Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Its not the gun its the gunner
The Canadian Police Association and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the county’s two largest lobbying groups for our police forces were in Ottawa yesterday making all sorts of claims about how safe the Taser is.
Who knew that our police forces had or needed lobbying groups and who hired them for this PR campaign.
Anyway the groups claimed yesterday that there is no proven link between Taser use and the deaths of more than 300 people in the U.S. and 25 in Canada that have occurred shortly after police jolted them with the 50,000-volt weapons.
In reality, the number of deaths in the US is closer to 360 and Taser has been found partially negligent in one case. A US court awarded $5.2 million in punitive damages to the family of Robert C. Heston who died after being tasered as reported by Taser in a press release about their annual statement here. Of course Taser International is still appealing that decision.
Despite the fact, that some Tasers have been tested and proven to release a greater electrical charge that stated, and that the RCMP Commissioner has admitted that firing a Taser poses a risk of death, particularly for acutely agitated individuals, these lobbyist groups in their position paper released yesterday have called for little change in the way police now use Tasers.
Fatino, Ontario’s super cop went further to explain that Tasers are no different, than pepper spray, batons, sidearms or a two-by-four when it comes to subduing a suspect that poses a threat to officer or public safety.
Who knows maybe Fatino, the lobbyists and Taser might be right, its not the gun, its the gunner and the cause of the numerous taser deaths resides with police officers themselves and not their weapon of choice. It doesn’t change the fact that too many people are dying after being tasered, just who we should be blaming for the deaths.
I think the two-by-four reference about sums that up.
Reference The Toronto Star here.