Thursday, April 09, 2009

Yo! RCMP! Read the TASER™ manual!

On February 12, 2009, RCMP Commissioner William Elliott assured the public safety committee :
"The RCMP’s revised CEW policy restricts the use of CEWs and specifically warns of the hazards of multiple deployment or continuous cycling of the CEW."

On March 25, the CBC reported that instead Elliott had actually relaxed the 2005 restrictions on multiple zappings, removing the following rule from the RCMP operational manual on conducted energy weapons :
3. 1. 3. Multiple deployment or continuous cycling of the CEW may be hazardous to a subject. Unless situational factors dictate otherwise (see IM/IM), do not cycle the CEW repeatedly, nor more than 15-20 seconds at a time against a subject.

From the CBC yesterday : "Mounties shocked at least 16 suspects with a Taser five or more times", including one unarmed man zapped nine times and another - eight times.

May I politely suggest the RCMP read what TASER™ itself says about multiple zappings.

Taser International : Instructor and User Warnings, Risks via Stanford :
"When practicable, avoid prolonged or continuous exposure(s) to the TASER device electrical discharge. The stress and exertion of extensive repeated, prolonged, or continuous application(s) of the TASER device may contribute to cumulative exhaustion, stress, and associated medical risk(s). Severe exhaustion and/or over-exertion from physical struggle, drug intoxication, use of restraint devices, etc. may result in serious injury or death."

"Extensive repeated, prolonged, or continuous applications ... serious injury or death."

Guys just never want to read the manual first.

The Stanford report also notes that the dismissal of stun gun fatality suits in the US - much ballyhooed as victories by TASER™ Int. - are the direct result of the police officers involved not having sufficiently explicit guidelines to work from :

"Rather, in granting qualified immunity, the court simply held that the officers who fired the taser could not be held liable because the use of the taser did not violate clearly established law because there simply was no clearly established law regarding taser use at the time the officer fired one."

In other words - the same position we now find ourselves in here in Canada.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"RCMP shocked 16 people five times or more last year"

I'd put it much higher than that.
More like thousands were shocked each and every day of the Braidwood Inquiry.


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