Saturday, January 31, 2009

Man dies in hospital after Calgary police use Taser during arrest on weekend

Canadian Press
November 3, 2008

Calgary police say a man has died in hospital after officers used a Taser while arresting him on the weekend.

It’s the second time in less than a week a person has died after Alberta police used a stun gun during an arrest. Calgary police say the dead man in this latest case is Gordon Walker Bowe, 30, from Castlegar, B.C. Bowe was rushed to hospital Saturday night in critical condition after police responded to calls about a break-and-enter.

Officers found a man in a basement of a home. They say the man was agitated and wouldn’t follow commands. An attempt to subdue him with a Taser was unsuccessful.

Neighbours reported hearing “a ruckus” from the house, which was vacant, and that it sounded like the man was trying to get away from police.

Police say he was eventually arrested, but went into medical distress while being assessed by paramedics. They could not say over the weekend whether the weapon had actually jolted the man or not.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team was on the scene Saturday night, and had taken over the investigation Monday.

The independent organization reviews incidents involving police forces in Alberta.

It is also reviewing the death of a man in Edmonton last week after being confronted by police in a pawn shop.

Trevor Grimolfson died Wednesday after police responded to reports of an assault and a man trashing the pawn shop, and deployed their stun guns in an attempt to subdue him.

Read article

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Watchdog rebukes RCMP

The RCMP should change the way it handles complaints from the public to improve people’s trust in the whole grievance system, a watchdog agency said Thursday.

Paul Kennedy, chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, said the Mounties should speed up the handling of these files.

He also said they should have to give his agency copies of all complaints filed against the force and ensure that standard grievance procedures are used across the country.

“We want to ensure public trust in the integrity of the complaint system,” Kennedy said.

Family of Alberta man who died after stun gun shocks files lawsuit

Source: CBC News
Posted: 09/11/08 5:59PM

The family of a Red Deer man who died after police shocked him several times with a stun gun has filed a wrongful death lawsuit worth $1.7 million.

The suit alleges negligence by the U.S.-based stun gun company Taser, the RCMP, three RCMP officers, the local health region, a civilian who allegedly helped police, a hospital, two doctors and two paramedics.

Allegations in the lawsuit, filed on Aug. 26 with the Court of Queen's Bench in Red Deer, have not been proven in court and no statement of defence has been filed.

The family of Jason Doan, a 28-year-old pipeline worker, believes RCMP officers used excessive force to subdue him on Aug. 10, 2006, in a park in the central Alberta city.

Will Willier, the Doan family lawyer, said Thursday that the lawsuit lists several defendants because there were so many areas where mistakes were made.

"What you have at the end of it is you have someone who was Tasered, who lost consciousness, who never regained consciousness and somebody who has a four-year-old daughter."

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Doan's daughter, his sister Surya and his parents Wayne and Marlene.

Willier said a provincial public inquiry, scheduled for December, will precede the lawsuit, but isn't meant to assign blame or liability.

Steve Tuttle, a spokesman for Taser International, told the Globe and Mail that the company not only stands behind its product's safety, but that 74 past product-liability cases have been dismissed or decided in the company's favour.

Internal RCMP reports obtained by CBC News offer some details of what allegedly happened the day Doan was shot with a stun gun.

Police claim Doan was smashing car windows and wielding the broken end of a shovel, so officers chased and brought him to the ground, then shocked him with one of the controversial stun guns.

"His left arm was already in a handcuff and three officers were over him at this point," his sister Surya, who spoke to police and eyewitnesses herself, told CBC in April. "They administered a five-second stun mode to him. They said at that point, he was continuing to struggle so they administered another five-second, 50,000 volts."

Police stunned him a third time because they said he was still fighting back.

"They turned him over to put his handcuff on him in the front and he was blue. His face was blue," said his sister.

Doan was unconscious and his heart had stopped. Police resuscitated him, but he died three weeks later of heart failure.

Internal reports indicate that police suspected Doan, who had no criminal record, was using cocaine and alcohol when officers confronted him, but a toxicology report found otherwise. The medical examiner listed three factors on the death certificate: excited delirium, heart failure and undetermined causes. No drugs or alcohol were found in Doan's system.

In April, the RCMP said it couldn't comment on what happened to Doan, but did say it welcomed the inquiry.

Man dies in custody after Taser incident involving Ontario police

CBC News
June 23, 2008

An Ontario man died Monday after a Taser incident involving Ontario Provincial Police, the force said in a media release.

The Special Investigations Unit, a civilian agency that investigates incidents involving police in which people are hurt or killed, is now investigating.

The incident happened mid-morning in Norfolk County, about 130 km southwest of Toronto.

Police said they were responding “to a report of an unwanted male person causing a disturbance,” and said the man was “combative.”

In describing the incident, police said they “deployed a conducted energy weapon.” The man was taken into custody at the OPP station in Simcoe, Ont.

“Upon arrival at the detachment, the male collapsed,” police said. “Officers administered first aid until the ambulance arrived.”

The 36-year-old man — whose name has not yet been released — was taken to Norfolk General Hospital where he died.

Tasers are hand-held weapons that deliver a jolt of electricity through a pair of wires propelled by compressed air from up to 10.6 metres away.

The jolt stuns the target by causing an uncontrollable contraction of the muscle tissue. The target is immobilized and falls to the ground.

Prior to Monday’s incident, at least 20 people in Canada were known to have died after being struck with a Taser.

The number of incidents involving RCMP stun guns has more than doubled since 2005, according to records obtained by CBC News in March.

Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski died last October after he was repeatedly zapped with an RCMP Taser and subdued by officers at Vancouver International Airport.

Friday, January 30, 2009

RCMP Taser 82-Year-Old Hospitalized Man

Source: CBC News
Posted: 05/09/08 8:16AM

An elderly man in Kamloops, B.C., was zapped three times on the torso by a police Taser while lying on his hospital bed, CBC News has learned.

Thursday when he showed the stun gun marks on his body and talked about the ordeal he went through Saturday.

"They [police] should have known I had bypass surgery," Lasser told CBC News.

Lasser has had heart surgery and needs to carry an apparatus to supply oxygen at all times. He was in the Royal Inland Hospital Saturday due to pneumonia but has since been released.

RCMP said nurses called police after Lasser became delirious and pulled a knife out of his pocket.
Lasser told CBC News that he sometimes become delusional when he can't breathe properly. He said he couldn't explain why he refused to let go of the knife even after the Mounties arrived.

"I was laying on the bed by then and the corporal came in, or the sergeant, I forget which it was, and said to the guys, 'OK, get him because we got more important work to do on the street tonight,'" Lasser said.

"And then, bang, bang, bang, three times with the laser, and I tell you, I never want that again."
Kamloops RCMP said Thursday that officers had no other option but to deploy the conducted energy weapon when Lasser refused to drop his knife.

"Whether the person is 80 or 20, we are dealing with a person who had a deadly weapon in their hand," Cpl. Scott Wilson told CBC News.

"We could not deploy our … pepper spray, because we could potentially contaminate the entire hospital."

Lasser said there were three RCMP officers in his hospital room and believes they could have easily handled him without the use of a Taser.

"They could have gone in there and taken an old man without any trouble at all," said Lasser, who is an ex-prison guard.

Canadians need to reject outcome of RCMP taser inquiry

Posted 1 month ago


All Canadians should be outraged and embarrassed. This week, a review of the RCMP’s conduct in the case of Robert Dziekanski found that the officers involved should not be held criminally responsible for the taser death of the new Canadian at an airport in British Columbia. This is a clear example of the fact that there are two different judicial systems: one for the RCMP and one for regular Canadian citizens. Let’s get the facts straight on the story.

Mr. Dziekanski arrived in Vancouver as a new immigrant from a village in Poland. Having never traveled, his mother Zofia Cisowski (who had lived in Canada for quite some time) asked him to meet her at the luggage carousel. The last time she had been in the airport was prior to 9-11, when all had access to the luggage area. Changes had been made and the luggage carousel is now in the passenger-only area. Dziekanski’s mother therefore could not meet her son there. Realizing her mistake, she asked airport personnel to check on him knowing he would be waiting. No avail. Mr. Dziekanski waited for ten hours, had nothing to eat or drink, had not had a cigarette since leaving Poland, was tired, confused, and could not communicate in English. He became agitated, barricading himself and arming himself with a small wooden t.v. table and a small flat-screen computer monitor. When airport security was called, bystanders repeatedly requested that an interpreter be provided to Mr. Dziekanski in order to calm him down and find out the cause of his distress. In the video of the incident, one woman can be heard saying “he’s so scared… just leave him”. Clearly, those who had spent the previous five minutes with Dziekanski did not feel threatened by him, but rather felt compassion. When four RCMP officers finally arrived on the scene, Mr. Dziekanski had nothing in his hands. When they approached him, he put his hands in the air to surrender, turned, and stepped slowly away from the officers. While posing no immediate threat, RCMP officers tasered him. Not once, but five times, twice after he was already on the ground convulsing. All four officers then held him down, one placing his knee into the back of Mr. Dziekanski’s neck. He went from convulsing and struggling, to limp and silent. The RCMP officers appeared to make no attempt to revive him, give him medical attention, or even check for vital signs. Instead they stood beside him and waited for a gurney.

In the media, this story has been portrayed as a taser issue; an issue of whether or not tasers function according to manufacturer’s indications and whether or not officers should be armed with tasers. This has served to obscure the real issue and hide it from Canadians. Whether Dziekanski died from the taser is rather irrelevant. The real issue is that RCMP officers made no attempt to talk with the man, seek out an interpreter, or restrain him with little force. Instead, they used undue force to restrain an unarmed, surrendering man in distress. They tasered him, applied pressure to the back of his neck after he was sufficiently restrained, and showed no concern and made no effort to help after the man died in their hands. Can four RCMP officers not restrain one unarmed man with their bodies and handcuffs?

After Thursday’s announcement, the new issue is that this is all caught on video and the RCMP were still found innocent. They were found innocent even after being caught lying about the incident before the video surfaced and attempting to essentially ‘buy’ the video from its maker. What is required for RCMP officers to be held accountable for their actions? What kind of proof is required for them to be found guilty of using undue force and subsequently killing a man?

The ‘inquiry’ essentially found that Mr. Dziekanski’s death resulted from his anxieties about flying, fatigue, and inability to speak English. Furthermore, they argued that he was an alcoholic. All of these arguments are baseless, considering Mr. Dziekanski was alive and well despite his fatigue and anxiety, prior to the violent interference with RCMP officers. Mr. Dziekanski had an unopened bottle of vodka in his luggage packed as a gift for his mother’s friend. It is obvious that if he were an alcoholic, the bottle would not have remained unopened for so many hours, especially given the amount of stress he was under. I question whether or not there would have been a different outcome if the victim had appeared to speak Mandarin, Italian, Hindi, or Tagalog (assuming an interpreter would not have been provided either) as opposed to Russian, as they originally assumed. How much did stereotypes of Eastern European men play out in the events at the airport and the outcome of the ‘inquiry’?

It should be noted that since Mr. Dziekanski’s death, one of the RCMP officers was in an auto accident as a result of driving while impaired, killing the occupant of the other car. The officer has not been charged for this incident, and is currently being paid by the RCMP while suspended.

The only way to truly understand the issue is to view the video, which can be found on Youtube. As Canadians, we not only owe it to Mr. Dziekanski and Ms. Cisowski to reject the outcome of the ‘inquiry’, but we owe it to ourselves. I guarantee that as you watch the footage you will have tears in your eyes, for Mr Dziekanski and for his mother. Watch again, and you will realize that your tears are not only for mother and son, but also for Canada.

Amy Romagnoli

Opposition parties call for RCMP Taser ban

Posted 1 month ago

OTTAWA — Opposition parties want the RCMP to stop using Taser stun guns after the force refused to reclassify the weapons to restrict use.

The Liberals and NDP say the Mounties missed a parliamentary committee’s Dec. 15 deadline to categorize the 50,000-volt electronic devices as impact weapons.

Reclassifying Tasers would limit their use to situations where a person assaults police or the public, or poses a serious threat of harm or death.

An all-party committee of MPs called for the restriction last June until Taser safety claims are supported by impartial studies.

The public safety committee also recommended the RCMP revise its policy on stun gun use to include clear and strict guidelines — as is the case for actual guns — that would limit multiple firings.

Liberal public safety critic Mark Holland says the Mounties have done little in response.

‘‘In a couple of those things, they said they’ve done something, but we don’t know exactly what and we’re not given any real details,’’ he said Tuesday.

‘‘That’s just not acceptable. It’s not like they’ve had two weeks, they’ve had six months.’’

The Taser can be fired from a distance of several metres and cycled repeatedly once steel probes puncture the skin or clothing.

The guns can also be used multiple times in up-close stun mode — a zap likened to leaning on a hot stove — sometimes causing blisters or burns.

The RCMP says reclassifying the Taser as recommended by the committee could threaten police and public safety.

Sgt. Sylvie Tremblay, an RCMP spokeswoman, said because Parliament is currently not sitting, ‘‘there has been no progress report provided to the committee.’’

An August briefing prepared for RCMP Commissioner William Elliott maintains the Taser ‘‘is an effective tool with very limited injury rates.’’

The force says it has restricted Taser use, improved reporting on stun gun firings and now requires officers to be re-certified in Taser training each year.

Holland says that doesn’t go far enough. ‘‘For an issue that has demanded the national attention as much as this issue has, because of the fact that there have been serious injuries and deaths, we expected a lot more.’’

Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski died in October 2007 after RCMP officers repeatedly zapped him and pinned down at Vancouver International Airport. Amateur video of his wrenching final moments was beamed around the world as Tasers became water-cooler talk for outraged viewers.

Others defended the stun guns that remain an overwhelmingly popular tool with police.
In all, more than 20 people in Canada have died after being hit with a Taser.

Mounties across Canada have used their stun guns more than 5,000 times in the last seven years.

NDP deputy leader Thomas Mulcair said the rules for Taser use remain unclear.

‘‘The mistake that’s been made over the past few years is to perceive the Taser as being electric pepper spray or an electric night stick — something that could control someone who was in difficulty,’’ he said.

‘Unfortunately now, with over 20 deaths, it’s incredibly obvious to anyone who looks at the situation, that we’ve got to mark a pause for the use of the Taser right now, simply because it’s been proven abundantly clear that they’re too dangerous to be used without proper rules. And we don’t have proper rules.’’

The RCMP sent several of its stun guns to the testing lab in response to a new analysis that found some Tasers pack more of a shock than the manufacturer promises, raising questions about their safety.

A scientific review commissioned by the CBC and French-language Radio-Canada concluded that four out of 41 guns tested actually discharged more electrical current than Taser International says is possible.

In some of the test firings the police weapons delivered 50 per cent more current. The devices in question were manufactured prior to 2005.

British Columbia and Quebec also announced plans to test older Tasers following the report.

Suspect dead after being shocked by RCMP Taser

Updated Tue. Sep. 30 2008 9:54 PM ET
The Canadian Press

LANGLEY, B.C. -- A B.C. robbery suspect is dead after crashing through a window and being shocked by an RCMP Taser.

RCMP say a tip led them to a home in suburban Langley, B.C., where they believed a suspect in a Tuesday morning bank robbery had fled.

Police were outside the home when they say a man crashed through a second-storey window, naked and bleeding from a chest wound. Despite the wound, police say the man resisted arrest and they shocked him with a stun gun.

The man was transported to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The RCMP Major Crimes Unit and the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team are investigating the incident with the oversight of Vancouver police.

The use of the shock weapons has been under scrutiny since Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski died after RCMP officers shocked him with a Taser at the Vancouver airport in October 2007. A public inquiry into Dziekanski's death is scheduled to get underway in November.

RCMP Taser incidents involving two disabled men angers support group

May 29th, 2008

Vancouver, B.C. (Canadian Press) - Aeron Hall admits he’d had a few drinks before setting off on the walk home one spring night four years ago.

But Hall, who is disabled, said it was his limp and not excessive intoxication that attracted the attention of RCMP and set off a chain of events that ended with him being jolted seven times by RCMP Tasers, including once to his testicles.

Hall’s experience in Merritt, B.C., and a disturbingly similar experience by a Kamloops man have angered the head of the B.C. Coalition of People with Disabilities, which wants police officers better trained to recognize disabilities.

Both Hall, 35, and Gary Williams, 49, admit they had been drinking before their confrontations with RCMP officers. But both adamantly deny they were drunk.

Williams has a limp from a horrible accident as a child. He also has a chronic sleep disorder and speaks slowly and carefully.

Hall had a brain aneurysm as a child. His weak leg swings as he walks, a visible reminder of his disability.

Both men are on government disability pensions.

Hall said he was on his way home after having a couple of beers with a few friendsin June 2004 when he was confronted by a female police officer in front of the Merritt RCMP detachment. He questioned the need to get in her vehicle but said he did comply and was driven a short distance to the detachment door.

Once inside, Hall was told to remove all his clothing and jewelry but the First Nations man wouldn’t take off one necklace. He said his spiritual adviser told him never to take it off.

That’s when he said two large, male officers approached him.

“One was holding a Taser behind his back and they reached for my necklace to rip it off. I stepped back and he pulled out the Taser … and I started defending myself,” Hall said.

“They wrestled me to the ground and started Tasing me in my privates and on my back and my legs.”

Hall was released the next day from jail without charge. His doctor counted seven Taser burn marks, including three on his back, three on his legs and one on his genitals.

Hall’s mother, Norma, later received a copy of a police report that concluded the officers had done nothing wrong.

“Evidence supports the amount of force applied was consistent with training methods and standards,” wrote Staff Sgt. A.H. Clark, the officer in charge of the Merritt RCMP detachment at the time.

The letter sent to Norma Hall said that her son was “unco-operative and combative.” It supported her son’s story that he became aggressive when officers tried to remove his necklaces.

The letter further said officers were trying to touch him in the thigh area when he refused to comply with officers’ requests.

“Your son continued to fight and kick and turn on the ground, causing the Taser to contact him in multiple locations,” Clark wrote.

The letter also noted Aeron continued to fight even after being Tasered.

Williams’s encounter occurred in the summer of 2005, when police showed up at his apartment. Officers were responding to a call after he yelled at a woman in his building who didn’t hold the door open for him.

“They said ‘You’re under arrest for public intoxication,’ ” he said with a laugh. “I said ‘I’m in my apartment. How can you arrest me?’

“I was zapped on my right (side) first … and I guess because I didn’t fall down the other officer jabbed me from the other side with his (Taser).”

Williams, who has bad burn scars on his torso from a previous accident, said the third hit came at the detachment.

“I was pulling my shirt off over my head - and this is my theory, because there was absolutely no scuffle going on, no words exchanged, nothing - and I pulled the shirt off my head and exposed that large white area and I guess it looked too tempting … and bam right in the scabs,” he said.

Williams wasn’t charged with anything and didn’t complain at the time because he said he thought the abuse would only get worse.

That’s a misconception RCMP Sgt. Pierre Lemaitre wants to fix.
Lemaitre, an RCMP spokesman, said Williams needs to come forward to allow police to investigate the incident.

“If there was any impropriety we need to know, we need to deal with it now,” Lemaitre said when asked about the incident.
Lemaitre said police are trained from the start to observe if a person is intoxicated by alcohol or drugs, which includes the smell of liquor, slurred speech, lack of balance, glassy eyes.

“But the first thing that officer does is try to communicate with that person,” he said. “And you try to go through some check list.”

Unlike Williams, in Hall’s case a complaint was filed to the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, an independent body created by Parliament to investigate public complaints against RCMP.

“The result of the investigation (was the RCMP) acted within their policy guidelines and were upholding the law,” Norma Hall said.

She said her son had the right to be protected, but instead he was attacked by the very people who should have been protecting him.

“We warned him about coming downtown alone … he could get picked up again,” she said.

The stories anger Margaret Birrell, executive director of the B.C. Coalition of People with Disabilities.

“What is this intolerance about? Have they got nothing else to do?” she asked. “If we heard about this in another country, we’d be appalled. It’s abuse of power.”

Birrell said any number of disabilities including brain injuries, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis can give the impression someone has had too much to drink.

“Somebody has to take leadership on awareness with the police forces,” she stated. “We’ve got to have more understanding and tolerance. I mean not everybody’s an ace athlete.”

Birrell said the fact these men had a few drinks shouldn’t matter.

“They weren’t driving. They were walking.”

A public inquiry is underway in British Columbia into the general use of Tasers by law enforcement in the wake of the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver’s airport last October.

Video shot by a member of the public, showing Dziekanski dying on the airport floor, stunned the public and focused attention on the controversial shock weapons.

The first part of the inquiry by former B.C. Court of Appeal justice Thomas Braidwood is looking into medical issues and police policies surrounding the use of the Taser. A report is expected later this year. The second phase will look specifically into Dziekanski’s death, but only after a decision on possible criminal charges has been made.

Birrell said her group hadn’t planned on making a submission to the Taser inquiry but has changed its mind after hearing of the treatment of the two men by Mounties in B.C.’s Interior.

“I’m so offended,” she said.

RCMP Taser incidents


The link below will take you to a graphic which shows RCMP Taser incidents, RCMP officers trained in Taser use and the Anatomy of a Taser gun.

3 RCMP officers won't face internal probe in 'tortured' man case

3 RCMP officers won't face internal probe in 'tortured' man case
Last Updated: Thursday, January 29, 2009 1:52 PM PT CBC News

Three RCMP officers slammed by a judge for deliberately losing or destroying video surveillance tape alleged to show the "torture" of a handcuffed man with a Taser will not face an internal code of conduct investigation.

Senior Mounties have reviewed the judge's ruling, and the officer's loss or destruction of evidence was not considered serious enough for such an investigation, RCMP spokesperson Annie Linteau says.

Instead, at least one of the officers would be given "guidance" as a form of discipline, said Linteau.

"In that case, the member needed some guidance ... so that this would not happen again," said Linteau. "Certainly, it is a form of discipline.

"The matter was treated as a performance issue with appropriate guidance, which will apparently address those particular members' shortcomings in that particular case," she said.

Victim alleged torture by RCMP
The original court case involved a Prince George man who was eventually tried for and convicted of beating his teenage daughter.

During the trial in December, the 49-year-old man told the court he had been "tortured" by police while he was handcuffed at the station.

The man, who could not be identified to protect the identity of his daughter, testified that RCMP officers jolted him with a Taser as many as 30 times.

He also testified that after he was handcuffed, police punched him, twisted his legs and slammed him into a wall. He had 24 burn marks, consistent with the use of a Taser, bruises and a knee injury that required surgery, according to a doctor's testimony during the trial.

The man's lawyer tried to obtain a copy of the video surveillance tapes from the police station, but were told they were lost.

Charges thrown out
Judge Micheal Brecknell threw out six other charges against the accused man after ruling that one or more RCMP officers actually took "deliberate steps" to ensure the loss of video surveillance tape from the Prince George detachment.

The dismissed charges included two counts of assaulting a police officer, two counts of attempting to disarm a peace officer of a Taser and two counts of resisting a peace officer.

In Brecknell's reasons for judgment obtained by CBC News, the judge said the loss of those tapes "was not just a simple mistake," and his "distressing conclusion" was one or more RCMP officers acted "to ensure the loss of evidence."

Officers cleared in previous Taser incident
According to Brecknell's judgment, two of the officers were involved in arresting another Prince George man who died in police custody in July 2003.

Clayton Wiley's family alleged he died of police brutality, but a coroner's inquest concluded that Wiley's death was caused by cocaine-related "excited delirium," in which a person acts agitated, violent, and is usually strong and insensitive to pain. The rare condition causes a person's heart to race and eventually stop beating.

Wiley, 33, was stunned by a Taser before being loaded into an ambulance.

A pathologist at the inquest testified Wiley suffered blunt force trauma to most of his body. The RCMP officers in the Wiley case were cleared of any wrongdoing.

TASER as a weapon against political dissent

Taser video shows RCMP shocked immigrant within 25 seconds of their arrival

Last Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2007 9:52 AM PT
CBC News

An eyewitness's video recording of a man dying after being stunned with a Taser by police on Oct. 14 at Vancouver International Airport has been released to the public.
The 10-minute video recording clearly shows four RCMP officers talking to Robert Dziekanski while he is standing with his back to a counter and with his arms lowered by his sides, but his hands are not visible.

About 25 seconds after police enter the secure area where he is, there is a loud crack that sounds like a Taser shot, followed by Dziekanski screaming and convulsing as he stumbles and falls to the floor.

Another loud crack can be heard as an officer appears to fire one more Taser shot into Dziekanski.

As the officers kneel on top of Dziekanski and handcuff him, he continues to scream and convulse on the floor.
One officer is heard to say, "Hit him again. Hit him again," and there is another loud cracking sound.
Police have said only two Taser shots were fired, but a witness said she heard up to four Taser shots.

A minute and half after the first Taser shot was fired Dziekanski stops moaning and convulsing and becomes still and silent.

Shortly after, the officers appear to be checking his condition and one officer is heard to say, "code red."
The video ends shortly after.
Minutes later, ambulance attendants arrived but their efforts to revive Dziekanski were unsuccessful and he was declared dead.

RCMP spokesman Cpl. Dale Carr said no one can judge what happened to Dziekanski by just watching the video.

"It's just one piece of evidence, one person's view. There are many people that we have spoken to," RCMP spokesman Cpl. Dale Carr said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

"What I urge is that those watching the video, take note of that. Put what they've seen aside for the time being. And wait to hear the totality of the evidence at the time of the inquest," Carr said.
But retired superintendent Ron Foyle, a 33-year veteran of the Vancouver police who saw the video tape, said he didn't know "why it ever became a police incident."
"It didn't seem that he made any threatening gestures towards them," Foyle said.
Much of the video was shot through the glass walls that separate the international arrivals lounge from a secure area outside the Canada Customs exit.
The video was recorded in three segments. The first segment shows Dziekanski before police arrive.

He is clearly agitated, yelling in Polish, and appears to be sweating. He can be seen taking office chairs and putting them in front of the security doors. He then picks up a small table, which he holds, while a woman in the arrivals lounge calmly speaks to him in apparent effort to calm him down.
In the second segment, Dziekanski picks up a computer and throws it to the ground. Three airport personnel arrive and block the exit from the secure area, but Dziekanski retreats inside and does not threaten them.

Officers arrive in lounge

Then four RCMP officers arrive in the lounge. Someone can be heard mentioning the word Tasers.

Someone replies, "Yes," as the officers approach the security doors.

Police have said repeatedly that there were only three RCMP officers involved in the incident, but the video shows four men in RCMP uniforms.

People in the lounge can be heard clearly telling the police Dziekanski speaks no English, only Russian. His mother later said he only spoke Polish.

Police enter the secure area with no problems and can be seen with Dziekanski standing calmly talking with officers. They appear to direct him to stand against a wall, which he does.
As he is standing there, one of the officers shoots him with a Taser.

RCMP officers have also said police did not use pepper spray because of the large number of people at the airport at the time. But the video shows Dziekanski standing alone with the four officers in an otherwise empty area, which is separated from the public area by a thick glass wall.

Pritchard hired lawyer

Paul Pritchard shot the video with his digital camera, but afterward he surrendered it to police for their investigation on a promise that they would return it within 48 hours.

The next day, police told Pritchard they would not be returning the recording as promised.

Carr previously stated investigators kept the video longer than they anticipated in order to protect the integrity of the police investigation while they interviewed witnesses.

Saying he feared a coverup by police, Pritchard then engaged a lawyer to start legal proceedings to reclaim the recording. Police returned the recording to him on Wednesday.

Dziekanski, 40, died on Oct. 14, hours after he arrived at Vancouver International Airport. He was on his way to Kamloops to live with his mother in the B.C. Interior.
The Polish immigrant arrived from Europe the previous day around 4 p.m., but for some unknown reason he did not clear customs until after midnight.

Dziekanski's mother had already returned home to Kamloops after waiting for several hours at the airport. She claims airport officials offered her no help locating her son.

The RCMP's integrated homicide investigation team, the B.C. coroner's service, the Vancouver International Airport Authority and the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP are each conducting their own investigations into the incident.

Monday, January 26, 2009

U.S. study raises more questions about stun gun safety

For full-story go to CBC News

The Taser stun gun has been advertised and sold as a police tool that can decrease the number of suspect shooting deaths and officer injuries, but a new study suggests its use does not reduce the number of people who die in custody.

The research group found a sharp increase in the rate of in-custody sudden death in the first full year of Taser deployment compared with the average rate in the five years before the stun guns were used. "A little bit to our surprise we found a statistically significant six-fold increase in the in-custody sudden death rate in the first full year of Taser deployment...

Over the entire reporting period, researchers found the average rate of 1.57 sudden deaths per 100,000 arrests in the 50 cities. In the first full year after stun guns were deployed, the rate was 5.96 per 100,000 arrests, a 6.4-fold increase over the predeployment period.

Canadian physicians concerned
The Canadian Medical Association has raised concerns in the past about police departments relying on the manufacturer's claims of safety, and has called on police departments to open their databases to researchers... "Greater societal pressure needs to be put on agencies on this to release that information for the public good because people are asking serious questions about this."


Well, I guess the above answers the question from my earlier post:

Lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Friday, January 16, 2009

RCMP watchdog launches new Taser probe around deaths

The RCMP's civilian watchdog will investigate every case in which a person died after being struck by a Mountie Taser (see story).

An earlier investigation concluded the RCMP was increasingly relying on the device in cases where a less drastic response was appropriate, including in situations involving the stunning of children, the elderly and people in handcuffs.

From my previous posts here and here, I obviously look at this as being good news, as the public has a right to know that you can walk out of your house and not expect to be Tasered by somebody because you’re walking erratically, or perhaps you had too much to drink, or some other situation that may have provoked that response. Police are suppose to serve and protect, not act as judge, jury and executioner, which is what they have been doing.

The present police state of Stockwell Day and his 'Nazi' loving Israeli supporting conservative buddies that we are living under, has to go, and their Tasers with them!

Land of the Taser, Home of the Slave.

He who will not reason is a bigot; he who cannot is a fool; and he who dares not is a slave.