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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

PETITION: Justice for Mother of late Robert Dziekanski

Petition: Justice for Mother of late Robert Dziekanski

Target:Provincial Government of British Columbia
Sponsored by: Friends of Zofia Cisowski
To: The Honourable Gordon Campbell, Premier of British Columbia;
The Honourable Wally Oppal,Attorney General for British Columbia

We the undersigned do hereby call upon, the Honourable Gordon Campbell, Premier of British Columbia, and the Honourable Wally Oppal, Attorney General for British Columbia, to re-open the investigation into the death of Robert Dziekanski, involving the 4 RCMP officers at Vancouver International Airport.

We demand that an Independent Special Prosecutor be appointed to determine the matter in accordance with the Criminal Code of Canada.

We strongly believe that the previous RCMP investigation and Criminal Justice Branch Report was deficient and focused on finding evidence, which would blame the victim, Mr. Dziekanski.

It is time to stop blaming the victim and take an unbiased and independent look at all evidence.

We believe public confidence in the administration and repute of justice has been seriously undermined.

Justice must not only be done, but be seen to be done, on behalf of Zofia Cisowski and all Canadians.

Jurek Baltakis (Kamloops) Family Friend to Zofia Cisowski;
mailto:jerzybaltakis@hotmail.com cell (250) 377-1489
Bill Sundhu (Kamloops) bwsundhu@shaw.ca cell (250) 574-2124

Human Rights Lawyer and Friend to Zofia Cisowski;
Zygmunt Riddle Przetakiewicz (Vancouver)
zriddle@shaw.ca cell (604)868-7070
Canadian Civil Rights Movement on Facebook
Kamloops/Vancouver March 29, 2009

London battens down hatches in fear of violent G20 protests

March 31, 2009
JULIA BELLUZ, Special to The Globe and Mail

LONDON -- Turkish visitor Ozlem Bas reserved at The Ritz this week, expecting to luxuriate in one of London's poshest hotels.

Instead, she found the landmark in the British capital's tony Mayfair district turned into a bunker. Nearly all of the hotel's street-level windows and doors have been covered in protective blue panels for fear that the many protests planned for this week's summit of the Group of 20 could turn violent.

"It's not very nice at all," said Ms. Bas, an arts and culture producer in London for five days of business and pleasure. Every time she enters the hotel, staff members ask whether she is a guest, which has left her feeling "like a prostitute."

"No one," she said, "wants to feel like the youngest girl in the house."

Like every other visitor to London this week, Ms. Bas is having to deal with the threat of violence arising from the protests planned for the G20 meeting, and which seem likely to overshadow the summit itself.

Even before a group called Bank Bosses Are Criminals smashed several windows at the mansion of Sir Fred Goodwin, former chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland, and vandalized his Mercedes last week, authorities were warning of an ugly mood at the G20 protests, and financial institutions and businesses around London have been stepping up security.

Brace Yourselves, advised a headline in The Economist. Anarchy Back in the UK, declared the Daily Mirror.

Sir Paul Stephenson, head of London's Metropolitan Police Service, described preparations for the G20 as "probably as big a single operation as the Met has done." Sir Paul has ordered all police leave cancelled for the summit and deployed more than 10,000 officers - many armed with 50,000-volt taser stun guns - in the capital at an estimated cost of $13-million.

The demonstrations intended to bring London to a standstill this week will not overlook such tried-and-true issues as war, globalization and climate change. But with the global economy in recession and many people outraged at executive compensation that is perceived as being overly generous for the times, the main event will target the City, London's financial district, and the business leaders who work there. Anti-capitalist groups, which have mushroomed on the Internet, have proclaimed April 1 "Financial Fools' Day."

"We're a bit concerned that the banks are taking over the government, rather than the governments taking over the banks," said Mark Barrett, 39, an organizer of one such group, G20 Meltdown. The group has planned four parades, each led by one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, set to converge on the imposing porticoed headquarters of the Bank of England tomorrow. On Thursday, the day of the G20 meeting, "a giant Monopoly game" will occupy the space in front of the London Stock Exchange.

"We've got people who've lost their jobs, their homes," Mr. Barrett said. "People who have been fed up with the economic system for decades, people who have been involved in the environmental movement."

Of the concern over the possibility of violence, Mr. Barrett said, "It's a big joke. We're going to be hanging mannequins, not actual bankers."

The Metropolitan Police do not see the humour and have advised London's banks to increase security around their offices tomorrow and Thursday. Banks, including UBS, Citigroup and the Royal Bank of Scotland, told employees in London this week to cancel unnecessary meetings, work from home if possible, and, if they must come to work, to wear something less conspicuous than a pin-striped suit.

Spokespeople for the banks refused to comment on security preparations, and bankers have been instructed not to talk about how they will respond. But a finance worker outside the Bank of England was willing to share his game plan, even if he did decline to be named. "We're not going to wear our Rolexes next week," he said. "And we'll put on our 'Down with capitalism' T-shirts to fit in."

The protests are expected to cause losses worth millions of pounds as protesters block roadways and commuters find themselves unable to reach their offices because of train and Tube cancellations.

So far, though, demonstrations have been more creative than catastrophic.

On Saturday, 35,000 people took to the streets of London for the Put People First march, hailed as a peaceful revolution. Its theme was "jobs, justice and climate" and its vague message to world leaders: "Make the economy work for people and the planet."

More than 100 charities, environmental groups and trade unions - including ActionAid, Oxfam, Greenpeace and the Salvation Army - came together for the colourful, music-filled march though London. Only one arrest was reported.

Family of dead man sues city, police over Taser shots

#327. February 7, 2008: Richard Earl Abston, 53, Merced, California

March 31, 2009
Merced Sun Star

"... The lawsuit doesn't name Taser International, but (attorney) Nisenbaum believes the device played a role in Abston's death, even though the autopsy doesn't list it as a contributing factor ... The MEDICAL REPORT WASN'T FINISHED UNTIL THE CORONER MET WITH A DOCTOR WHO SERVES ON THE COMPANY'S [Taser International's] SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BOARD, he noted."

See also "Judge rules for taser in cause of death decisions."

More details demanded on (Toronto) police Taser use

March 31, 2009

The civilian body overseeing Toronto police is asking the force for more details about the 179 times officers Tasered people last year, including two 15-year-olds.

Pam McConnell, who led the Toronto Police Services Board meeting yesterday, said yesterday she's proud Toronto police disclose Tasering information, but acknowledged several facets of its recent report on use of the stun gun are vague and misleading.

The board ordered more improvements, fixes and changes to the document that has undergone several revisions in the past year – from issuing the report semi-annually, to spelling out exactly what certain statistics mean.

The report fails to reveal where and when some incidents occurred, as well as explicit details of events leading up to confrontations.

Board members pressed Police Chief Bill Blair for clarification on why the device was used on two 15-year-old boys and shown to a 12-year-old boy.

Blair said one 15-year-old was trying to commit suicide and the other lunged at officers with a knife.

Showing the 12-year-old the Taser's blue electrical current halted a fit of violence, Blair said.

"We report far greater detail than anyone else in the country and in North America," Blair said. "I think it's appropriate. The public has a lot of questions and needs explanations and we're trying to make sure they get that."

Toronto police officers fired Taser darts at people 122 times last year and used it in "dry stun" mode, pressing it against a person's skin or clothing, 57 times.

Police use of Tasers has been under the microscope since 2007 when Polish visitor Robert Dziekanski died of cardiac arrest in Vancouver's airport after being jolted by RCMP members. An inquiry is probing that incident.

More than one-third of the 329 times that Toronto officers deployed Tasers – that includes showing its current, firing the darts and pressing it against a person – involved Emotionally Disturbed Persons, the report states.

Blair told the board the term doesn't necessarily refer to a mentally ill person, but to irrational, angry and violent behaviour.

"It is a perception," he said yesterday. "Not a diagnosis."

While the report concludes "few" of those classified as emotionally disturbed were apprehended under the Mental Health Act, board members want more detailed statistics.

Board members have raised the issue of Taser transparency several times in the past, but they decided yesterday to leave specific changes to the report up to Blair and board chair Alok Mukherjee.

Neighbour angrily rejects police lawyers' focus on immigrant's reputation

IAN BAILEY, Globe and Mail
March 31, 2009

VANCOUVER -- Robert Dziekanski's neighbour yesterday accused police lawyers at the inquiry into his death of trying to dirty the Polish immigrant's reputation with unnecessary questions about his health, alcohol consumption, ex-girlfriend and previous brushes with the law.

Iwona Kosowska's irritation grew throughout the hearing as she testified by video link. But she was particularly angered by a question by Ravi Hira, a lawyer for one of four Mounties involved in the fatal October, 2007, confrontation with Mr. Dziekanski, about whether he had a drinking problem.

"Can we stop this line of questioning because you are trying to make a bad person so you can kill the good person. I am fed up," she said, speaking through a Polish language interpreter in the hearing room.

The 44-year-old housewife was visible in a hotel room in the Polish city of Gliwice on a pair of jumbo-sized TV screens, as she looked into a video camera and spoke into a telephone handset.

Despite the jousting, she made some key points. Mr. Dziekanski, she said, was a healthy man with an aversion to doctors; he did not drink to excess; he was nervous about his first-ever flight, so he did not sleep for 48 hours before departing.

And he had a love of Canada that prompted him to pore over atlases and Readers' Digest.

Some spectators, apparently able to speak Polish, laughed at Ms. Kosowska's replies long before they were translated into English by a translator.

At one point, she tartly told Jan Brongers, a lawyer for the federal government, to "please ask concrete questions because we're going around in circles." Throughout her appearance, sheriffs in the hearing room had to scold spectators, who heckled the lawyers for their questions.

"It's disgusting," one man said loudly after questioning about whether Mr. Dziekanski received financial support from his mother.

Ms. Kosowska was visibly appalled when asked about Mr. Dziekanski's conduct in a bystander's video, which shows the confrontation after the Mounties arrived in response to reports that he had been acting erratically at the international arrivals area of Vancouver's airport. "I am not a psychic. I am not going to analyze what happened there. You guys made a mistake. Now you are going to turn everything around," she said.

She noted it was horrifying to watch the video, which shows the last living moments of someone she had known for 20 years. "He got killed in front of my eyes," she said.

And she expressed angry amazement that no one at one of Canada's largest airports could help someone who only spoke Polish.

That comment came after Mr. Brongers asked her about Mr. Dziekanski's possible concerns about being able to function en route to Vancouver when he did not speak English. "It [was] hard at his age to learn a new language, but one would suspect [that at] a huge airport like Vancouver someone would speak Polish." she said.

She said he did not think language would be an issue because he was expecting to meet his mother, Kamloops resident Zofia Cisowski, who was waiting for him at the airport.

The frustration that led to his outburst was understandable, she said. "If I were there and no one helped me, I would do exactly the same thing. He was asking for help, for attention."

The 40-year-old, who had begun acting erratically after an exhausting flight to Canada and 10-hour wait at the airport, died of cardiac arrest.

Ms. Kosowska was especially wary about discussing Mr. Dziekanski's relationship with a woman, who was allegedly alcoholic. "We're here to talk about Mr. Dziekanski, not [the woman]," she said, describing the matter as his "private life" and thus irrelevant.

And Mr. Hira's questioning about time Mr. Dziekanski spent in jail as a youth drew an interjection from inquiry head Thomas Braidwood, wondering about its relevance.

Walter Kosteckyj, the lawyer for Mr. Dziekanski's mother, noted that Mr. Dziekanski was in trouble when he was 17, but said the matter was not significant enough to prevent his entry into Canada. Mr. Hira has entered a motion to secure the release of all documents relevant to the matter, which has been the subject of previous media reports.

After the hearing, Mr. Hira was heckled outside the hearing room by several spectators. "You forgot to ask how many times he went to the bathroom," one man yelled.

In a subsequent interview, Mr. Hira said he thought his tactics were relevant because he was trying elicit information to explain Mr. Dziekanski's actions.

"What we're trying to do here is to gain some insights, some understanding as to why he acted this way, be it smashing the computer, throwing the chair or table," he said. "The behaviour is unusual in an international airport."

Mr. Hira, following the tactic of another police lawyer, did not tell the witness he was representing a Mountie.

"I thought that would be a good way to introduce myself and not get the witness to have a predisposition," he said.

No Taser pullback in Sarnia (Ontario)

March 31, 2009

Sarnia Police don't plan to make any changes to the way they use Tasers, despite two new developments regarding the controversial devices.

The Quebec government announced last week it is withdrawing all the stun guns after an audit showed some of them were discharging more electricity than specified by the manufacturer. At the same time, the RCMP reported its officers were far less likely to fire their Tasers last year after a public uproar erupted about their safety.

In fact, Taser use dropped 30 per cent in 2008, the Mounties said.

The statistic, made public by RCMP complaints commissioner Paul Kennedy, suggests officers were more cautious about using the stun guns once the devices came under public fire.

Const. Bill Baines of Sarnia Police Service said Monday there are no plans for changes locally.

"All our equipment is newer (than the Tasers being used by Quebec police) in terms of flaws," he said.

Besides that, Baines said local officers do not use Tasers frivolously.

"The guys are very careful with them, as they are with any other use of force," he said. "They have to submit a report each and every time they're used and it is reviewed by our training branch, supervisors and senior officers."

Baines believes Tasers have saved lives because they give officers an option other than shooting a suspect with a regular firearm. "They're another option that's less lethal," he said.

For every incident in which someone is killed by a Taser there are "countless incidents" in which they prevented serious injuries to suspects, members of the public or police officers, he said.

In an interview with The Observer four weeks ago, Sarnia Police Chief Phil Nelson said local officers understand the responsibility that comes with carrying the stun guns.

Only supervisors and emergency response team members carry Tasers. And those officers are only permitted to use them when they feel a suspect is exhibiting combative or assaultive behaviour, Nelson said.

"(Officers) are criminally and civilly responsible for that force unless justified," Nelson said.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Cops abused authority in Taser arrest, committee rules

March 30, 2009
The Gazette (Montreal)

Quebec’s police ethics committee has ruled two officers of the Chisasibi Cree First Nation police force abused their authority and used a Taser gun without justification in the 2007 arrest of a resident.

The ruling by lawyer Martha Montour stated that Constables Robert Shem and William Tebiscom did not have justification to arrest Aibellie Shauk, even though his father had complained that he was in possession of weapons, which were a violation of his parole conditions.

Shem entered Shauk’s father’s home in Chisasibi near James Bay, about 1,300 kilometres northwest of Montreal, and found Shauk lying on a couch, under a blanket. He ordered Shauk to get up from the couch and walk toward him. When he didn’t, Shem tried to arrest him. In the ensuing struggle, Shem discharged his Taser twice to immobilize Shauk. Shauk was arrested, but never charged with any offences relating to weapons possession. The weapons had been removed by other officers who visited the house earlier.

The committee said while officers were justified in entering Shauk’s home, Shauk didn’t represent a threat, nor did he commit any offence.

The arrest was ruled illegal, and therefore the use of the Taser gun was also inappropriate.

Taser inquiry sees RCMP officers' lawyers clash with Polish woman

March 30, 2009
By Gerry Bellett, Vancouver Sun

VANCOUVER -- A Polish neighbour of Robert Dziekanski clashed numerous times with two lawyers representing RCMP officers at the Braidwood Inquiry Monday when they suggested Dziekanski was an alcoholic or prone to violence.

Iwona Kowoska who lived in the same apartment building as Dziekanski in the southern Polish city of Gliwice reacted angrily to the suggestions and threatened both lawyers that she would not answer any more questions if they persisted.

She accused the lawyers of trying to blacken his character.

She was giving evidence via a video link from Poland and spoke through an interpreter at the inquiry into Dziekanski’s death in Vancouver International Airport after he was Tasered by four RCMP officers.

Kowoska, under questioning from commission counsel Art Viertlieb, had described Dziekanski as a normal man, friendly, a good neighbour who had an interest in geography and was looking forward to starting a new life in Canada with his mother.

They had known each other socially for more than 20 years and she often saw him walking his dog. But she said he was afraid of flying as he had never been in an aircraft and didn’t sleep for 48-hours before he departed from Gliwice to fly to Frankfurt then on to Vancouver on Oct. 13, 2007.

There was an obvious tension in her evidence but it turned to anger when questioned first by David Butcher and Ravi Hira about Dziekanski’s private life, his habits, disposition, medical record.

Hira had attempted to ask her if she knew he had a criminal record but was stopped by former B.C. Appeal Court Justice Tom Braidwood who said he wouldn’t allow the question.

Neither Butcher, who represents Const. Bill Bentley, nor Hira, who represents Const. Kwesi Millington, told Kosowska who they were representing when questioning her. Both just said they were representing a party at the inquest.

EDITORIAL: Shocked, repeatedly

March 30, 2009
The Ottawa Citizen

When police Taser someone, they are administering force -- physically interfering with the suspect's body. Sometimes this is what police have to do, and they have a variety of instruments with which to do it -- not just a Taser but, depending on the situation, their fists, a baton, even a gun.

It ought to be self-evident that the more times you apply a physical force or trauma to a person, the greater the risk of serious injury. Five cracks to the head with a baton are more dangerous than one. Getting shot is never good, but taking three bullets is worse than taking one.

Robert Dziekanski, the Polish immigrant who died in a confrontation with RCMP at the Vancouver airport, was Tasered five times. Common sense suggests that the repeated administration of debilitating electric shocks elevates the risk of lasting injury, or death. Yet because Tasers are officially deemed "non-lethal," some of their defenders deny the risk.

A punch in the face is generally a non-lethal use of force too, but five punches in the head represents an altogether different kind of weapon.

Common sense has now been confirmed thanks to a study by Montreal biomedical engineer Pierre Savard. Savard analysed data from thousands of Taser incidents and discovered what he calls a "linear relationship" -- the more shocks you receive, the more likely your chance of dying. It's becoming increasingly difficult to pretend that multiple Tasering did not contribute to Dziekanski's death.

This isn't to say police departments should stop carrying Tasers -- although in Quebec the weapons are being pulled from service because many are believed to deliver more of a shock than specified by the manufacturer. Tasers can be a useful tool. They are less lethal than guns and cause no injury most of the time. But police officers need to know that any weapon used clumsily, or excessively, can produce an undesired outcome.

Braidwood Inquiry

Scheduled Witnesses (Subject To Change)
Week of Monday, March 30, 2009

Witnesses from Poland (by video/teleconference):
Iwona Kosowska
Magda Czelwinska
Ryszard Krasinski
Wojciech Dibon
Robert Dylski
Aneta Czernel

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Taser to be tested at Quantico

"... Taser is, in effect, some kind of partner to us, since we purchase and field their systems ... not supporting them can hurt us in the public's eye." - Capt. Daniel McSweeney, spokesman for the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, QUANTICO (May 21, 2005 - Taser tied to 'independent' study that backs stun gun - The Arizona Republic)

March 29, 2009
By DEBBIE HALL - Martinsville Bulletin

A Taser will be tested to determine if it was operating properly the night a Martinsville teenager died after the device was fired to subdue him.

Botetourt County Commonwealth's Attorney Joel Branscom said Friday a special agent with the Virginia State Police delivered the Taser to federal facilities in Quantico earlier last week.

While staff in the state lab can perform tests on firearms, Branscom said Tasers could not be tested at the state level. However, federal authorities in Quantico apparently have the ability to do so, he said.

Branscom said he hopes tests on the device will determine “if there was some malfunction in the Taser that might have contributed to this” or eliminate malfunction as a possibility.

Derek Jones, 17, died Jan. 8 after Martinsville Police Officer R.L. Wray used a Taser, an electronic device, to subdue him. Police have said Jones was acting aggressively toward the officer.

The investigation of the incident was turned over to the state police.

Martinsville Commonwealth’s Attorney Joan Ziglar asked Branscom to review the investigation because after she visited the scene of the incident the night it happened, she felt the police officer was not at fault.

Martinsville Police Chief Mike Rogers has said the Taser was deployed in accordance with the department’s guidelines.

After receiving “a very thorough report,” Branscom said it appears that special agents with the Virginia State Police have “talked to everybody who could have possibly” witnessed any of the Jan. 8 activity on Rives Road.

He does not know of any other followup that is needed at this point from the state police, Branscom said.

However, he added autopsy results and the report on the Taser are not yet available.

Autopsy results generally can be obtained within six to eight weeks, but when toxicology tests are involved, the process can take longer, Branscom said.

He also does not know how long tests on the Taser may take.

Branscom said he is working to move the process along “as quickly as I can make it move.”

G20 protesters face police with Tasers

March 29, 2009
David Leppard and Steven Swinford

SCOTLAND YARD is to deploy officers armed with 50,000-volt Taser stun guns to deal with violent demonstrators planning to disrupt this week’s G20 summit in London.

The centrepiece of the security plan will be hundreds of officers from the Metropolitan police territorial support group, who are routinely armed with speedcuffs, extended batons and CS gas spray.

The Met confirmed yesterday that they will be supported by officers equipped with Tasers on stand-by should trouble break out.

“There will be an armed response vehicle element to this operation and [those officers] will be carrying Tasers,” said a spokeswoman.

The Met’s admission that Tasers could be used for the first time in the UK during riots came as protest groups claimed police had contacted them to warn that a day of protest in the City on Wednesday would be “very violent”.

All police leave has been cancelled and 10,500 officers, including reinforcements from other forces, will be deployed in the biggest policing operation undertaken in London.

Demonstrations intended to bring the capital’s financial centre to a standstill on Wednesday and disruption to the G20 summit at the ExCel centre in Docklands on Thursday will provide the first big test for Sir Paul Stephenson, the new Met commissioner. He will be aware that the protests provide an opportunity to show the world that London is up to the security and public order challenges of the 2012 Olympics.

With yesterday’s TUC march, a state visit from the president of Mexico tomorrow and the arrival of 40 delegations including 19 heads of state for the G20 summit on Thursday, the week presents a series of complex operational challenges the like of which the Met has not seen in recent history. The organisers of the protests – an alliance of environmental campaigners, anti-capitalist and religious groups – insist they will be peaceful. However, police fear that anarchist elements are likely to stir up trouble.

Police expect up to 1,500 protesters to converge on the Bank of England on Wednesday. At 12.30pm, other demonstrators are expected to “swoop” on the European Climate Exchange centre in Bishopsgate, where they plan to erect pop-up tents, makeshift toilets and even a bicycle-powered cinema, marking the start of a 24-hour Climate Camp.


London Anarchists: have appealed for people to join in “direct action” similar to that seen at previous anti-globalisation protests

Whitechapel Anarchists: London group which praised the attack on the home of Sir Fred Goodwin, the disgraced bank boss

Class War: veteran anarchists who are encouraging supporters to “burn a banker”

G20 Meltdown: A new organisation which will host a carnival at the Bank of England

Climate Camp: environmentalists behind direct action at Heathrow airport and power stations in North Yorkshire and Kent

Climate Rush: group against airport expansion who have “rushed” parliament

People and Planet: student network campaigning to end world poverty, defend human rights and protect the environment

Stop the War Coalition and CND: anti-war protesters against Iraq and Afghanistan wars

Illinois man dies after being tasered

Marcus D. Moore, 40, unarmed

Excited-Delirium.com shows us how police in Illinois use a taser as judge and jury. In the case of Marcus D. Moore, it's also a handy executioner.

March 29, 2009

We have new information tonight about the Freeport man hospitalized after being tasered by police. The Winnebago County coroner says 40-year-old Marcus D. Moore has died from his injuries. Freeport Police say Moore was wanted for robbery. When they tracked him down Thursday night, they say he fought with authorities, causing them to use the stun gun. Shortly after, Moore complained of being unable to breathe. He was taken to Rockford Memorial Hospital and was later pronounced dead. Police think Moore was on drugs at the time of his arrest and that taser use was warranted. They won't say whether the responding offer will be reprimanded. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Calgary cops to test headgear cams

March 28, 2009
Bill Kaufmann, Calgary Sun

CALGARY -- Picture this: Calgary cops with head-mounted cameras chronicling action on the beat.

While city police have rejected a camera installed on their Taser pistols, they're considering a dual-lensed device worn like an ear bud and produced by the same company that supplies their stun guns.

The cameras - dubbed Axon - would ensure more accountability for both police and the public, said Insp. Chris Butler, the force's field training co-ordinator.

"It goes both ways," said Butler, adding police are also concerned about increasingly litigious crooks.

"The criminal element are using the tactic of launching a lot of frivolous and vexatious complaints to bog the system down and make officers second guess."

City police will field test Axon this fall, added Butler.

The $1,200 US devices would pack a colour-capable lens for daylight hours and a black and white infrared one for nighttime service.

A similar device was piloted in the U.K. last year and they're credited with dramatically reducing the numbers of complaints against police, said Butler.

Police forces there didn't adopt them because of technical glitches, but Butler said he's hopeful the advent of the Axon will change that.

"We're hopeful the technological problems will be resolved," he said.

Earlier, Calgary police had tested a Taser gun-mounted camera, he said, but turned down the equipment after finding it unwieldy and technically unsound.

"The only time the Taser cam is recording is when the Taser is armed - they'd have to point it at a person, so they'd be more of a videographer than a cop dealing properly with a situation," said Butler.

"What we really want to be capturing aren't just the two seconds of Taser use but the entire context of an incident."

The camera lens was also obscured by the officer's hands when the Taser was held with both of them, he said.

The use of Tasers and cameras have come to the fore with the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dzeikanski who was captured on video when felled by a stun gun at Vancouver airport in 2007.

But the Taser-produced, blue tooth-like Axon "is a very fascinating piece of technology," said Butler.

Quebec will destroy malfunctioning Tasers

Were these x26 or m26 tasers??

March 28, 2009
Sue Montgomery, Canwest News Service

Quebec will destroy five Tasers after they malfunctioned during testing, Public Security Minister Jacques Dupuis said Friday.

The five were among a group of 52 stun guns that were made before 2005, but Dupuis didn't know what was wrong with the weapons.

He said the remaining 115 guns available to 14,000 police officers in the province will also be tested.

"We want them all to be well-functioning," Dupuis told a news conference.

He said that to avoid being shocked with a Taser -- a means of restraining suspects by hitting them with a 50,000-volt electric charge -- a person need only obey police officers.

He said police have been given strict guidelines on how to use Tasers. Police have to give a verbal warning before firing, can't fire at a person's head, neck or genitals, and must test the Taser when they take possession of it.

About 20 deaths in Canada after police used a Taser to subdue someone have led to calls for a ban on the weapons.

In Montreal, Taser use came under fire after the 2007 death of Quilem Registre, who died two days after being Tasered six times by Montreal police as they tried to arrest him.

U.S. Exports Insanity -- Dutch Police to Get Tasers

March 28, 2009
By Amnesty International

Today, Holland starts a one-year trial of arming police with Tasers. This sounds like a familiar story, but here’s the twist: The Dutch police don’t want them. According to Dutch Public TV, the Federal Police issued a statement documenting their objections to using a weapon so rife with problems.

And why should they want to use this weapon? The controversy surrounding Tasers is well-documented. Between July 2001 and August 2008, Amnesty International studied more than 334 deaths that occurred after police-use of Tasers. So many of the deaths were needless.

Police frequently used Tasers inappropriately, especially considering that in well over 90% of the cases, the person on whom the Taser was used did not even have a weapon. Medical examiners have cited Taser as a primary or contributory cause of death in at least 50 cases. And disturbingly, in far too many cases where people died after being shot with police Tasers, the cause of death is listed as a homicide.

The police in Holland got it right. While Dutch police and concerned citizens try to fend off the American Taser export, perhaps we can import something from Holland where policing is concerned: common sense.

When training and supervision fall short

March 28, 2009
Iain Hunter
Special to Times Colonist

I've learned to respect cops since the days when I was chased by them because I've recognized that they have to contend with a lot worse than smart-ass hooligans high on hormones and whatever else is available.

None of the sickening things that are being revealed at the Braidwood inquiry into the death of Robert Dziekanski, and none of the callous brutality that's been caught on surveillance cameras in police stations and jails recently, is going to persuade me that cops, by definition, are sadistic brutes looking for a chance to injure people who can't protect themselves.

None of the instinctive covering of tracks that we've seen when police have come under suspicion or investigation in the past couple of years is going to convince me that cops, as a breed, are corrupt.

But something sure has gone wrong. What video cameras have revealed must have a lot of people wondering what goes on off-camera.

And when the RCMP's commissioner-in-a-suit asks us to "walk a mile" in his shoes before judging the Mounties involved in Dziekanski's death, or the force as a whole, we might want to ask "why?"

William Elliott, as far as I'm aware, has a limited experience of front-line police work. He wears shoes, but most Mounties wear boots -- and why would we want to walk in boots that seem to be trampling on so many people that they come in contact with?

How can we empathize with four armed horsemen who charge -- like crusader knights against the infidel -- without taking the time to assess what they're up against? How can we understand why one of them thought he had to zap Dziekanski with a Taser five times for a total of 31 seconds to subdue him? How can we believe that a man writhing in agony on the ground can really be resisting arrest?

How can we accept one account of events offered by each of the Mounties that was so different from what the videotape showed? How can we sympathize with a cop who testifies, as Cpl. Benjamin Robinson did, that "I was mistaken but I was telling the truth."

What I find really chilling about all this is the calmness and composure shown on the witness stand by these young men who seem neither to have been supervised adequately nor trained properly for the situation they found themselves in.

And then I wonder how RCMP members or members of any police force can be trained to react appropriately every time when confronted with challenges that are so unpredictable. They must be alert, above all, to the danger -- to members of the public, and to themselves -- that may be encountered.

An apparently deranged man in an airport at first glance can represent a threat. A stapler can represent a weapon.

In the heat of the moment perceptions can be skewed and memories, later, can be distorted.

Back in the 1980s when rioters appeared so frequently on Parliament Hill, I found myself one day behind a cordon of Mounties in riot gear and shields lined four deep across the main foyer as the mob pressed against the heavy doors.

What I recall most is the smell of sweating bodies, the smell of tension, the smell of fear. These policemen, who on another day might be patrolling the parkway or posing for tourists, didn't know what was coming, but they were prepared to meet it. They'd been trained for the worst and if it had come, heads would have been broken.

I understand how cops responding even to a domestic dispute can face unpredictable dangers and prepare for some rough stuff.

When emergency response teams are called in, they're already in emergency mode -- and doors are not knocked on sometimes, but kicked in. We can't expect SWAT units to stroke gently.

Even so, Robert Dziekanski's death shows what happens when natural judgment is trumped by instilled instinct, training knows only extremes, and there's no requirement to look for niceties.

If Elliott wants us to walk in his shoes he's got to rewrite the manual, especially to put back restraint on the use of a device that can kill.

EDITORIAL: Broken RCMP needs overhaul

March 28, 2009
Calgary Herald

W hen William Elliott was appointed RCMP commissioner in 2007, the challenges ahead were monumental.It fell to Elliott, a career civil servant, to rebuild the tattered remains of our once-proud national police force, and restore public trust in an institution that had badly fallen into disrepute. The 24,000-member force was "horribly broken," according to an independent review at the time.

Less than two years later, the force is even worse off, and Elliott has failed to deliver. He needs to step aside --or be fired--so someone more effective and trustworthy can again try to restore accountability, transparency and integrity to our damaged Mounties.

Elliott has proven he's as much out of touch as was his predecessor, Giuliano Zaccardelli. Canadians are rightly outraged by the persistent culture of arrogance, overzealous policing and coverups that have for too long been the norm.

As the public responds with shock and horror to the testimony of four officers involved in the fatal Tasering of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski, Elliott is crying for understanding. The head Mountie had the nerve to suggest Canadians not "jump to conclusions" or engage in "knee jerk" reactions and instead recognize the pressures of policing.

The public understands full well when it hears testimony that's riddled with untruths. Thanks to an amateur video of Dziekanski's confrontation with police at the Vancouver International Airport, the public knows what happened.

The video contradicts all four officers' earlier statements and clearly shows Dziekanski did not need to be Tasered five times to be brought under control.He was being Tasered even while already on the floor, moaning in pain. He was no threat to anyone, never mind to the four healthy RCMP officers who carried guns and wore body armour.

Elliott's defence of his officers at all costs is evidence of the "knee jerk" conclusion he warned against. Between the disgraceful revelations at the judicial inquiry, and a CBC News report this week showing that RCMP Taser standards have in fact weakened under Elliott's watch even though he told a parliamentary committee he would toughen them, it's clear a number of outcomes must occur if the force is to regain its former stature.

-Amoratorium on the use of Tasers. A parliamentary committee threatened to do just that if the RCMP didn't bring in "clear restrictions"on officers discharging the stun guns multiple times.

A CBC investigation contradicts Elliott's testimony before the committee last month, when the commissioner said steps had been taken to restrict the use of Tasers.

However, as the CBC report shows, the RCMP has done the opposite--removing two key lines from its use-of-force policy that actually weakens the guidelines.The first guide-line limited use of the Taser to one shot, and no more than 20 seconds at a time.The second required officers to warn their suspects before deploying the electrical current.

The safety of stun guns is much disputed, with police and the main manufacturer arguing no direct link between Tasers and death has been established.

But until there are enough deaths by Tasers to be studied, that link can't be made. New independent research, though, has already shown the chance of death rises each additional time the weapon is deployed.

-Thehomicide investigation into the four officers' actions must be reopened.Clearly, the four manufactured a version of events that bears no resemblance to reality.

Dziekanski was lost and confused at the airport. No one tried to help him. The officers shot first and asked questions later. They need to be held accountable before the law for their reckless actions that clearly fall well below the accepted standard of practice for RCMP, never mind human beings.

-An independent body of civilians is needed to investigate homicides involving police. It's obvious that police investigating themselves isn't working. There have been too many coverups, and the public has lost trust.

-A new commissioner is needed. Elliott has to go. He has lost credibility and can no longer lead this troubled organization back to health.

The iconic tradition of Canada's Mounties dates back to May 23, 1873.The red serge of their uniforms has come to represent honour, order and a proud past. But red is also the colour of shame. Without drastic change, that will be the sad legacy of this once meaningful organization.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Death due to excited delirium

March 27, 2009

Excited delirium killed an Edmonton tattoo shop owner who died after being shot with a stun gun, an autopsy determined.

"Excited delirium is a state of extreme excitation that can be fatal - it can lead to a state of exhaustion where the heart stops," said Alberta Justice spokesman David Dear.

"Alberta's Fatality Review Board will review this case to determine whether to recommend a fatality inquiry be held."

Trevor Grimolfson, 38, died Oct. 29 after police deployed a stun gun in an attempt to subdue him.

Before police brought him under control, Grimolfson had been rampaging through a west-end pawn shop near his tattoo shop and even attacked a man, witnesses said.

Multiple witnesses said police reacted appropriately when they used the weapon.

Dear said the cause of Grimolfson's death was brought on by drug use, but could not say which narcotics Grimolfson had taken before becoming erratic.

On the social networking site Facebook, some expressed skepticism about the autopsy's findings.

"It was announced today that Trevor died from excited delirium - a dubious condition at best and one that only ever shows up when Tasers are involved," writes Patti Gillman Nee Bagnell on a memorial page for Grimolfson. "It's meant to take the blame off of police and put it onto the victim.

"With current developments, I'm blown away by the Alberta government's use of that as a cause of death."

'Excited delirium' killed Tasered man

March 27, 2009
By Ben Gelinas, with files from Laura Drake
The Edmonton Journal

A crazed man brought down by a police Taser last October died from what the medical examiner calls excited delirium caused by drugs.

Trevor Grimolfson, 38, was hit twice by the Taser after he attacked a man who came into his Stony Plain Road tattoo parlour and then smashed up a nearby pawnshop. Witnesses said Grimolfson was combative, violent and couldn't be calmed. After he was hit with the Taser, police handcuffed him. He soon lost consciousness and was declared dead in hospital.

"The cause of death was excited delirium brought on by drugs he'd taken," Alberta Justice spokesman David Dear said.

No further details on the ruling were released.

A representative from the medical examiner's office could not be reached for comment.

Asked about excited delirium, Michael Webster, a police psychologist who gave testimony at the inquiry into the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver's airport, said that "it's a fantasy.

"Police and medical examiners have taken something that was initially descriptive and have made it into something prescriptive. And that's where the controversy comes from, because it's just not a diagnosis, nor is it a cause of death."

Webster said the vast majority of physicians, psychologists and psychiatrists do not recognize that excited delirium exists.

"I would challenge your medical examiner to show me excited delirium in that corpse."

It is Webster's opinion that the continuing diagnosis of excited delirium as a legitimate cause of death further drives a wedge between law enforcement and the majority of the medical community.

Alberta's chief medical examiner has been outspoken in his belief that excited delirium is a legitimate condition. Someone in the state could die without being touched or even when alone. It seems to have nothing to do with the method of restraint, Dr. Graeme Dowling told the Canadian National Committee for Police in November.

"They may die in spite of what we do."

Dowling said that it wouldn't be uncommon to need six to eight police officers to restrain someone in an excited delirium, as it is characterized by abnormal strength.

Following Grimolfson's death, the use of a Taser promptly became the public focus.

The medical examiner's ruling "once again shows that when these arrest-related deaths occur, jumping to conclusions is the wrong way to go," Taser International spokesman Steve Tuttle said. "We have seen this time and time again repeatedly, and it has sadly affected public opinion."

The Arizona company has been under intense public scrutiny in Canada since Dziekanski's death was captured on amateur video.

Tuttle said that incident ignited something that borders on hysteria in this country.

"We call it a crisis in Canada."

A fatality review board will determine whether a fatality inquiry will be recommended in Grimolfson's case.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team which looks into deaths involving police is still investigating.

Alberta Solicitor General spokesman Andy Weiler said no one from the response team will comment on the medical examiner's report until the investigation is complete.

Quebec minister orders all Tasers to be tested

March 27, 2009
CTV.ca News Staff

Quebec's public security minister is ordering police officers to turn in their Taser guns for testing before they can be used again on the street.

The provincial Forensic Sciences and Forensic Pathology lab in Montreal will test all of the Taser guns to ensure they meet all the technical specifications outlined by the manufacturer.

"All stun weapons must have received a certificate from the (lab) before they are used by officers," Dupuis said in a statement.

In December 2008, Dupuis ordered a review of a certain model, the Taser X-26, manufactured before 2006.

The lab found five of 52 units tested did not operate within the manufacturer's specification and they were destroyed.

One of the X-26 Tasers belonged to Longueuil police, three were issued in the Akwesasne Mohawk reserve at the Ontario border and one was from Eastmain, in northern Quebec.

Police have confirmed that the five Tasers were never used on people.

Quebec has already imposed several guidelines for the use of Tasers, including notifying the person that the device could be used.

Police are also told not to target the head, neck, heart and genitals of a person they are targeting.

More than 20 Canadians have died after being Tasered.

The most prominent recent case involved Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski, who died in October, 2007, after RCMP officers repeatedly zapped him.

His death is now the subject of an inquiry in B.C.

Since the public uproar surrounding the devices, the RCMP complaints commissioner reports Taser use among Mounties dropped 30 per cent in 2008, from a peak of 1,500 incidents in 2007.

Greetings, University of Texas

I see a Google search for "Robert Bagnell taser" has landed you (utexas.edu) here and I assume that you are performing research. Please know that if there is anything specific that we can help you with, we will be happy to reply to a private message on the guestbook.

Quebec orders police to turn in Tasers - Province recalls 167 weapons after some stun guns malfunctioned in testing

March 27, 2009
CBC News

The Quebec government is pulling all its Taser stun guns off the street for testing after new lab results revealed problems with some of the weapons.

Quebec was the first province to order testing of the stun guns after a CBC/Radio-Canada investigation showed some used by Canadian police did not meet the manufacturer's specifications.

The province sent 52 stun guns made before 2005 to an independent lab for testing. Five of them performed outside normal range.

With the results in hand, on Thursday evening Quebec Public Security Minister Jacques Dupuis ordered all of the province's police departments to send their Taser stun guns to the lab immediately.

As a result, 167 of the weapons will remain off the streets until they are checked.

"All of the measures possible will be taken," Dupuis said in his statement. "Quebec is on the leading edge in this work and nothing will be neglected in guaranteeing the responsible use and security of this type of weapon."

The Quebec government has not yet provided details on how the guns malfunctioned or how much current they delivered.

The problem weapons came from Longueuil, Eastmain and Akwesasne. Police say none of the weapons had been used against a person. The five stun guns will be destroyed.

Quebec tests echo CBC/Radio-Canada findings

Quebec first became concerned about stun guns after a CBC/Radio-Canada investigation last fall. CBC tested 41 Taser stun guns and found that 10 per cent delivered higher jolts of electric current than specified by the manufacturer, Taser International. All the Tasers that malfunctioned were older models.

Pierre Savard, the biomedical engineer who conducted the CBC/Radio-Canada analysis, also worked with the province on developing the protocol for its study.

"It is difficult for me to say something definite about those results but it clearly shows that all Tasers are not perfect," said Pierre Savard.

There are thousands of Tasers in use by police across the country and most major police forces are in the process of having their the stun guns tested.

Critics, supporters applaud recall decision

Critics of stun gun use in Quebec were pleased by the minister's decision.

Marvin Rotrand, a Montreal city councillor, hopes the recall will lead to a full ban in Quebec. "Is this a valid part of the police arsenal? The proof has not been made conclusively," said Rotrand.

"The minister now has an opportunity not only to test whether Tasers in the police arsenal across Quebec actually are safe, but whether we might be better off if Tasers were retired from the arsenal altogether."

Claude Dauphin, the executive committee member responsible for public security, said the Montreal police department will send its 17 Taser stun guns to the lab as requested.

He supports the government's decision to test the stun guns, and hopes the findings will reassure the public that they are important tools for police.

"When we use the Taser gun it is the last resort before the real gun," said Dauphin. "That is why on the island … we made sure with our police authorities that [the stun gun] has to be used in a very restricted operation."

Dupuis is expected to hold a news conference Friday to give more details.

Taser International has not responded to the Quebec action. However, the company has criticized CBC/Radio-Canada's investigation, saying the testing methods were flawed.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Excited delirium" strikes again

TODAY'S QUESTION, IN HONOUR OF TREVOR GRIMOLFSON (and because his family and friends DESERVE to know) IS:

How did we get from HERE:

From the Toronto Star
February 13, 2009
"...The RCMP has admitted that firing a Taser poses a risk of death" ... "have also dropped the term "excited delirium" - a phrase that had no medical foundation, and was criticized earlier by the Commons committee, the RCMP's public complaints commissioner, independent consultants and civil liberty groups."

To HERE just over a month later:

March 26, 2009

Edmonton man who died after Taser shock was killed by excited delirium: Report

Alberta Justice says a man who was Tasered by Edmonton police in October died from a condition called excited delirium — not from the effects of being hit by the electronic stun gun.

Trevor Grimolfson, 38, died on Oct. 29 after going on a rampage in a pawn shop.

The provincial medical examiner said the cause of death was excited delirium brought on by multiple drug toxicity.

Officers on the scene said Grimolfson could not be controlled after just one Taser use, so a second electronic jolt was needed.

More than 25 people have died in Canada after being stunned by Tasers.

The U.S. company that makes the devices points out that they have never been directly proven to have caused a death in Canada.

The RCMP yesterday announced they'd loosened a restriction on multiple Taser shocks amid growing evidence that repeated stun gun jolts increase risk of death.

A new statistical analysis by Montreal biomedical engineer Pierre Savard suggests the chances of someone dying after being hit with a police Taser increase the more times they are stunned.

That research comes as a public inquiry examines the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski, who got five shocks from an RCMP Taser in October 2007 at the Vancouver airport. An amateur video of Dziekanski writhing on the floor was beamed around the world, sparking new questions about stun gun safety.

Savard carried out the study using a database of over 3,200 RCMP Taser incidents from 2002 to 2007 compiled by The Canadian Press and the CBC/Radio-Canada. He also looked at an Amnesty International study of Taser cases involving more than 300 deaths in the United States.

During the six-year period, nine people died in Canada after being Tasered by the RCMP. In at least seven of the nine deaths, accounts indicate the person was jolted multiple times.

And here it is again, from the Edmonton Journal:

Taser didn’t kill man who smashed pawnshop: medical examiner
By Journal Staff, edmontonjournal.com
March 26, 2009 5:01 PM

EDMONTON — Trevor Grimolfson did not die from the Taser strike he received from city police last October after he busted up a Stony Plain Road pawnshop, according to the medical examiner's office. "The cause of death was excited delirium brought on by drugs he'd taken," said Alberta Justice spokesman David Dear. Grimolfson, 38, was Tasered twice by Edmonton police after he attacked a man at his tattoo parlour and went on to smash windows and destroy a nearby pawnshop. He died shortly afterwards. A fatality review board will determine whether or not a fatality inquiry will be recommended. The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team is still investigating to determine whether or not the police officers involved will press criminal charges. Alberta Solicitor General spokesman Andy Weiler said no one from ASIRT will comment on the medical examiner's report until the investigation is complete.
Is Alberta Justice (like BC Justice) just having one big long nap until this nasty anti-taser business blows over?? Seems they haven't been keeping up with what's new in news ... they're not getting with the program.

RCMP Commissioner misled Canadians on Taser use policy

March 26, 2009

OTTAWA – The Commissioner of the RCMP must explain why he misled Canadians on the RCMP’s Taser use policy, said Liberal Public Safety Critic Mark Holland today.

“The Commissioner misled Canadians when he told them that the RCMP had changed their policy to make Taser use more restrictive,” said Mr. Holland. “In fact, the RCMP’s policy has been weakened.”

On February 12th, RCMP Commissioner William Elliott told the Public Safety and National Security Committee that the RCMP had followed recommendations laid out in the committee’s June 2008 report on Tasers, which called for their restricted use.

But in a CBC report last night, it was learned that far from restricting the use of Tasers, the RCMP actually removed specific provisions that prohibit officers from discharging their Tasers more than once on an individual. In addition, a provision was also removed that required officers to issue a warning to suspects before they fire their Tasers.

In the CBC report, the RCMP claims that this revised policy reflects new studies that have shown that it is safe to use Tasers multiple times. However, of the two studies upon which they base their new policy, one did not look into the effects of multiple deployments and the other was commissioned by Taser International, the company that makes the stun guns.

The RCMP chose to ignore a comprehensive report published by the United States Department of Justice revealing that many deaths are associated with repeated discharges of Tasers, the medical risks are unknown, and that caution is urged in using multiple activations, according to the CBC.

Mr. Holland said he will be bringing a motion before the House of Commons to immediately recall Commissioner Elliott before the committee to explain himself.

“We have some disconcerting contradictions of fact here,” he said. “The Commissioner owes it to Canadians to come back to the committee and clear this up immediately. It is a matter of public safety and trust and we deserve the truth.”

RCMP's Taser use declines: Report

OTTAWA — Taser use by RCMP officers decreased significantly over the past year, says a report released Thursday.

The analysis, compiled by Paul E. Kennedy, the chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, revealed a shift in use of the weapon in 2008, especially when compared to the statistics from the year before, when usage was at its highest. Overall, the decrease amounted to a 30 per cent drop which suggested the Taser was being used more as a deterrent than as an actual weapon.

"Overall, I am encouraged by the decrease of Taser usage and increased restraint shown by RCMP members in the field," said Kennedy.

The findings were supposed to be included as part of a broader report on the use of energy weapons by the Mounties to be released next week, but Kennedy decided to release it early suggesting it could have a "significant bearing" on the debate surrounding the use of the controversial weapon.

Paramedic tells B.C. public inquiry he wasn't told about all five Taser jolts

March 26, 2009
The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER, B.C. — One of the first paramedics to arrive to help Robert Dziekanski says his skin was blue as he lay on the floor of Vancouver's airport.

Allan Maciak and his partner arrived more than 10 minutes after Dziekanski was stunned multiple times with a Taser.

Maciak says as he approached Dziekanski, it was "quite apparent" that the man's skin was blue, a sign of a serious circulation problem known as cyanosis.

The supervising RCMP officer on duty that night told a public inquiry into Dziekanski's death that he noticed the man's ear turning blue, but thought it was just bruised.

Maciak tells the inquiry that ears and fingers turning blue is often the first sign of cyanosis which, if not treated before it spreads to the body and face, can be difficult to reverse.

Maciak says police told him as he was trying to treat Dziekanski that the Taser was used three times, even though the weapon was actually deployed five times.

Paramedic says Tasered man already dead when help arrived

March 26, 2009
By Gerry Bellett, Vancouver Sun

VANCOUVER -- A paramedic called to Vancouver International Airport to assist Robert Dziekanski said the Polish man was dead when he arrived.

Allan Maciak said he was told by RCMP Cpl. Monty Robinson that Dziekanski had only been tasered once.

Maciak was testifying Thursday at the the Braidwood Inquiry, which is probing Dziekanski's death at Vancouver International Airport after 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 14, 2007.

Maciak said he could clearly see that Dziekanski had turned blue as he lay on the floor surrounded by RCMP officers and Richmond firefighters.

Dziekanski, 40, had left Poland about 30 hours before he died and came to Canada to live with his mother.

He had never been on a plane before and was unable to find his mother at the airport.

She was waited hours but returned home after being told by officials that her son, who spoke no English, could not be located in the customs area, which is not accessible to the public.

Robinson and three RCMP constables attended the airport to respond to a 911 report of an intoxicated man throwing luggage around at the airport.

Bay City Police policy calls for officers to assess subject's size before firing Taser

March 26, 2009
by Tom Gilchrist | The Bay City Times

The Bay City Police Department policy on Taser use urges officers to consider a suspect's size - among other factors - when deciding whether to fire the weapon.

Friends of Brett Elder - a 15-year-old described by relatives as about 5-foot-6 and 140 pounds - have criticized police for firing the Taser at Elder, who died after an officer subdued him with the stun gun Sunday morning. Witnesses said the unarmed teen moved toward three male police officers after Brett Elder physically attacked a female at an apartment on Catherine Street.

A suspect's "relative size/stature" is the second of 12 circumstances listed for an officer to consider when controlling a situation.

"He's not some hulking kid, he didn't have a weapon and any one of them - let alone three - could have taken him down," said Flint lawyer David J. Nickola, one of several lawyers representing the estate of Brett Elder.

Nickola on Wednesday taped a segment with NBC's "Today" show that was expected to air this morning.

Brett Elder's funeral takes place today at 4 p.m. at Ambrose Funeral Home, 1200 Garfield Ave.

The police department's policy on "Use of Force" - obtained by The Times - also urges officers to consider circumstances such as "type of crime committed or attempted" before deciding whether to use a Taser.

An officer also should consider "conditions such as the number of officers involved, number of subjects involved and availability of back-up (officers)" before Taser use, according to the police policy.

Bay City Deputy Police Chief Thomas Pletzke declined comment Wednesday when asked if officers followed department policy in dealing with Brett Elder. The Michigan State Police are investigating the circumstances leading to Brett Elder's death.

The policy on "Use of Force" prohibits Bay City officers from using a Taser on a handcuffed subject.

Wendy Elder, 34, the late teenager's sister-in-law who said she witnessed the police confrontation with Brett Elder, maintains the teen had been handcuffed when an officer fired the stun gun.

Police deny that claim, and also dispute Wendy Elder's allegation that an officer fired the Taser twice in subduing Brett Elder.

The police policy also instructs an officer to consider whether a subject is under influence of alcohol or other drugs. Relatives said Brett Elder had consumed alcohol.

Brett Elder was one of about seven adults or teenagers inside the apartment when police officers tried to calm him down, witnesses said.

Bay City Police Chief Michael Cecchini said Brett Elder "became unruly and took a fighting stance against the officers" inside the apartment. At that point, an officer deployed the Taser, Cecchini said.

The weapon shoots two probes into a targeted subject's body, with the probes attached to the power source by insulated wires, according to police. A discharge of electricity disrupts the body's ability to send messages from the brain to the muscles, causing motor-skill dysfunction, according to police.

Dr. Kanu Virani conducted an autopsy on Brett Elder's body on Monday but hasn't announced preliminary results of the procedure.

Nickola, who is working with Southfield attorney Geoffrey Fieger on the case, said they have hired renowned forensic pathologist Werner Spitz to do a second autopsy on the teen today.

Fieger claims autopsy results "are expected to show (Brett Elder) died from being electrocuted by Taser causing his heart to defibrillate."

The Times could not reach Virani for comment about Fieger's contention.

One of the late teen's friends, 23-year-old Bethany Schuster of Flint, joined with several other to paint "The Rock" on 12th Street and Hammerberg Road in Flint this week to protest Brett's death.

Schuster and her boyfriend, Brandon Look, painted the Rock on Tuesday with birthday wishes for Brett, who would have turned 16 that day.

Using paint, they also added a message.

"Tasered to death by Bay City PD," the Rock read.

Mountie accused of 'cooking' story

March 26, 2009
IAN BAILEY, Globe and Mail

VANCOUVER -- Poland's lawyer at the inquiry into Robert Dziekanski's death yesterday accused the senior Mountie of cooking his story with those of other three officers to justify their conduct, which included blasting the immigrant with a taser five times in about 30 seconds.

In a flat, calm voice, Corporal Benjamin Robinson denied it.

"I have been telling the truth," said the 38-year-old officer, the last of the four Mounties to testify to the Braidwood inquiry on the details of the events at Vancouver airport on Oct. 14, 2007.

Early that day, the four officers travelled from the RCMP's airport detachment to the international arrivals terminal, responding to a dispatchers' report that a man was throwing furniture. That man was Mr. Dziekanski, acting erratically after a 21-hour journey from Poland to Canada, and being lost in the airport for more than 10 hours. The 40-year-old Polish labourer died of cardiac arrest after being tasered and wrestled into handcuffs by the officers.

Poland's Vancouver-based lawyer Don Rosenbloom said he had no reservations about his allegations that the officers collaborated on their testimony.

"I've said it in the hearing room and I am saying it again. You have these inconsistencies spoken by all four officers and they claim they never spoke to each other and yet these professionally trained observers, who are supposed to accurately record the events of any incident, all make the same mistakes," Mr. Rosenbloom told reporters outside the hearing room.

His concerns included the officers' suggestions that Mr. Dziekanski was agitated, when he was actually calm when approached; that three officers talked about Mr. Dziekanski's supposed defiance in walking away from officers contrary to their wishes; the erroneous suggestion that Mr. Dziekanski was standing after he was tasered.

"This is just beyond the pale. It is unacceptable. There are too many inconsistencies and they are all giving those same erroneous versions of events," Mr. Rosenbloom said.

In his final day on the stand, Cpl. Robinson also said he felt qualified to provide basic first aid to Mr. Dziekanski although his certification had expired by the night of the confrontation. He also denied placing his knee on Mr. Dziekanski's neck as officers struggled to restrain him.

And he acknowledged errors in his initial statements on the case. Earlier this month, the officer's lawyer asked the commission for permission to change his comments in six areas. "I did the best job I could. I admit there are inaccuracies," Cpl. Robinson said yesterday.

During the hearing, Mr. Rosenbloom opened his last round of questions by saying: "You and your fellow officers collaborated to fabricate your story in the expectation that it would justify your conduct the night Mr. Dziekanski died. Do you deny that?"

"I deny that," Cpl. Robinson replied.

He also offered a soft-spoken "I deny that" to Mr. Rosenbloom's suggestion that the officers "were fast at work at the scene cooking up the story."

With a "No, we did not," Cpl. Robinson rejected Mr. Rosenbloom's suggestion the officers misled the members of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team. "And lastly, I am going to suggest to you that you have been lying under oath before this commission. Do you deny that?" Mr. Rosenbloom asked.

"I have been telling the truth," Cpl. Robinson said.

Zofia Cisowski, Mr. Dziekanski's mother, said she did not believe Cpl. Robinson, and accused him of being evasive. "He never says any straight answer - yes or no, just round and round," she said.

She said she was thankful for amateur video shot by a bystander that has been dissected during the hearing. "The truth would never [have] come out if we had no video."

Mr. Rosenbloom's cross-examination of Cpl. Robinson ended the officer's three days of testimony.

As lawyers and staff gathered their materials to leave the hearing room, Mr. Rosenbloom made a point of going over to shake Cpl. Robinson's hand. The embattled officer took the lawyer's hand and returned the shake with a small smile. "There are courtesies in my profession," Mr. Rosenbloom later explained. "When a person is off the stand, I treat them with respect."

Walking a mile in the wrong shoes

March 26, 2009
Globe and Mail

RCMP Commissioner William Elliott wants Canadians to "walk a mile in my shoes" - a Mountie's brown boots - before judging the organization or its people in the fatal tasering of the Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at the Vancouver International Airport. But the RCMP is not the victim here, and it will not regain Canadians' confidence by acting like one.

Mr. Elliott's comment is egregious and insulting because he asks for his organization what he does not ask of it - that it walk a mile in the shoes of an unarmed immigrant who did not speak English or French, and who had been waiting for his mother for 10 hours. Never mind a mile. The Mounties never took the first step. They began tasering Mr. Dziekanski, about whom they knew nothing, and never asked, within 30 seconds of approaching him.

Mr. Elliott asks for empathy, but why should Canadians ignore incompetence and unprofessionalism? Everything that has emerged from the four officers involved, in testimony at a judicial inquiry in British Columbia, underscores the organization's failure to train its officers properly. Corporal Benjamin Monty Robinson, the most senior of the four, had let his first-aid training lapse five years earlier. No wonder he failed to recognize or address Mr. Dziekanski's distress. Cpl. Robinson's taser training occurred in 2003 and he hadn't had a refresher course. No wonder Mr. Dziekanski was tasered five times, though he never got up after the first one. Why isn't the RCMP training its people properly?

The amateur video of the RCMP's fatal confrontation with Mr. Dziekanski should be used as a teaching tool at every police college in the country: This is what not to do.

Lesson one might be that the police, not the unarmed subject, are in control. The RCMP is on the verge of making itself a laughingstock because the four officers testified about how threatened they felt when Mr. Dziekanski picked up a stapler. (The officers had all said initially that Mr. Dziekanski had swung the stapler. He hadn't.) Canada's finest, having tamed the West quite peacefully, are now a-quiver at being collated. These officers had options. They could have backed off. Mr. Dziekanski was in a secure area. Time was on the officers' side.

But in their view, Mr. Dziekanski was in control. "He didn't afford us the opportunity" to give a warning, said Cpl. Robinson. Yet everything that happened was brought on by those officers. It was their aggressive approach - four armed police moving in as a pack, right up close, and spreading around him - that caused the confused, frightened man to pick up the stapler. Relaxing and backing off a few steps could have worked wonders. What a teachable moment for all police everywhere.

It is clear to nearly everyone in Canada except the RCMP that the tasering was unnecessary, brutal and a national embarrassment. It is equally clear that the RCMP, in its official statements and in the initial statements of the four officers, told rank falsehoods. Their training and judgment were simply not up to the task. On the positive side, Mr. Elliott said last month that his force has changed its taser policy to reflect a risk of death. He seems now to be speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

Mr. Elliott, a career civil servant, was made commissioner at a low point for the RCMP two years ago. His job was to fix a "horribly broken" agency. Yet it seems from his latest comments the RCMP is determined to learn nothing from the death of Mr. Dziekanski. The impression he leaves is that the organization is still horribly broken.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

RCMP softened Taser-use restrictions - New research suggests more shots raise likelihood of causing death

'If one ping-pong ball hit to the head does not kill you, 1,000 probably cannot either.'
—Taser International

"It is a linear relationship: the more you are exposed — if you double the exposure, you double the risk of death." —Pierre Savard, biomedical engineer at Montreal's École Polytechnique who specializes in effects of electricity on the heart

March 25, 2009
CBC News

In response to national anger at the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski in the Vancouver airport, the RCMP was urged to curb multiple Taser use by its officers — but instead deleted an existing restriction from its stun-gun policy.

CBC News has learned that on Feb. 3, 2009, two sentences were erased from the main document that guides officers' actions — the first limiting Taser usage to one shot and no more than 20 seconds at a time, and the second requiring officers to warn suspects before deploying a stun gun.

"They have in fact not placed stricter guidelines on the multiple usage of the Taser; they've in fact removed the ban on multiple use in their new guidelines," said Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh, who chaired a parliamentary committee that reviewed RCMP Taser use.

"And that is absolutely reprehensible, it's unacceptable, it's retrogressive — it's actually moving backwards."

The RCMP's policy change comes at a time when new independent research has emerged suggesting that chance of death from stun guns rises with each exposure, contrary to claims by the largest stun-gun manufacturer and police forces using the devices.

"It is a linear relationship: the more you are exposed — if you double the exposure, you double the risk of death," Pierre Savard, a biomedical engineer at Montreal's École Polytechnique who specializes in effects of electricity on the heart, told CBC News.

Savard studied statistics on more than 300 Taser-related deaths compiled by Amnesty International and results from 3,200 RCMP Taser deployments amassed by CBC/Radio-Canada and the Canadian Press.

That electrical current, says Savard, increases the heart rate and can directly affect the cardiac rhythm. "There are plausible mechanisms that can relate the Taser itself to death," said Savard.

A direct link between Tasers and death cannot yet be established, says Savard, until there are enough deaths for such analysis. He notes as an example that it wasn't immediately possible to link lung cancer to smoking when mass cigarette use first began.

Dziekanski hit by stun gun for 31 seconds

The Arizona-based Taser International maintains that its stun guns don't affect the heart and several zaps have no more effect on your health than one.

It points out that thousands of people have survived stun guns and compares the weapon's cycles to hollow ping pong balls: "If one ping-pong ball hit to the head does not kill you, 1,000 probably cannot either."

Based on his findings, however, Savard believes police forces should limit exposure to one or two shocks and not more than 20 seconds in total.

RCMP Corp. Gregg Gillis, a use-of-force trainer in B.C., denies the sentences were removed due to legal concerns. He says the force never had an outright ban on using the weapon more than once and instead allowed the situation dictate the use.

The restriction written in the 2005 policy was based on older research, since proven wrong, about electrical weapons impairing breathing, said Gillis.

"We said be cautious about the use of multiple exposures, because we're not sure what the outcome might be from that, because there wasn't clear medical research that spoke to that issue."

Use of Tasers by the RCMP and other police forces has come under intense scrutiny since Dziekanski's death on Oct. 14, 2007, in the arrivals area of the Vancouver International Airport.

A bystander's amateur video captured Dziekanski's final moments, allowing officials and people around the world to witness the encounter between him and the four RCMP officers.

Committee pushed for restrictions

The video reveals that RCMP Const. Kwesi Millington deployed the Taser on Dziekanski five times, for a total of 31 seconds in the span of a minute. At the Braidwood inquiry, Millington testified he feared for the officers' safety after Dziekanski grabbed a stapler. Dziekanski clearly falls to the floor in the video, taped by Paul Pritchard, but the constable uses the stun gun four more times. After learning that her son had been shocked five times with a Taser, Zofia Cisowski told CBC News that she wondered why police use Tasers at all. "They say they are human being[s] but who was my son? Also a human being," she said.

The House of Commons public safety and national security committee was among a handful of groups to investigate in the months that followed. In a report released in mid-June of 2008, the group, representing politicians of all stripes, called the RCMP's policy too permissive and pointed out weaknesses in officer training.

Most importantly, the committee called for the force to put "clear restrictions" on officers discharging stun guns multiple times and recommended they limit use to cases where the suspect is combative or poses a "risk of death and grievous bodily harm."

And if the Mounties weren't willing to do so by mid-December, the committee threatened to seek a moratorium on their use of the weapons. Eight months after the committee's report, RCMP Commissioner William Elliott told the committee that the force had introduced a revised Taser policy back in June 2008.

"I believe the facts are we have made significant changes in response to the committee's report and to respond to the recommendations," Elliott told the parliamentary committee on Feb. 12, 2009. "We have taken steps to restrict its use."

The policy added recognition that a stun gun could cause death, especially for "acutely agitated" individuals, and still informed officers that multiple or continuous shocks may be hazardous.

But the RCMP eliminated a line prohibiting officers from shocking someone more than once.

The old policy, in place since 2005, had stated: "Multiple deployment or continuous cycling of the [Conducted Energy Weapons] may be hazardous to a subject. Unless situational factors dictate otherwise … do not cycle the CEW repeatedly, nor more than 15-20 seconds at a time against a subject."

RCMP out of touch: Dosanjh

In another section, the policy instructed officers to issue a warning before using a Taser. "Police, stop or you will be hit with 50,000 volts of electricity!"

Dosanjh, the Liberal MP who chaired the parliamentary committee, was outraged by the removal of the two sentences. "The public safety minister has an obligation to call Mr. Elliott into his office and say, 'What are you doing? Why are you not levelling with Canadians?' " said Dosanjh. "'Why are you not levelling with the House of Commons committee that made recommendations?'"

He said the RCMP's upper echelons appear to be out of touch with Canadians' views on Taser use and the force is in need of an overhaul. "They don't understand the depth of the anger that Canadians feel about the Taser."

Some also fear such policy changes could serve to protect the RCMP in future cases of Taser-related deaths.

"It could weaken the case of a victim if indeed the policies of the RCMP are more permissible than they were at the time of Robert Dziekanski's death," said Don Rosenbloom, the lawyer representing the Polish government at the Braidwood inquiry.

RCMP trainer Gillis cited two studies for making the force's policy change: one examining police officers who received one five-second shock; and another paid for by Taser International on the effects of repeated stuns on breathing.

And Gillis insists that officers are hearing the message on how dangerous multiple stun-gun use can be during training.

In fact, three of the officers involved in the Dziekanski case were trained by Gillis three months before the death, but appeared unclear on the policy during testimony at the Braidwood inquiry.

Two of the officers, Millington and Const. Bill Bentley, couldn't recall why the policy on multiple Taser use was adopted.

And in fact, the study cited by Elliott to the parliamentary committee to defend the safety of Tasers, done by a U.S. government agency, the National Institute of Justice, questions multiple stun-gun use.

While it found stun-gun exposure is safe in most cases, it clearly stated that the risk of death following repeated or continuous Taser exposure is still unknown.

"Law enforcement should be aware that the associated risks are unknown. Therefore, caution is urged in using multiple activations of CED as a mean to accomplish subdual."

An analysis of RCMP stun gun reports by CBC and the Canadian Press found that 45 per cent of cases involved an officer firing the stun gun more than once.

As for deleting the verbal warning officers are to give suspects, Gillis said it was taken out due to accuracy.

Tasers don't conduct 50,000 volts of electricity, he says, noting that the weapon's electrical impact is measured in current, the rate of the flow of electrons, rather than voltage, the amount of force driving the flow.

Gillis said officers are generally trained to use appropriate warnings to de-escalate situations, even though the policy no longer requires it.

In Dziekanski's case, no warning was issued by Const. Kwesi Millington before the first of five stun-gun deployments.

For more on this story, watch The National Wednesday at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET/PT on CBC Newsworld and at 10 p.m. local time on CBC Television and 10:30 p.m. NT.

RCMP operational manual on conducted energy weapons (as amended Feb. 2, 2009)

RCMP operational manual on conducted energy weapons (cached version from before Feb. 2, 2009)

March 25, 2009
CBC News


This is to follow up on your request for an interview today with me and your subsequent telephone conversation with Supt. Tim Cogan. We understand you wanted to ask about your perception that there is a discrepancy between the RCMP’s revised policy on Conducted Energy Weapons and statements I made to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security (SECU) on February 12, 2009. Unfortunately I am not available to be interviewed.

In your conversation with Supt. Cogan, you referenced my opening remarks to SECU where I addressed the second recommendation of the Standing Committee’s June 2008 Report and indicated “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.”

I stand by this statement. It refers to the two aspects of the recommendation in question, relating to usage guidelines more broadly and multiple discharges.

The revised RCMP policy does restrict the use of CEWs. Section 3. 1. 1 of the revised Operational Manual (O.M.) states: “The CEW must only be used in accordance with CEW training, the principles of the Incident Management/Intervention Model (IM/IM) and in response to a threat to officer or public safety as determined by a member’s assessment of the totality of the circumstances being encountered. NOTE: Member’s actions must be reasonable and the force used must be necessary in the circumstances.”

With respect to the second aspect of the recommendation, RCMP policy includes a warning to Members that: “Multiple deployment or continuous cycling of the CEW may be hazardous to a subject.” (O.M. 3. 1. 3).

The new policy further provides that: “Acutely agitated or delirious persons may be at a high risk of death. If an individual is in an acutely agitated or delirious state, and whenever possible when responding to reports of violent individuals, request the assistance of emergency medical services. If possible bring medical assistance to the scene.” (O.M. 3. 1. 4)

The policy also directs members to make every effort to “take control of the subject as soon as possible following deployment of a CEW, and if possible during the CEW deployment”. The new policy also clearly states that “the CEW is not intended as a restraint device” (O.M. 3. 1. 5).

The statements I made to the Standing Committee are completely consistent with the policy.I trust this clarifies any misunderstanding you may have had about the RCMP’s revised CEW policy and my statements to the Standing Committee.

William Elliott

BC RCMP officer receives discipline hearing

March 25, 2009
100Mile Free Press

100 Mile RCMP detachment Const. Dan Cameron has been reprimanded, forced to forfeit four days pay and referred for professional counselling.

Cpl. Annie Linteau said Cameron had a discipline hearing where the finding of assault with a weapon was established.

Cameron had been charged with the offence after using a Taser on Kevin Campbell at Jake's Pub in 100 Mile House in December 2006.

In an August 2008 judgment, provincial court Judge Lynne Dollis found that Cameron had used his Taser correctly but had insufficient reason to arrest Campbell in the first place and he received a conditional discharge.

Board members at the RCMP discipline hearing in March 2009 expressed concern that Campbell was handcuffed when Cameron Tasered him and that Cameron is an instructor in the use of the weapon.

A very long, very strange trip indeed gets EVEN STRANGER



Taser expert backs ban on cops' private deals
December 12, 2007
Rob Shaw, Times Colonist

A Victoria police expert in Tasers, whose involvement with the company that manufactured the devices sparked a conflict-of-interest investigation, says he backs a department proposal to ban officers from doing personal business with weapons manufacturers. Sgt. Darren Laur, reacting to reports questioning his association with Taser International Inc., and its effect on subsequent reviews of the device, said he had the full support of the Victoria department to work with the company.

Still, he agrees that creating new guidelines, as the Victoria force plans to do, would help "separate perception and reality on these conflict-of-interest issues, because it can cloud the water," he said.Laur's involvement with Taser began in 1999, when the company paid him as the Victoria department's use-of-force expert to travel to Arizona to train as a master instructor. Rival company Tasertron had also paid him to travel to train in California in 1998. His training, and a 1999 report he wrote about the devices, made him Canada's foremost expert on Tasers. He is widely credited with introducing the devices to Canadian police, and the Victoria police became the first department to try, and then adopt, Tasers into regular use.Laur also runs his own company, Personal Protection Systems Inc., which Taser paid a total of $498.07 US to travel to Alaska and Oregon to teach Taser use in 2000. Laur's company, which he owns with his wife, went on to design a Taser holster. Taser International purchased the design for $5,076.25 US in stock in 2001. Laur cashed the stock in 2003, for an undisclosed amount.Each situation was approved by the serving police chief, said Laur. "I've always fully disclosed that, and I've always been very sensitive to the conflict-of-interest issues," he said yesterday.

Nonetheless, an internal review of Laur's ties to Taser said he had projected an "apparent and perceived conflict of interest."

The review, which concluded five months ago, was sparked by a a public complaint from Ontario resident Patti Gillman in 2005. Gillman's brother, Robert Bagnell, died in 2004 when Vancouver police hit him with a Taser during an altercation. After his death, Vancouver police asked their Victoria counterparts to conduct an independent review of Taser safety. Laur was appointed to the review panel, although he said he focused only on medical issues and not Taser use because of his ties to the manufacturer. The final report contained a disclosure of Laur's business with Taser. Gillman hired a lawyer and filed a complaint.

Victoria police Insp. Cory Bond's subsequent internal investigation concluded Laur was not technically in conflict because he fully disclosed his dealings with Taser, had sold his stock nine months before the report, and received department approval for all his actions. However, Bond also wrote there "remains a reasonable perception" that he "might have been affected by his prior financial interest in Taser." In retrospect, the department should not have put him on the review panel, she said. The B.C. Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner, which reviews internal investigations, agreed with her report.Despite the findings, acting police chief Bill Naughton said Laur has been "upfront and straightforward from the very get-go and I think suggestions he has been otherwise are incorrect."

Gillman said she is not pleased with the investigation. "I would like to see police and weapon manufacturers held at complete arms length from each other," she said yesterday.

As a result of the complaint, Victoria police have proposed a step towards such an arrangement.The department wants to ban officers from doing personal business with weapons manufacturers as part of a pending overhaul in its conflict-of-interest policies. Under the rules, officers who train with weapons companies as part of their duties would not be able to profit by creating a private business and becoming trainers for the weapons company.

Weapons companies often pay for officers to attend their own training seminars, hoping it will encourage a police force to buy their products, such as Tasers, bean-bag guns, incapacitating sprays or other items. It is a common, but largely unexamined, area of concern in North American policing, said Naughton.

"This is not a Victoria issue alone, this runs across Canada, and as far as I know we're the only agency across Canada trying to take a serious look at this issue," said Naughton.

The conflict-of-interest rules will also force Victoria officers to fully disclose the private businesses they run outside of policing, their stock holdings and any business ties that could be conflicts. The guidelines are being reviewed by department lawyers before becoming official policy, said Naughton.

Meanwhile, Laur said he thinks people are trying to put blame on his Taser reviews because of recent deaths that occurred after Tasers were used on suspects.


From http://www.excited-delirium.com/
Thursday, August 21, 2008

IPICD (Institute for the Prevention of Deaths in Custody), LAAW, Micheal Brave & "Excited Delirium"
IPICD (aka Institute for the Prevention of Deaths in Custody) is sponsored by LAAW.LAAW is basically lawyer Micheal Brave. Mr. Brave has registered at least two Internet domain names with 'excited delirium' in the URL. These domain names are redirected to point to IPICD. And thus the circle is complete:...IPICD <> LAAW = lawyer Brave <> "Excited Delirium" URLs <> IPICD...So, what does this have to do with Taser?Taser's chief litigation lawyer is (or was?) a certain lawyer named Mr. Micheal Brave, Esq. etc. You're either in on it, or you're being played like a trumpet.

It should also be noted here that Michael Brave is also the whois owner of the Electronic Control Devices: Legal Resources website.


From the Toronto Star
February 13, 2009

"The Mounties have also dropped the term "excited delirium" – a phrase that had no medical foundation, and was criticized earlier by the Commons committee, the RCMP's public complaints commissioner, independent consultants and civil liberty groups."


Taser's Delirium Defense
How lawyers used junk science to explain away stun-gun deaths.

From Mother Jones
March/April 2009

I highly recommend you read the entire article by clicking on the above link.

"… But the company [Taser International] is remarkably tight with America's foremost ED training and advocacy business. The Institute for the Prevention of In-Custody Deaths (ipicd) was cofounded by police trainer John Peters and an old acquaintance, Michael Brave, Taser's national litigation counsel ...

... In 2005, Peters filed corporate papers for the ipicd listing himself and Brave as the founding directors. Within six months, the institute was leading eight-hour sessions at Taser's Scottsdale, Arizona, compound, teaching cops to recognize ED and often touting Tasers as the most effective tool for subduing agitated individuals. In the first two years, Brave estimated in a deposition, Taser paid $70,000 to $80,000 for the sessions. To date, Peters says, the ipicd has certified some 10,000 officers worldwide as in-custody death prevention instructors.

Taser also pays the way for Peters and ipicd instructor David Berman to speak at outside conferences, directs business Peters' way, and helps plug the ipicd's annual conference in Las Vegas, where past presenters have included Taser-backed researchers and employees. A flyer for last October's three-day shindig, which drew 250 attendees, promised the "historic" opportunity to help form a "general consensus about excited delirium that will then be published in leading medical, legal, and law enforcement journals." As an expert witness for Taser, Peters charges $5,000 plus $2,750 per day; in 2007, he was paid about $42,000.

Peters sees nothing inappropriate about his Taser connections. "We are not aligned with them at all," he says, although "we did not distinguish ourselves enough" at the start. (Brave, now listed as an inactive director, says he remains a legal adviser at ipicd.) In any case, the institute will continue in its quest to entrench ED as a medical and psychological diagnosis, Peters says, "to quiet these folks" who don't believe it exists.

These folks include Heston attorney John Burton, who, not surprisingly, finds the ipicd/Taser bond problematic. "These guys want to help the police stop killing people, and they're trying to build a liability defense for when they do," he says. "The two things are in direct conflict." "


First Annual Excited Delirium Conference

Canadian Centre for the Prevention of In-Custody Deaths, Inc.


A few of the speakers at the conference:

DR. JOHN PETERS JR., PHD.INSTITUTE FOR THE PREVENTION OF IN-CUSTODY DEATHS, INC. (see Mother Jones above) (see also, from February 2007, the two-part National Public Radio investigative report here: Part I - Death by Excited Delirium: Diagnosis or Coverup? and Part II - Tasers Implicated in Excited Delirium Deaths)
Chris Lawrence, a trainer with the Ontario Police College (Canadian excited delirium "expert" and coroner's inquest witness)
Dr. Christine Hall, big-time taser fan and Canadian excited/agitated delirium proponent, employed by "Vancouver Island Research", has an e-mail address at the Canadian Police Research Centre as follows: chris.hall@cprc.org - see Public risk from tasers: Unacceptably high or low enough to accept? (Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine, January 2009) and "expert" witness at MANY Canadian coroner's inquests, including that of my brother Robert Bagnell.

The Canadian Centre is proud to be hosting its First Annual Excited Delirium Conference. "Are You Prepared?" brings together North America's preeminent leaders on this topic. This 2 day conference will provide those in attendance, regardless of their knowledge base, a greater understanding of what is required when faced with a potentially deadly situation. From first contact by police, fire and EMS requirements, this conference will prepare those emergency services with the ability to recognize and act accordingly. Not only will this conference educate the "first responders," it is designed to inform the Emergency Physicians on best practices based on solid research and scientific findings. The goal of our conference is to simply promote teamwork and early recogition of a medical emergency which has manifested itself into a difficult and rapidly deteriorating situation.


Canadian Centre for the Prevention of In-Custody Deaths, Inc.

The Canadian Centre for the Prevention of In-Custody Deaths, Inc. is a new company founded by president Gary Mulder. Gary brings with him a wealth of knowledge, experience and a long list of contacts known throughout North America for sudden, "In-Custody Deaths" including those described as "Excited Delirium." A current and sworn Ontario police officer in his 18th year, Gary is currently a certified Use of Force Instructor with a foundation in Tactics and Rescue. As a trainer for the past seven years, Gary has attended numerous training courses and has organized several successful conferences on the topic of Excited Delirium, as well as other police related topics.

My goal is to provide transparent, unbiased information and education to any relevant stakeholder so that they might be able to make informed decisions in critical situations while they protect everyone involved.

To Provide Honest, Ethical and Factual Information.


A search for this incorporated "Canadian" centre at Industry Canada and Sedar returned no results for this "Canadian Centre for the Prevention of In-Custody Deaths Inc."

A whois search for the company's website http://www.ccpicd.com/ did return the following:

Domain Name : ccpicd.com
Registrant:Canadian Centre for the Prevention of In-Custody Deaths Inc.627 Arkell RoadRR#2Guelph, ON N1H6H8CADomain name: CCPICD.COMAdministrative Contact:Mulder, Gary 627 Arkell RoadRR#2Guelph, ON N1H6H8CA519.241.6080Technical Contact:Administrator, DNS 5915 Airport RoadSuite 1100Mississauga, ON L4V 1T1CA+1.8008530954 Fax: +1.8009799587Registrar of Record: TUCOWS, INC.Record last updated on 12-Mar-2009.Record expires on 05-Dec-2009.Record created on 05-Dec-2008.Registrar Domain Name Help Center:http://domainhelp.tucows.comDomain servers in listed order:ns2.officelive.comns1.officelive.com