Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Canadian Parliamentary Committee Report on Taser Stun Guns

The most recent Government of Canada's Weekly Checklist (dated July 25, 2008) lists a report on the Taser stun gun by the federal parliament's Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security:
"On October 14, 2007, Robert Dziekanski died at Vancouver International Airport several minutes after receiving two electrical shocks from a Taser1 gun administered by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers summoned to the scene following a complaint about a man behaving in an agitated manner. The first shock was administered less than a minute after the officers arrived on the scene. This tragic event angered people all over the world, who witnessed Mr. Dziekanski’s final moments on an amateur video broadcast widely over Canadian and international media in mid-November (...)"

"Between January 30 and April 28, 2008, the Committee heard from experts in medicine, biomedical engineering and ethics to discuss the effects of Taser gun discharges on the health and safety of persons subjected to them, the research being done in this area and the role of such weapons in police work ... The Committee also heard evidence from the President of Taser International, which supplies the conducted energy weapons (CEWs) used by the RCMP and other Canadian police services, the Executive Director of the Canadian Police Research Centre (CPRC), the RCMP, the Vancouver and Toronto police services, the Ontario Police College, the Toronto Police Services Board, the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP, and British Columbia’s Police Complaints Commissioner (...)"

"To prevent confidence in the RCMP from eroding further, the Committee considers that the RCMP must react immediately by revising its policy on CEWs to stipulate that use of such weapons can be justified only in situations where a subject is displaying assaultive behaviour or represents a threat of death or grievous bodily harm. This immediate restriction is necessary given the persisting uncertainty about the effects of CEW technology on the health and safety of persons subjected to it, and the scarcity of independent, peer-reviewed research in this regard. The Committee also urges the RCMP to implement preventive methods designed to diminish the use of Taser guns during police interventions, in particular by enhancing accountability at the RCMP and improving officer training on intervention involving persons suffering from various problems, including bipolar disorder, autism and autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia and drug addiction."
The Weekly Checklist includes a listing of book and serial titles which have been released during the previous week by the Parliament of Canada, federal departments, and Statistics Canada.

Other Library Boy posts on the Taser weapon include:
  • Canada Orders Review of Use of Tasers After Video of Polish Immigrant's Death Released (November 15, 2007): "Yesterday's Globe and Mail recounts 'Tasered man's last moments' and provides links to the 10-minute amateur video of Dziekanski being shot with the Taser, convulsing and screaming in pain, being subdued by police and then going silent and no longer moving."
  • RCMP Told To Curb Taser Use (December 15, 2007): "Earlier this week, Paul Kennedy, head of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, released an interim report outlining recommendations for the government on the Mounties' use of the Taser stun guns. The Commission is an independent civilian agency. Kennedy's report does not call for a moratorium on the weapon. However, it concludes that the federal police force needs to limit its use, increase training for officers and conduct more research on its effects."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:18 pm


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