bob Gruder. He has worked tirelessly to produce a competitive product that exceeds the expectations of the marketplace."

Robert Gruder continued, "Taser has done everything in their power to prevent us from entering the marketplace. We will continue to bring our superior products to compete head to head with their offering. We hope the law enforcement community will now clearly see Taser's strategy. My message to Taser International and to Rick Smith is to focus on making a product that can be competitive with the Karbon MPID and you can save your shareholders lots of attorney's fees."

About Karbon Arms:

Karbon Arms is a leading provider of electronic immobilization products. Almost 100,000 individuals have been trained to use Karbon products. The Multi-Purpose Immobilization Device (MPID) is Karbon's flagship product. Innovative officer friendly features such as a cartridge eject system, 22 foot range cartridge, 345 nm laser, off-the-shelf batteries, and a rugged unibody frame construction accent the exterior of the MPID. Under the hood, the MPID utilizes patented technology that allows a safety designed constant current generator.

Effective, Durable, Affordable.

Departments nationwide have made the transition from traditional older immobilization technologies to the newer, cost effective Karbon MPID. Find out more at www.karbonarms.com or call 800-345-STUN

SOURCE: Karbon Arms

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tasers a ‘new urban terrorism’ against ‘downtrodden’: Canadian study

January 20, 2012
By Douglas Quan, Post Media News

"They should have just taken a gun and shot my son‟: Taser deployment and the downtrodden in Canada

The use of Tasers by Canada’s police forces represents a “teething new urban terrorism” that targets society’s “downtrodden,” says a study published this month that looked at more than two dozen deaths involving the stun guns.

Those most likely to get “tased” include the poor, mentally ill and chronic drug users, according to the study, led by Temitope Oriola, who received a Governor General’s Gold Medal for academic excellence upon the completion of his doctoral studies at the University of Alberta last year.

“It is beneath the integrity of the RCMP — a well-respected organization by international standards — and other police establishments in Canada to continue to use the Taser without conclusive independent scientific evidence succinctly demonstrating its effects or consequences on the human body,” the study, published in the journal Social Identities, concludes.

Steve Tuttle, a spokesman for Taser International in Arizona, said in a statement that the study reads more like a social commentary and falsely implies that Tasers caused all the deaths examined.

“The report is woefully out of touch regarding the realities facing Canadian law and enforcement,” he said.

Tuttle cited a U.S. Department of Justice report that found Tasers can significantly reduce injuries to suspects, protect police officers and may prevent injury to bystanders. The same report, however, raised concerns that police may be becoming too reliant on Tasers

In a statement, RCMP spokeswoman Sgt. Julie Gagnon said the force has revised its use-of-force training and policies since 2007 to focus on “de-escalation and communication.”

The latest revision to the RCMP’s Taser-use policy in April 2010 states that Tasers can only be used when someone is causing bodily harm or when an officer believes that a person will imminently cause bodily harm, she said.

The force continues to work with the RCMP Public Complaints Commission, other police agencies and medical experts to enhance policies and training, Gagnon added.

The study reviewed 26 fatalities across the country in which a Taser was involved, including the high-profile death of Robert Dziekanski, a distraught Polish immigrant, following an encounter with police at Vancouver International Airport.

Relying on news accounts of those incidents, the study’s authors conclude that Tasers tend to be used on the most “hapless” members of society.

Many were poor or had chronic drug problems, some were ethnic minorities, and a few were certified as mentally ill, they said.

“Taser use on the downtrodden has led to a very unhealthy mistrust, dread and fear of the police akin to the way members of the public are terrified by terrorist attacks,” the authors wrote.

They go on to say that the huge public outcry that followed Dziekanski’s death was exceptional, as those with histories of poverty, drug use and mental illness tend not to generate much public sympathy.

In an interview, Oriola said he understands the dangers and risks that police face, but he insisted that there should be a moratorium on Taser use in Canada.

The days when academics sit on the sidelines and do “objective analysis” are becoming a “thing of the past,” Oriola said. Scholars need to take a stance on issues, especially those that involve society’s most vulnerable, he said.

Nicole Neverson of Ryerson University in Toronto and Charles Adeyanju of the University of Prince Edward Island were co-authors.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Attorney calls Taser use ‘sadistic’

January 18, 2012
Katherine Heerbrandt, Gazette.net

A Frederick County sheriff’s deputy acted in a “sadistic” manner four years ago when he hit a 20-year-old man twice with a Taser, the attorney for the man’s family told a federal jury Tuesday.

That man, Jarrel Gray, died soon after, and his family is seeking $145 million in damages in a wrongful death lawsuit that began Tuesday in federal court in Baltimore.

In his opening statement, attorney Gregory Lattimer told the jury that Cpl. Rudy Torres of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office used excessive force in the events surrounding the death of Gray on Nov. 18, 2007.

Gray’s family is claiming wrongful death, excessive use of force, and battery on the part of the now-retired Torres.

“You will determine if the initial tasing was appropriate and if the second tasking was appropriate under the circumstances, and render a decision based on your answers,” Lattimer told the jury. “We are convinced you will agree that shouldn’t have happened.”

Torres’ attorney, Daniel Karp, outlined a different scenario of how and why Torres used the Taser on Gray, and said the deputy was following procedure when he shot Gray with the stun gun to force him to get on the ground and show his hands.

“We will show that a reasonable and well-trained officer could not appreciate the fact that the use of the Taser might cause serious injury or death,” Karp said.

Torres responded to a dispatcher’s calls about fighting near Gresham Court, on the western side of Frederick, in the early morning hours of Nov. 18, 2007.

While Lattimer characterized the altercation between Gray and a friend as “acting the fool, like young people do,” Karp painted a more serious picture of the fight between two young men that prompted neighbors to call 911.

When Torres responded, he saw three young men on the sidewalk, and a woman in a car. When he demanded they show their hands and get down on the ground, two complied, while Gray turned his back, then turned around with his hands in his pants, both lawyers said in their opening statements.

Karp told the jury that all the men were “verbally resistant.” Torres shot Gray in the chest with the Taser, and he fell to the ground, with his hands pinned under him. When he did not show his hands, Torres delivered the second shot.

“That doesn’t mean he had something in his hands. It may mean he’s stupid or it may mean he’s drunk … but he continued to be a threat to the deputy,” Karp said.

Witnesses for the Gray family will testify that Gray’s hands were by his side, Lattimer said.

Lattimer told the jury that Torres delivered the second shot while Gray was on the ground unconscious, and did nothing to help him. Karp disputed the allegation, and said Torres did “nothing wrong.”

“And even if he did, he did not cause this young man’s death,” Karp said.

Torres allegedly used the Taser a second time on Gray because he would not show the deputy his hands while on the ground after the first shot. The state medical examiner, scheduled to testify later this week, named the cause of death “undetermined” and noted that a Taser had been used.

The medical examiner found nothing abnormal during the autopsy, Karp told the jury, but that Gray’s blood-alcohol level was .23, a level he said is “consistent with binge drinking.”

Maryland state law considers a person with a blood-alcohol level of .08 as too drunk to drive.

“That young man didn’t deserve to die because, at 20 years old, he had too much to drink,” Lattimer said.

The Gray family is seeking $145 million in damages against Frederick County, the Sheriff’s Office and Torres, and amount Lattimer said in an interview was set to “indicate the seriousness of the suit.” The jury can determine a specific award if it finds in favor of the Gray family.

The Sheriff’s Office and Frederick County were split from the original suit, which can be revisited later.

County attorney John Mathias said the reason for splitting the suit is that the liability of Frederick County and the Sheriff’s Office only comes into play if it can be determined Torres did not receive proper training in the use of Tasers. Mathias said the chances of that are “slim.”

Sheriff Chuck Jenkins (R) was in the courtroom, but had to leave when Lattimer told Karp he wanted to put Jenkins on the witness stand during the trial. Attorneys said the trial will likely last this week and perhaps into the next.

A Frederick County grand jury found no criminal wrongdoing in the death of Gray.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bipolar Man's Death by Taser Needs Jury Trial

One to watch, maybe the U.S. test case on how tasers will be used in the future in the United States of America - no more indiscriminate use!!!!

January 17, 2012
Tim Hull, Courthouse News Service

(CN) - Police may be liable for the death of a man who was shot twice with a Taser by a police officer trying to make him stop directing traffic naked, a federal judge ruled.

Brian Cardall, 32, had a psychotic episode in the car while he and his wife, Anna, were driving near Hurricane, Utah, with their infant daughter in June 2009.

Unable to get Brian back in the car, Anna called the Hurricane City Police Department. Officer Kenneth Thompson and Police Chief Lynn Excell found Brian standing in the road, completely naked and trying to direct traffic, when they arrived at the scene.

Thompson told Brian to get down on the ground 13 times, according to deposition testimony. After Brian failed to comply, Thompson deployed his stun gun twice at Brian without warning. Excell put Brian in handcuffs as officers radioed the paramedics. While waiting for the arrival of paramedics, however, a third officer noticed that Brian had stopped breathing and lacked a pulse. Brian was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Brian's widow, children and parents raised a series of constitutional and state-law claims against Officer Thompson, Chief Excell and the city of Hurricane.

Though the defendants claimed qualified immunity, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups ruled said the disputed facts make the case ripe for a jury.

Most significantly, there are "conflicting eyewitness accounts" as to whether the naked, unarmed man posed enough of a threat to the officers to justify the use of the Taser.

While the officers testified that Brian had "charged" Thompson, Anna Cardall and a passing motorist gave a different story, saying that he merely "turned toward the officer" or took "one small step" his way.

"If Brian suddenly charged at Officer Thompson in a violent manner, then he may have posed a threat to the police and there would be considerable justification for the Tasing," Waddoups wrote.

"If, on the other hand, Brian simply turned towards Thompson, or was taking a few steps in various directions as he had been since the officers arrived on the scene, then he was not a threat," the Jan. 11 decision states. "Brian was a considerable distance from the road, and did not verbally threaten the police, himself, or his family. He was naked and clearly unarmed, and outnumbered by the officers on the scene, who significantly outweighed him and were about to be joined by additional backup. If the facts are viewed in the light most favorable to Anna's claim, then Brian did not pose a threat."

"Brian was Tased although he was not guilty of any serious crime or attempting to flee," the judge added. "If all factual disputes are resolved in favor of Anna, Brian was not a threat to the officers who impatiently Tased him when, in his confusion, he was slow to comply with their demands. Tenth Circuit case law, as well as authority from other jurisdictions, explicitly holds that Tasings under similar circumstances violated clearly established Fourth Amendment law."

Immunity does protect the defendants from three claims alleging that officers violated Anna's constitutional rights by holding her illegally and failing to get her husband medical treatment.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Texas man dies after police taser him

709. January 15, 2012: Daniel Guerra, 24, Fort Worth, Texas

TAZED - the movie

Please forward and share


Become a Friend, Witness, Protector, Defender, Champion,Guardian Angel or Patron Saint of Robert Dziekanski. Contribute to the movieTAZED.

We need your help to make TAZED. We can't do it on our own. So far, TelefilmCanada, a private investor, our creative team and our own company UTOPIAPICTURES have financed the development and got us to this point. Now, we needYOUR support.

FUND A - Packaging/Financing/Preproduction.

FUND B - PRODUCTION: TBA. Stay tuned for more information. In the meantime contribute to FUND A.

GOAL FUND A: $10,000 + to covercosts necessary to get TAZED into production such as final script changes andscript breakdown, Polish translation, location scouting, final budget, legaland accounting.



Packaging – Financing


REWARDS FUNDS A & B:All contributors will get a credit on the TAZED website and at the end titlesequence of the film, plus other rewards depending on the level ofcontribution.

CONTRIBUTE $25 or more: Become a"FRIEND OF ROBERT DZIEKANSKI", get this credit plus a "Get Tazed" button.

CONTIRIBUTE $50 or more: Becomea  "WITNESSES OF ROBERT DZKIEKANSKI", get this credit, a "Get Tazed" buttonplus a poster signed by the actor who plays Robert Dziekanski.

get this credit, all of the above plus a DVD when the film is released.

get this credit, all of the above plus  a "Get Tazed" T-Shirt orhat signed by lead cast & crew.

get this credit, all of the above plus an invite to the cast & crewscreening in Vancouver (travel not included)

get this credit, all of the above plus an invite to the Premiere of the film inthe city closet to you. (Travel not included)

CONTRIBUTE $2500 or more: Becomea "GUARDIAN ANGEL OF ROBERT DZIEKANSKI", get this credit, all of the above plus anopportunity to be an extra in the movie. (Travel not included)

CONTRIBUTE $5000 or more: Becomea "PATRON SAINT OF ROBERT DZIEKANSKI", get this credit, all of the above plus theopportunity to spend a day on the set while in production and to come to therough cut screening and contribute your suggestions.

INVEST: $5000 or more andshare in the profits of the film. Check out the page on this website INVEST for more information.You must be an AccreditedInvestor to qualify.


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Utopia Pictures
Ste 2 - 2629 West 1st Avenue
Vancouver, BC V6K 1H1

California man dies after police taser him

708. January 15, 2012: Hutalio Serrano, 43, Colton, California

... it is not immediately known if the Tasering specifically led to Serrano's death. “While in custody, Serrano suffered some type of medical emergency," said one of the arresting officers in his written statement about the fatality.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Editorial: Delirious Fatality report

January 7, 2012
Calgary Herald

The fatality report into the death of Gordon Bowe adds ammunition to the argument that public inquiries too often become a waste of time and money.

Provincial Court Judge Heather Lamoureux’s recommendations are curious, in that they are almost entirely built around the theory that excited delirium is a legitimate medical condition, an assertion that’s controversial and widely disputed. She concluded Bowe, 40, died as a result of excited delirium syndrome, which she says was brought on by cocaine use, and not from the deployment of a Taser gun, used by Calgary police trying to subdue him.

Her nine recommendations in the seven-page report almost all deal with developing protocols around excited delirium, treating it as a legitimate condition without reference to the controversy or debate in the medical community. She calls for mandatory training of emergency response workers, police and dispatchers in identifying excited delirium, and wants a national database established, where police chiefs across Canada would “record and share information relating to death associated with Excited Delirium.”

There’s another school of thought that warns the controversial diagnosis of excited delirium is a distraction from the true cause of the medical condition that caused the death, and is used to justify use of force by police.

The exhaustive Braidwood inquiry into the Taser death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski heard overwhelming evidence that, while delirium is real, excited delirium is “NOT a valid medical or psychiatric diagnosis.” Moreover, it “provides a convenient post-mortem explanation for in-custody deaths where physical and mechanical restraints and conducted energy weapons were employed.”

Just a year ago, another provincial court judge in Halifax, who presided over an 11-month inquiry and wrote a far more comprehensive 460-page report, to Lamoureux’s seven pages, reached conclusions similar to Braidwood’s.

Provincial Court Judge Anne Derrick rejected excited delirium as the cause of death of a man Tasered repeatedly by police. She warned: “This case should sound a loud alarm that resorting to ‘excited delirium’ as an explanation for a person’s behaviour and/or their death may be entirely misguided.”

Excited delirium is not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the medical community’s bible for diagnosing psychiatric illness. Even an independent report commissioned by the RCMP criticized the term and concluded it is sometimes used as an excuse to justify using a Taser.

All that aside, asking police officers to diagnose the mental state of an agitated suspect in the midst of a crime scene places too much responsibility on those who are not trained psychiatrists.

John Dooks, president of the Calgary Police Association union, offers another perspective. Dooks supports any tools that can help better educate and train officers, so that they are able to identify the symptoms described as excited delirium, regardless of whether or not excited delirium is a legitimate medical condition.

We agree there are physical attributes that are common in all of these cases that police would do well to understand and recognize. When these symptoms present themselves, police should refrain from using stun guns on the suspects, and call for medical help immediately. A public inquiry isn’t needed to reach that conclusion.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

EDITORIAL: Delirious over delirium

The Globe & Mail NAILED IT in yesterday's editorial!!

January 4, 2012
Globe and Mail

Canada does not need a national delirium over “excited delirium.” This supposed cause of many deaths in police custody, including those involving the use of tasers, was laid to rest after the exhaustive Braidwood inquiry following the 2007 death of the Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski.

Why then has an Alberta judge ruled that Gordon Bowe, tasered and restrained by several officers, died from “excited delirium syndrome”? Why is Judge Heather Lamoureux of Alberta Provincial Court proposing everything from the training of police dispatchers in diagnosing “excited delirium” to the creation of a countrywide “excited delirium” database?

“Excited delirium” (overheating and wild behaviour) is a blind alley, not a recognized medical condition. It is a convenient way to avoid tough scrutiny of police practices that may contribute to death.

Mr. Braidwood, a retired appeal court judge, spent two years and oversaw two inquiries, one on the overall safety concerns around the taser, and one on Mr. Dziekanski’s brutal death after being tasered five times by the RCMP at the Vancouver International Airport. He spoke to experts in emergency medicine, cardiology, electrophysiology, pathology, epidemiology, psychology and psychiatry. Judge Lamoureux did not refer in her seven-page ruling to Mr. Braidwood’s 1,000-plus page reports.

Mr. Braidwood concluded that “excited delirium” is not a medical condition. By contrast, delirium is a recognized cognitive and brain dysfunction that is a symptom of an underlying medical condition. This is not just semantics; it points to the real problem – dealing with a sick individual without killing him. “It is not helpful to blame resulting deaths on ‘excited delirium,’ since this conveniently avoids having to examine the underlying medical condition or conditions that actually caused death, let alone examining whether use of the conducted energy weapon and/or subsequent measures to physically restrain the subject contributed to those causes of death.”

Mr. Bowe was on cocaine and acting wildly in a dark house. The tasering and heavy-handed restraint by Calgary police may or may not have been justified – though the judge should have questioned “kicks to the side of Mr. Bowe’s body.” Any policy built around “excited delirium” would be an irrational response to such a death. Judges and policy-makers should read Mr. Braidwood’s reports.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Alberta judge suggests database for excited delirium

WHO substaniates ED as being anything, beyond a wide list of symptoms? (Dr. Christine Hall?!) The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) doesn't recognize it. And Braidwood concluded ED is hokum. Who's right? Where is the definitive science on the subject?

WHY do you only hear of ED in the wake of CEW-related deaths?

WAS the output of the CEW 'measured'? If not, the ME acted without full information. In other words his conclusion is flawed.

Even if the CEW was measured, there would still be the little problem of protocol. The CPRC, RCMP, BC Solicitor General's Office and probably the Alberta government, have accepted the 600 Ohms test protocol from TI. This is exactly the same mistake made over a decade ago- no one in government verifying the scientific or medical claims. In this case it is a mode of measurement that is flawed: it is admitted by the developers from Carleton/MPB/Datrends that their test is 'uncomprehensive' and NOT independent. An inflated resistance value in the protocol IS, however, a good way to cover the tracks of past mistakes, as now virtually all CEWs will pass!

And if Gordon Bowe WAS suffering a truly psychotic episode (from cocaine or anything else) this is exactly the worst thing an officer could do. When in a state of fear, pain, high stress and agitation, your PH level in the blood is already plummetting; to add the pain and fibrillation of lactic-acid-producing muscles to the mix can be enough to take a vulnerable person over the edge.

January 3, 2012
CBC News

A fatality inquiry into the death of a man during an encounter with Calgary police recommends a national database on excited delirium.

It’s just one of nine recommendations released Tuesday into the man’s death after Calgary police used a stun gun to arrest him three years ago.

Officers found Gordon Bowe from Castlegar, B.C., behaving erratically in the basement of a vacant house in the southeast community of Fonda Park in 2008.

Police described Bowe as jumping and diving off walls, saying he fought against officers for several minutes during the arrest then was "very still and did not look like he was doing well."

Bowe was being restrained by four city police officers who had been called to investigate a possible break and enter. The 30-year-old had also been shocked with a Taser, although the stun gun did not appear to work according to officers.

The medical examiner's report said Bowe's death was caused by excited delirium due to high levels of cocaine, not the use of a Taser.

At the time, Bowe's family said the arresting officers should have recognized the state he was in and treated him accordingly.

Provincial court Judge Heather Lamoureux had nine recommendations, including the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police create a database to record and share details about deaths due to excited delirium.

"For the same rationale as a provincial system is required, similar reporting on a national scale would provide an enormous amount of data upon which the Canadian police chiefs could conduct research," wrote Lamoureux.

Officials with the organization were unavailable for comment.

More training needed

Another key recommendation is that all police agencies in Alberta train their officers annually in the identification and management of excited delirium incidents, and that training should involve real case studies and scenario-based training.

Lamoureux noted Calgary police are already training officers about the condition, but it's not being done throughout the province.

The report also suggests that all 911 call takers and dispatchers providing services to police agencies receive updated training on excited delirium.

Excited delirium, also known as autonomic hyper-arousal, is characterized by increased strength, paranoia and suddenly violent behaviour. It is further marked by profuse sweating and an elevated heart rate.

Dr. Christine Hall, an expert on excited delirium from Victoria, is attempting to document all excited delirium cases across the country which involved police restraint.

Hall testified last year at the inquiry there is insufficient data to determine whether all cases of excited delirium lead to death. But she said the risk of death increases with physiologic stress, such as a physical encounter with officers.

She suggested police need to better recognize the symptoms of the condition and try to reduce the stress of people they are placing under arrest.

"It was Dr. Hall's observation that more time must be taken to teach police that individuals who 'give up' suddenly during a physical interaction with police may in fact be in need of urgent emergency care," said the judge's report.

Controversial diagnosis

Two years ago, a judge examining the death of a man Tasered by Halifax-area jail guards ruled out the cause of death as excited delirium. The judge in that case, Anne Derrick, ruled Howard Hyde died because jail guards applied restraint techniques that interfered with his breathing. Hyde was a longtime paranoid schizophrenic.

Derrick noted there is considerable controversy within the medical community as to whether excited delirium is a legitimate condition.

The issue came under scrutiny during the public inquiry into the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski, who died in 2007 after he was Tasered by a Mountie at Vancouver International Airport.

A subsequent independent report commissioned by the RCMP also criticized the use of the term excited delirium. It said the condition is sometimes used as an excuse to justify firing stun guns.

In 2009, the RCMP restricted the use of stun guns to cases involving threats to officers or public safety, because officers had been instructed to use the weapons to subdue suspects thought to be in a state of excited delirium.

That term no longer appears in RCMP operational manuals, because the force believes officers can't be expected to diagnose it.