Category Archives: taser stories

Kennedy Slams RCMP (And Another Public Servant Gets Skewered)

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Paul Kennedy, chairman of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, issued a report yesterday concerning his opinion of what happened on the night that Robert Dziekanski died in Vancouver.

Full story here.

Among his observations were the following:

  • “Use of the (stun gun) against Mr. Dziekanski was premature and inappropriate,” Kennedy said, dismissing police claims that Dziekanski posed a serious threat.

  • He sharply criticized the Mounties for wanting to delay the release of the commission’s report, and for failing to adopt earlier recommendations on the use of Taser stun guns that were issued following the 2007 incident.

  • Kennedy also warned the iconic national police force that its risked losing the public’s trust over its handling of the case.

Meanwhile, our Canadian government does nothing besides maybe finding ways to fund research into ‘excited delirium’.  In fact, the parting comment from the Reuters article (below) is that Kennedy’s feedback may have cost him his job.

From Reuters:

Canada’s Mounties slammed in fatal Taser case

By Allan Dowd

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Dec 8 (Reuters) – The Royal Canadian Mounted Police acted prematurely and inappropriately in their use of electronic stun guns in an incident at Vancouver airport that led to death of a Polish immigrant, a government commission reported on Tuesday.

Robert Dziekanski died in October 2007 shortly after he was repeatedly shocked with a Taser stun gun and subdued by RCMP officers. A bystander’s video of Dziekanski screaming on the floor as he died was broadcast around the world, drawing public outrage and contradicting initial police statements that they shot him after having to wrestle him to the ground.

The four Mounties who confronted Dziekanski at the airport had no plan when they arrived on the scene, and did not warn him before they fired, said Paul Kennedy, chairman of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP.

“Use of the (stun gun) against Mr. Dziekanski was premature and inappropriate,” Kennedy said, dismissing police claims that Dziekanski posed a serious threat.

He sharply criticized the Mounties for wanting to delay the release of the commission’s report, and for failing to adopt earlier recommendations on the use of Taser stun guns that were issued following the 2007 incident.

Kennedy also warned the iconic national police force that its risked losing the public’s trust over its handling of the case.

Dziekanski, who did not speak English, had just arrived in Canada to join his mother and became distraught after a communications mixup left him stranded for hours in the airport’s luggage pickup area with no explanation of what he should do. Police were called following reports of a man creating a disturbance.

The RCMP officers called to the scene waited less than 30 second before using a Taser stun gun and shocked Dziekanski repeatedly without determining if the further shocks were needed, the report said.

The exact cause of Dziekanski’s death has not been determined, and weapon-maker Taser International (TASR.O) says there is no evidence its device was responsible.

Kennedy said he did not find the police officers’ explanations of what happened credible, but he did not think they broke the law or planned to injure or kill Dziekanski when they arrived.

He also released a copy of a letter from the RCMP asking him to delay releasing the report until after the results of a separate British Columbia inquiry are completed next year.

Kennedy normally allows the Mounties time respond before releasing his reports, but said public interest this time was too high and waiting for the police had delayed the release of some previous reports by more than year.

“I am not impressed,” Kennedy said, holding a copy of the letter in which the RCMP said it was not ready yet to respond.

How the renowned police force responds to his findings and those of the upcoming provincial report “will have a profound impact on how the iconic institution is viewed by Canadians,” Kennedy warned.

The Conservative federal government has said it will not renew Kennedy’s contract at the end of the year, but he dismissed reporters suggestions on Tuesday that the decision was linked to this report. (Reporting by Allan Dowd; editing by Rob Wilson)

Taser Blinks

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I remember the expression ‘Coke Blinked’ when they launched New Coke in the era of the ‘Cola Wars’.

Well, yesterday it seems like Taser International blinked when they announced to the public that tasers should be aimed at the shoulders, legs or arms of a suspect instead of the chest area.

Original story from the CBC here.

After hearing about ‘excited delirium’ and other reviews from the world’s “scienticians”, we now have the company admitting to ‘a slight risk of cardiac arrest when the electrified darts’ hit suspects in the chest.

What’s fascinating about this story is the reality that many officers simply aren’t arming themselves with Taser any more.  There are rumours of them leaving this weapon in their locker, raising another critical question:  Should the public continue to pay for something that our security forces won’t use?

British Police Make Massive Taser Purchase

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In an odd way, I almost support this action, mainly because UK police officers have worked without guns for so long.

However, I’m still a little anxious about any deal made by public authorities that support Taser International, the maker of the taser.  Giving them more money just makes the machine go on and on and on.

Full story here from the BBC .

RCMP Officer Caught Vacating Hit and Run Scene

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This story is loaded with all kinds of issues that need to be addressed.  SOON.

First, there is the question concerning the state of the Robert Dziekanski investigation.  Virtually nothing has happened.

Second, the officers who were on duty are still, apparently, on duty.

Third, those that are on duty are clearly having issues with the outcome of the Robert Dziekanski situation.  The story quoted refers to one of the officers leaving the scene of an accident, raising questions about the moral and ethical compass of at least this one officer.

ex-RCMP Boss: End Taser Use

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Original Story Here .

Giuliano Zaccardelli says that Canada should end its controversial use stun guns.

Zaccardelli said he supported the use of stun guns, commonly known as Tasers, during his seven-year reign as commissioner because they were simply another tool for policing.

But given the recent controversy surrounding police force’s use of Tasers in Canada, the former commissioner has reconsidered his position, he said.

"And you know, after all that I’ve thought about it, I’ve come more and more to the conclusion that I’m not sure that having Tasers is worth the negative impact that it has on police forces in terms of public perception," he told the CBC’s Peter Mansbridge.

"I think we should stop using it."