Saturday, November 24, 2007

Fun With Tasers, Part 4

So, the RCMP "revised" their taser policy in August to allow multiple shootings of victims and now this new policy is being blamed by the media for the shooting of Robert Dziekanski. That's an interesting development, one worthy of Noam Chomsky's propaganda model of liberal media.

First off, the media's spent days noting that multiple taser shots is standard practice, even if it's not policy, and has been for quite a while now - whether the subject is resisting, lying handcuffed on the ground, or is refusing to enter a jail cell. (Shooting someone for refusing to enter a jail cell sounds border-line illegal to me, but heck, I'm not a lawyer.) That's also been the conclusion of Amnesty International reports on Canadian policing over the last couple of years, plus a more recent review from a Canadian oversight agency which was partially leaked to the press over the last couple of weeks. Now the truth recedes under a veil of "good intentions."

The police now acknowledge that maybe shooting someone multiple times with a taser might be associated with health risks. Cpl Greg Gilles, one of the RCMP's trainers in BC, admits that "clearly you don't want to do multiple exposures if you don't need to," beacuse it may be "hazardous." But, he adds, "we don't know," and they're going to teach officers to continue shooting people as many times as they want to until more research is done. That's a brilliant strategy. Never let it be said the RCMP would hesitate to fulfill their jobs simply because citizens' lives are put at risk.

Second, the police continue to rely on the old "excited delirium" defence, which, as the media have now picked up on, is actually not a medical condition. That's no problem, say the RCMP: they have determined that it exists. As well as being a policing organization, it seems, the RCMP is also our national medical and pscyhological research agency. Soon we'll be asking them for legal advice and free healthcare too, perhaps.

Accdording to Ontario coroner David Evans, it doesn't matter that "excited delirium" isn't a medical condition because it's actually just a "forensic term." This is even more disturbing. First, it means that we can legally attribute death to a non-existent condition which always occurs after the subject is beaten by police.

Second, it means the police are effectively being taught to decide whether or not to shoot someone based on a cause of death which hasn't actually happened yet. Who the hell has given front line police the authority to diagnose the presence of a psychological condition and to respond with a public and high-tech version of electroshock therapy? Sounds like the formations for an interesting lawsuit.

Edit: Earlier this week, Day said there would be a Border Services Agency review of Dziekanski's killing released by yesterday - the first of what promises to be many official inquiries. Looks like he couldn't be bothered to keep that promise. Well done, minister.


Lady Broadoak said...

Excellent post!

Hopefully us'n bloggers can make a difference on this.

One cop commented that with pressure we can PROBABLY get taZers banned, but that police training to a degree of competency would be well nigh impossible with which I concur. The bullies of the world don't take well to training on mental health issue, traumatization, communications skills and so on.

Another factor to watch, which is evident in the US already, is that there simply are NOT enough facilities for the seriously disturbed, hence they wind up in jail where these kooks running think that they are at risk and whip out the taZers. We've several deaths over this already ...

The privatization of health facilities throughout Canada is going to make this scenario more prominant soon, they keep the beds in "public" institutions FULL for the greatest profitablity. So the jail are gonna fill up and up and up.

I crossposted this and THANK YOU.