Mission Statement - De-Spinning the Pro-Taser Propaganda

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


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.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The view from New Zealand

Barry Wilson is president, and Ian McIntosh an executive member, of the Auckland Council for Civil Liberties. Both are barristers. What follows are some nice extracts from their article of Friday April 04, 2008. [LINK]

The Taser stun gun is a dangerous weapon that can maim or kill. ... It has the capacity to inflict immense pain and suffering. ...

...[T]he introduction of the Taser is likely to have a negative impact on front-line police officers, on the image of the police in the eyes of the public and on New Zealand's international reputation as a champion of human rights. ...

Police [mis]use of the Taser during the trial does not inspire confidence that the stun guns would be used responsibly or in accordance with regulatory guidelines if they were to be permanently introduced. ...

Police officers can be prosecuted in cases where they use excessive force against citizens. Any officer who uses a Taser in breach of such guidelines, i.e. to induce compliance with an unco-operative but otherwise non-aggressive person, would be obliged to accept the consequences in law in the same way [if only] as an ordinary citizen is liable for prosecution. Officers could also be the target of private prosecutions, civil lawsuits and complaints to the Police Complaints Authority. ...

In November 2007, the United Nations Committee against Torture stated "the use of the Taser ex 26 [X26?] weapons provoking extreme pain constituted a form of torture, and in certain cases it could also cause death, as shown by several reliable studies and by certain cases that happened after practical use". New Zealand of course is a signatory to the UN Convention against Torture.

Moreover, the UN code of conduct for law enforcement officials precludes officials from inflicting, instigating or tolerating any act of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The repugnance of the state supporting the use of torture is reflected in comments by New Zealand's acknowledged greatest jurist, Sir Robin Cooke, who noted in one case, "I do not think that literal compulsion, by torture, for instance, would be within the lawful powers of Parliament. Some common law rights presumably lie so deep that even Parliament would not override them."

Thus, introducing the Taser is likely to expose the Government to justifiable accusations that it has breached our obligations under international law and the Bill of Rights.

Conclusion New Zealand is not a police state. The Commissioner of Police is entirely unsuitable as a decision maker on the introduction of Tasers. For the decision to have validity, it should be made in Parliament by a free vote on a law change, after a public inquiry.

The dangerous consequences of introducing the Taser raise huge doubts as to whether the Government should even be considering allowing police to be armed with the weapon.

Compare the elegant prose of Sir Robin Cooke ("I do not think that literal compulsion, by torture, for instance, would be within the lawful powers of Parliament. Some common law rights presumably lie so deep that even Parliament would not override them.") to the mindless 'law-and-order' drivel originating from the taser spokespuppets.

The point being quoted here is basically the same one I've been making:

Lawful 'Force' is NOT a verb.

PS: For Taser's Non-PR and/or Less-than-Legal department, here ya go:

Auckland Council for Civil Liberties
PO Box 6582, Wellesley Street , Auckland
Phone: + 64 (9) 376-9670

Knock yourself out. Don't forget the time zone.

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