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.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

How tasers are actually used...

The Chronicle Herald (editorial), Halifax, NS - Thursday 10 July 2008 [LINK]

Rev. Michael Alden Fells, a Digby clergyman whose son Nathaniel is one of two men allegedly harassed by a group of off-duty Halifax police officers, wants the public to see the Town of Digby videotape which recorded the incident and the tasering of one of the young black men, William Drummond, by Digby RCMP.

Rev. Fells is right. Nova Scotians should see this tape because there is an immediate public issue here: Can we have confidence in the professionalism and integrity of our police?

To answer that important question, we need to see with our own eyes whether a group of off-duty Halifax officers piled out of a police training van and started an unprovoked fight with two black men, and whether RCMP who broke up the altercation tasered Mr. Drummond without cause while going easy on the attackers.

Rev. Fells has reviewed the June 22 tape, with the commander of Digby RCMP. The clergyman says the tape, which has no audio component, shows the following sequence: His son and Mr. Drummond walk past a parked van; they suddenly turn in apparent reaction to comments from the van; they say something in response; five or six men leave the van and approach the young men; one man swings at Mr. Drummond, misses and is knocked out by Mr. Drummond.

Rev. Fells says the tape then records the arrival of RCMP officers who separate the parties but focus their attention on Mr. Drummond. He says Mr. Drummond is tasered in spite of showing no aggressive behaviour and three officers stand over his unconscious figure while ignoring further harassment of Nathaniel Fells.

Rev. Fells’ description accords with Mr. Drummond’s account that he responded to a racial slur from a group of men who appeared drunk and knocked out one who swung at him. Halifax Police confirm a group of officers took a police van to Digby for a charitable event and that one spent a night in hospital after an altercation.

The Halifax force is now investigating the conduct of its members; and the Digby RCMP commander, while defending his officers, has asked for a full investigation by the New Minas major crime unit.

We won’t prejudge the outcome of these proceedings. But in the meantime, the public has a right to judge whether this tape shows police officers taunting blacks, starting fights or using tasers too freely – attitudes and behaviour that cannot be tolerated in our police officers.

Let’s see the tape.

One thing I don't see is any reason not to believe Rev. Fells' description of the video. Of course the video should be released and seen by everyone, but it seems unlikely in the extreme that his description is so inaccurate as to be misleading. Possible, but don't bet on it. Any conceivable alternate explanation fails to make any sense. It is most likely exactly correct.

The incident is outrageous and it reveals so much hidden truth about some police officers and the all-too-typical misuse of tasers. If it doesn't lead directly to suspensions, criminal charges, convictions, and firings, then it will be an apparent miscarriage of justice.

Also, this incident is also clear evidence of the fundamental reason why (*) giving all police officers tasers is perhaps not such a good idea as it might seem on the surface.

(* They're not all angels, in case you thought that they were. Some are, but some clearly are not.)

PS (a minor point): And why are a bunch of weekend-bikers (not that there's anything wrong with that...) off-duty city police officers borrowing a municipal-owned police van for their fun-run all the way from Halifax to Digby? Probably about 600 km round trip. What the hell is with that? Who paid for the gasoline (hey - just asking!)? 'Charitable event' my ass.

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