An independent report ker-fricken-SLAMS! the RCMP for a whole laundry list of errors relating to tasers: 1) trusting Taser too much, 2) failing to consult independent experts, 3) failing to classify the weapon properly, 4) using the term "excited delirium" too much, and more...
Please see TheStar.com [LINK]
I've included a large extract here because I feel the need to highlight many key points. I encourage readers to follow the above link to the complete story at the original source.
Good work by The Star in fighting to obtain this report!!!
OTTAWA – The RCMP did not do "due diligence" when it approved the taser stun gun for use as a less-than-lethal weapon by its officers, a hard-hitting independent review concludes. ...
Submitted in June to RCMP Commissioner Bill Elliott but not made public, the review says the RCMP relied too much on the advice of the taser's American manufacturer in developing its policies and training, did not consult widely enough with medical and mental health experts about its impact on people, and did not treat the weapon as a "prohibited firearm" – its proper legal classification.
Across Canada, 170 police agencies use stun guns and 22 people have died [in Canada] after being hit by stun guns, although the deaths have not been linked directly to their use.
[Some deaths in US cases have been firmly linked. See 'De-spining the Spin' at the top right of this blog. Risk of death is one issue. Misuse, abuse and overuse is another issue.]
The report, obtained yesterday by the Star under Access to Information, slams the use of the term "excited delirium" by police officers to describe combative, resistant suspects, saying it is an excuse to justify firing the 50,000-volt charge. "Excited delirium" is not a recognized medical diagnosis, but a term sometimes used by emergency room doctors or coroners, the report says. However, its use by police amounts to "folk knowledge" and it should be eliminated from the RCMP's operational manual unless formally approved after consultation with a mental-health policy advisory body, said the review.
The report urges the federal government to set national standards for taser use by all police forces in Canada, under its power in the Criminal Code to regulate firearms. ...
The review found other problems with the RCMP's approach, saying the force should have used trained policy analysts to conduct its own research on the weapon. And, although the RCMP consulted two provincial schizophrenia societies, it did not consult national medical and mental-health associations.
There was also an over-reliance on research carried out by the taser's manufacturer and the views of other police services – who had also relied primarily on the company.
It said while medical literature does not establish a "sufficient causal link" between a taser shock and death, "there is considerable information" showing many factors that could relate to "risk of harm" including: pregnancy, size, body weight, existence of medical conditions, pacemakers, psychosis, ingestion of drugs and "prolonged acute stress and exhaustion."
And while manufacturers need to provide information, the report says "the policing community needs to be assiduous in assessing the manufacturer's... [propaganda]."
[The report also] criticized the work of the Canadian Police Research Centre – relied on by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police in its review of tasers – saying the reports were not subject to rigorous peer review, overlooked important information and contained factual errors.
It also cited the erroneous characterization of the taser as a prohibited weapon instead of a "firearm" – the taser was legally classified as the latter in 1998 Criminal Code amendments – a designation that brings much stiffer rules for storage, training, certification and use. ...
This report is a major victory for those of us that have been fighting this issue. And it is a major body-blow to those factions within the RCMP and other police forces that have been such unabashed fan-boys of Taser. It is also a well-deserved major smack in the face to Taser.
(Relying on Taser's advice and information wouldn't really be a problem if their advice and information were all correct... So this particular part of the criticism reflects very badly on Taser and their propaganda.)
Given the relative inaction of the RCMP to date, there is more than sufficient reason for action by Parliament on this issue.
If you arrived here on direct link to a specific post, then you may click here if you wish to view all the latest posts on the Excited-Delirium blog.