Friday, February 13, 2009
Canada admits that Tasers kill, RCMP told to back off on use
by Larry Geller
We know that Tasers kill. The RCMP should have issued this statement long ago. I question whether it will be at all effective:
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, acknowledging its officers have on occasion been too quick to use Tasers, said on Thursday its members may now only fire the stun guns if there is a real threat to themselves or public safety.
The national police force also said officers have been warned that the weapons can kill.
Critics say the Mounties have used Tasers -- also known as Conducted Energy Weapons (CEW) -- too frequently and often zap suspects who pose no real threat. Such incidents include people trying to avoid paying fares on public transport and, in one case, an elderly man who was strapped to a hospital stretcher. [Reuters, Canadian Mounties admit abuses, to curb Taser use, 2/12/2009]
It’s not as though police don’t know that their Tasers can kill. Here is a short news item from today’s Democracy Now:
San Jose Man Dies After Police Tasering
Another taser death has been reported in the United States. In San Jose, California, a man in his twenties died Wednesday night after police shot him with a taser. The death is the sixth to occur after the use of tasers by San Jose police since 2004.
Yes, according to this report, San Jose police alone have killed six people with Tasers since 2004. How many people do they have to kill in San Jose to figure out that the Taser is not a non-lethal weapon?
Police will continue to use Tasers to kill (can you imagine tasing someone strapped to a hospital stretcher??) as long as they have these weapons and are not held accountable for their use.
When police officers are convicted of murder they might think twice about carrying Tasers. Until then, watch out, bro.