Monday, March 24, 2008

Harper Government to blame for increase of Taser usage

Not the RCMP. Well, at least according to Kate McMillan's analogy.

Anyhow, tasers are in the news again, and it ain't lookin' pretty:

OTTAWA - The RCMP is stripping crucial details about Taser firings from public reports as use of the controversial stun guns skyrockets across the country.

A joint investigation by The Canadian Press and CBC found the Mounties are now refusing to divulge key information that must be recorded each time they draw their electronic weapons.

As a result, Canadians will know much less about who is being hit with the 50,000-volt guns, whether they were armed, why they were fired on and whether they were injured.
Sure, holding back a taser video isn't that easy these days, but "stripping crucial details" still works, as long as some conservative liberalist party rules this country all is good.
Taser report forms obtained under the Access to Information Act show the Mounties have used the powerful weapons more than 4,000 times since introducing them seven years ago.

Incidents have increased dramatically, topping 1,000 annually in each of the last two years compared with about 600 in 2005. The overwhelming majority of firings took place in Western Canada, where the national force often leads front-line policing.
East, West.....damn, I'm in the wrong corner of Canada.
As Taser use escalates, however, the RCMP has tightened the lid of secrecy.

Information stripped from the forms includes details of several Taser cases the Mounties previously made public under the access law. In effect, the RCMP is reclassifying details of Taser use - including some telling facts that raised pointed questions about how often the stun guns are fired and why.
Good for you, RCMP, I mean Harper Government, transparency rules!
A Canadian Press analysis [...] found three in four suspects Tasered by the RCMP were unarmed.
A majority unarmed? WTF?
Several of those reports suggested a pattern of stun-gun use as a handy tool to keep drunk or rowdy suspects in line, rather than to defuse major threats.
This doesn't surprise me, really. Why would someone who is paid in stock by Taser not use it whenever he can?

There's more:
Stun guns have swiftly become the go-to weapon for scores of police and correctional officers across Canada. The RCMP has more than 2,800 Tasers and some 9,100 Mounties are trained to use them.
Getting it right knows all about why the RCMP lovers the Taser.
Public wariness about the weapons turned to full-blown anger last fall when amateur video showing the death of Robert Dziekanski was released. RCMP were called last October when the Polish immigrant became agitated at Vancouver International Airport after spending hours in a secure section while his mother tried in vain to contact him from the public side.
Exactly. We need MORE transparency when it comes to Taser use, not less. And then perhaps, one day these torturous devices will become history too.
Although Dziekanski appears more confused than threatening on the video, the officers waited less than 30 seconds before they zapped [...]. Within minutes, he was dead.
Thank you, Stephen Harper. I'm sure you meant well (and so does Kate).

- Canoe/Canadian Press: Taser News
- Wikipedia: List of torturous devices
- Getting it Right: Taser use in Canada (all posts)
- Wikipedia: electric shock
- Wikipedia: Electrocution

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