Mission Statement - De-Spinning the Pro-Taser Propaganda

Yeah right, 'Excited Delirium' my ass...

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The primary purpose of this blog is to provide an outlet for my observations and analysis about tasers, taser "associated" deaths, and the behaviour exhibited by the management, employees and minions of Taser International. In general, everything is linked back to external sources, often via previous posts on the same topic, so that readers can fact-check to their heart's content. This blog was started in late-2007 when Canadians were enraged by the taser death of Robert Dziekanski and four others in a short three month period. The cocky attitude exhibited by the Taser International spokespuppet, and his preposterous proposal that Mr. Dziekanski coincidentally died of "excited delirium" at the time of his taser-death, led me to choose the blog name I did and provides my motivation. I have zero financial ties to this issue.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

A review of where we are at this point...

(Updated 7-Jan-08)

1) A taser obviously causes severe pain (or worse). The Canadian Criminal Code clearly defines torture as severe pain, and states that torture is a crime. The only escape clause ('lawful sanction') doesn't look useful; it would also lead to the absurd paradox of permitting severe pain (torture) upon a third person if allowed. So don't assume that you're covered under that clause. That clause appears to be designed to exclude the mental suffering caused by time in prison or fines (both lawful sanctions); nothing more.

2) Using a taser as a pain-compliance device is therefore clearly illegal on several counts. Note that 'just following orders' (in any form, including approved 'Use of Force' policy) is explicitly not a defence for this crime. The torture charge sticks to the one pressing the trigger. Note also that Peace Officers are explicitly listed. So any use of tasers as a pain-compliance device risks the operator 14 years in the clink - think about that.

3) Using a taser as an on-the-spot extra-judicial punishment is obviously illegal for many of the same reasons. It's so obvious that it's not even worth discussing.

4) The only legal application for a taser is to replace a police pistol (or perhaps just barely below that point, but very close). We don't need to change the law to enable this policy. It is already the Law of the Land.

5) RCMP admits to 3000 deployments in six years. That is 500 per year. Deployments by OTHER law enforcement agencies in Canada would be IN ADDITION to this rate (Ottawa City Police mentioned 'ten times per day' - I assume that he was just joking). BC seems to be another hot-spot. The RCMP does not normally shoot-to-kill 500 people a year. That ludicrous number approaches the overall murder rate for Canada. The phrase 'taser trigger happy' seems appropriate, and this reflects very badly on the training instigated by Taser.

6) The above facts coalesce to form a very disturbing conclusion: the apparent rate of possibly-illegal misuse of tasers (pain-compliance and extra-judicial punishment) in Canada appears to be significant. Depending on how you crunch the 500+ per year numbers, and what you think is appropriate, then you get some pretty big percentages.

7) Kennedy was exactly right in his recommendations (ALL of them). In fact, the most controversial of his recommendations (the one that the RCMP is reportedly least happy with), concerning the placement of the taser on the scale of force just before the pistol, is actually redundant. It's already the Law of the Land.

8) Because of the scientific uncertainty of the actual safety of the X26, it should be banned until an independent scientific analysis is completed. You might want to double-check the M26 as well. Taser sock-puppets may not even attend. Do not rely on any Taser-funded studies, there has been too much money and too many stock options floating around during recent years.

9) There should be government standards set for such devices. Taser has been playing in a pure free-market and that is not appropriate for devices that have been so commonly associated with death. In Canada, we regulate such devices. Always.

1 comment:

Michael said...

I predict a few more of these type of results in court will get "law enforcement" to re-think the whole use of force issue with Tasers. If not I predict the general public outcry may just become overwhelming. Check this link below...

http://www.ktuu.com/Global/story.asp?s=7140453