Sunday, April 06, 2008

Jamie Graham, the British Columbia Schizophrenia Society and TASER - simply well connected.

Who wasn't surprised to hear that a mental health group is advocating FOR the use of the Taser?

Well, I wasn't. The BCSS has a longstanding close relation with former Vancouver police Chief Constable Jamie Graham, who is one of the strongest advocates for taser use in Canada. And I would argue far too close (page 3).

Remember Jamie Graham? He's the officer that will ALWAYS put in a good word for TASER international, that you start to wonder what his share in the company is. I'm sure TASER doesn't stop with a mere $85,000+ TASER sponsorship of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, because buying policemen has become a trademark of TASER international.

Personally I've never trusted this ex-chief. He seems to be able to lie by omission better than anyone else I know; but it's still lying. He'll argue that "the Taser gun is an effective, non-lethal weapon that saves lives in confrontations with combative individuals", but have you ever heard him taking the growing number of Taser deaths in this country serious? Shouldn't TASER-KILLINGS be on his mind too?

But why the BCSS keeps believing this phony guy when it comes to the TASER discussion is still somewhat of a mystery. Does anyone at BCSS get paid for repeating TASER's own junk-science? Besides, there's plenty of evidence out there that schizophrenics are being tasered frequently, sometimes with deadly results. Here's a recent Canadian example:

It was prompted by the case of Howard Hyde, a Dartmouth man who died in November about 30 hours after Halifax police Tasered him twice during his arrest for spousal abuse. Mr. Hyde, a schizophrenic, struggled with jail guards moments before his death.
Or what about this one:
My son is dead. He suffered from schizophrenia most of his adult life and yes, was developing heart problems. As a full-time resident of a group home for the mentally ill we might have expected more for Ray when he went into crisis.

Ray was stunned [with a Taser] in the chest and behind the left ear. [...] If the Taser is so effective, it is necessary to stun people multiple times in the presence of multiple officers.

Or how about Delafield, who died shortly after being tasered in her wheelchair for more than 2 minutes total:
Family attorney Rick Alexander said Delafield's death could have been prevented and that there are four things that jump out at him about the case.

"One, she's in a wheelchair. Two, she's schizophrenic. Three, they're using a Taser on a person that's in a wheelchair, and then four is that they tasered her 10 times for a period of like two minutes," Alexander said. According to a police report, one of the officers used her Taser gun nine times for a total of 160 seconds and the other officer discharged his Taser gun once for a total of no more than five seconds. A medical examiner found Delafield died from hypertensive heart disease and cited the Taser gun shock as a contributing factor, the report said. On her death certificate, the medical examiner ruled Delafield's death a homicide.
So why exactly does the BCSS endorse Taser use on schizophrenic people?

I have to give Jamie Graham some credit for this too; he's done so much for Taser International, so why shouldn't he be rewarded? His help to set up the Justice Institute of British Columbia, an organisation that regulary hosts Taser's own "Use of Force, Risk Management and Legal Strategies Seminars - For Chiefs, Sheriffs, Risk Managers and Legal Advisors" (pdf, see page two) has ensured that all Taser lies (including those by omission) would be installed in the minds of police officers across BC. Thank you Jamie Graham, well done.

Footnote for Taser International:
If your company hasn't already done so; I'm sure either the BCSS and/or their board members would appreciate a "donation" for their endorsement of Taser usage, including usage on patients suffering from Schizophrenia.

No comments:

Post a Comment