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.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Taser - used for pain compliance

From the Braidwood Inquiry [LINK]

Mr. Reilly said:

...when it got to be 0.8 micro coloumbs, they reported it as being intolerably painful. ...But now compare these numbers to the Taser. Remember the relevant number I told you on the Taser was 100 micro coloumbs? So you can see that these, the Taser is putting out a stimulus that's like 100 times stronger than what it would take in a laboratory to evoke pain in a subject. So I would have to say that that is very painful. A single Taser pulse is typically about 100 times as painful as a single brief current in human-controlled laboratory experiments. That's for one pulse. What about if you have 19 per second, like a Taser has? That makes the sensation even stronger, because your brain encodes, interprets information about how strong a stimulus is in part by the rate of these nerve impulses reaching the brain. You have more nerve impulses. The brain says that's a stronger stimulus, or it might say that's more painful yet. [LINK]

So, what Reilly is saying is that 'the taser' (X26) is about TWO THOUSAND times more painful than an intolerably-painful electric shock.

There's no reason to disagree with Reilly on this point.

Next, consider that the M26 and X26 tasers are very commonly used for pain compliance by police officers in Canada, the USA, and other countries. But these devices were designed to go well beyond pain to reach muscular lock-up. They are about 2000 times more painful than intolerably painful.

Now, review the Criminal Code of Canada section 269.1:

269.1 (1) Every [Peace Officer] who inflicts [severe pain] on any other person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

I've rolled up [in square brackets] some definitions for your convenience. Please refer to the complete section [LINK] for details.

Note that the only possible exception is as a 'lawful sanction' which appears to be intended to permit prisons and fines. Sanctions are usually the domain of the courts; and even the courts are not permitted to sentence offenders to a painful electric shock.

It really seems pretty clear to me.

The line in the sand (passed by Parliament) is 'severe' pain. Police are arguably permitted to use pain compliance provided it is kept below 'severe', and is otherwise reasonable under the circumstances.

Taser shocks are so far beyond 'severe' that using a taser for pain compliance is clearly a violation of CC 269.1.

Can someone please fix this very creepy usage-creep?

PS: Following a Taser Use Policy is explicitly not a valid defence for this crime. It says, "It is no defence to a charge under this section that the accused was ordered by a superior or a public authority..."

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