Taser Talk – Too Many Questions, Not Enough Answers.

Here we are, 6 months after the taser- related death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski, and still no answers.


In fact, more questions have arisen regarding the safety of the newest weapon in police officers arsenals, with little resolution on any. Most disturbing- although not surprising- is the continued defense of the safety of the questionable weapon by creator and manufacturer, Taser International. Of course, do they have any other alternative? No. At this point, any admission of any kind of failure to ensure complete and appropriate taser testing would probably result in a class-action lawsuit.

Enough already.The last straw for me was seeing a TV report investigating irregularities in the amount of electricity a taser discharge contained. To be more precise, the report highlighted the fact the every single discharge was different, with an extremely wide variance in electrical charge- some discharges clearly and vastly exceeding the stated discharge amount. 

As if that weren’t bad enough, there is no way for an officer to determine if his taser is working properly, or discharging the “appropriate” electrical charge.  Sounds like a liability to me.

Can you imagine ? Maybe it shoots the right charge once, but four times the proper amount on the next use.  No consistency, no testing method for the officer in charge of the weapon, and therefore, a complete wild card in my eyes. The admission that there is absolutely no way for an officer to know how much electricity will be discharged when he or she uses that weapon, opens the door for all sorts of  new legal liabilities within law enforcement.

Would the public stand for police handguns that unpredictable? What if there was no way to tell if an officers gun was working properly or not, if it might backfire, or release more than one bullet with each pull of the trigger? Do you really think that would be acceptable?

Pull tasers from all police, security and private use , in Canada, until we have some absolutes – some REAL guidelines, more regulated and independent testing, and development of after-market product safety and consistency testing. Right now , there are still too many questions and not enough answers or solutions, and to me , that’s completely unacceptable.

RCMP “Horribly Broken”- Must Change.

Much to the chagrin of some I know, whose opinons are that the RCMP is a steadfast, honourable institution, with no, or little corruption, protection for whistleblowers etc…….. it appears that whistleblowers who did come forward to report wrongdoing, were in fact , punished for doing so. Cover-ups continued, mis-management  at every level, and scandal- over fabricated testimony –  these are the core elements of the RCMP that need to be torn apart and built again.


The task force, headed under Toronto lawyer David Brown, had been asked by the federal government to look into the structure and dealings of the RCMP. Their  objective? To determine the numerous fault’s within the organization and  the best action to repair the obviously ineffective and ” horribly broken” institution.

It is now recommended that the RCMP be split from the feds, and run under  the managment of a civilian board of directors.

 Yet another major recommendation is that a new independant commission be created to take the place of the two that already investigate and report on the RCMP’s complaints, but with enforcement power on findings.

    ” The new committee would hear complaints from RCMP members and the public, but it would also launch its own investigations and have the power to summon witnesses and compel testimony. Its findings would be made public and its rulings on discipline and grievance issues would be binding”

 Its obvious changes have needed for many years, and just now are we coming to resolution on the matters within the RCMP. Implementation will take time, and I have a feeling that there may be resistance within some levels who adhere to the brotherhood mentality that remains within the insititution.

Of course, the other major news for ” BAD NEWS FRIDAY” ( it is known that people have two days over the weekend to forget the”bad”  news released on a Friday, so if its something that they dont want a lot of discussion on ,thats when they release it- likewise, if its a good report, or the goverment wants some buzz about it, they hold the news until Monday, os people have all week to talk about it. )  – were the changes to taser usage by the RCMP, which to me, are merely a  token offering to soothe the public outcry regarding the weapon. The idea is that they will only be used when people are clearly combative and actively resisting arrest, as well as threatening grievous bodily harm, rather than whenever they feel like it.

Problem is, those terms are subjective to the individual holding that taser, and the commissioner will not share with the public how those terms are defined by the RCMP. Does holding your hand in the air mean you are combative? If you laugh at the cops, is that combative, or resisting arrest? You get the idea.  So, unless we see a little more definition on it, I expect we will still see the tasers around and in use.

A larger deterrent to inappropriate policing is the increasing event of the public taping police interactions with their own recording devices. Perhaps if the cops think their actions might be caught on tape more frequently, as they are, it will reduce the times when inappropriate actions are taken. The reports that have currently been released show that even the RCMP is not immune to corruption and abuse, and its about time the steps were taken to ensure both pubic safety and confidence, along with accountibility.

I’m Laila Yuile, and this is how I see it.

RCMP Watchdog Calling for Force to Restrict it’s Use of Tasers

 Surprise, surprise.

 The Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP released an interim report today, that criticizes the force for “failing to manage the use of tasers and allowing usage to grow in the past six years, to include cases where people were clearly non-combative.” My interpretation? SOME officers are jumping the gun, and taking the easiest way to end a situation where, and when, it is NOT called for. Read : Lazy.

The report stops short of a moratorium, but goes on to recommend that the RCMP needs to limit its use of the taser, increase training for officers and conduct more research on the weapon’s effects. It is suggested that the weapon be re-classified from an “intermediate” tool such as pepper spray or a baton, to an “impact” weapon- meaning that it should only be used when there is “the threat of death or grievous bodily harm to officers or the public.”


Not one report has been done on the RCMP’s use of the taser since 2001, and the weapon has been used more than 3000 times.

Clearly, Robert Dziekanski was NOT threatening death OR grievous bodily harm to either the officers, or the public. 

This report, although satisfying to me in its content, will likely mean nothing in the end. Although the Commission investigates complaints against the RCMP, and makes recommendations, it is completely powerless to enforce  those changes.  Stockwell Day, Public Safety Minister, will not comment until the government reviews the report.

So why bother? What good is an agency that is powerless to make changes in and of itself?  Does it make us feel better when the RCMP refuses to implement its recommendations, such as in the Ian Bush case? Or does it just further erode what confidence we have left in what used to be construed as one of the most honourable of Canadian callings?

I’m Laila Yuile, and this is, how I see it.

” BC Sergeant who championed tasers use in Canada had stock options in US Taser manufacturer”

 Here is an interesting article from the Globe & Mail, telling the story of veteren police officer Darren Laur, the Victoria Sgt. who initiated the use of taser in the first detachment in Canada.

A subsequent research paper he wrote – which concluded that tasers were safe and effective – laid the groundwork for the devices’ spread to police departments across the country. There are questions surrounding Laur’s motives and actions during that time period, as  it is revealed he owned stock options in US taser manufacturer, Taser International.


Read, and let me know what you make of the story. Was he financially motivated? Do you feel this is conflict of interest?  Does it change how or what you think of taser use by the RCMP – or not? One thing that always, always , raises an eyebrow with me, is an undisclosed financial relationship in which the monetary benefit is clear.  One must then question the credibility of the  words and actions conveyed by the person in question.  See my previous post on conflict of interest in the archives.

YVR improvements in Wake of the Death of Robert Dziekanski

Improvements will be made at YVR, in the wake of Robert Dziekanski’s death. Released at the Fairmont Richmond today, the changes may ensure  travellers and new immigrants will have an easier time negotiating their arrival at YVR.


Also released were some new details regarding Dziekanski’s demeanor upon arrival.  Some think the changes are long overdue, and may have prevented his death had they been already in place – what do you think?

” Tasers safer than Tylenol”

Here’s an interesting article I read this morning in the Health News section of www.cbc.ca , regarding the safety of tasers.  Read it yourself, and you might find it  as laughable as I did. Although the fellow in question claims to have no bias regarding tasers , he is getting paid as a consultant by the company.  Perhaps law enforcement officials should start using Tylenol in their arsenals… 


Open Mouth, firmly insert foot, Corporal Dale Carr

That is exactly what Corporal Dale Carr seemed to be doing last night , in an on air-interview with a reporter from Vancouver CTV 6 0’clock news. ( I am trying to locate a working link to the clip, however the CTV news archive player is not working- email me if you have a link) Carr was trying to address how the public has a perception that the officers were standing there doing nothing, no CPR etc, when in fact, he says, they were doing continuous monitering and Robert Dziekanski was alive when medical help arrived.

Not so, says the reporter, according to internal security radio broadcast transcriptions obtained from YVR, that Dale Carr obviously had not seen yet. The security radio transcripts tell another tale, one of a man with no pulse, no respiration, and a different version of the timeline the RCMP are giving, of what occurred after Dziekanski went down . Gone immediately was Mr. Carr’s professional demeanor and he was immediately on the defensive. Whose notes were those, and how could they have know what the officers were or were not doing considering they werent there? Blah, blah, blah. He cannot understand how they were accurate, he would like to see them etc…

And so on. But the damage was done.

He was caught off guard by the CTV Vancouver reporter who had information he did not, and it made him look bad- really bad. He really needs to learn when to just shut his mouth and say no comment. Really.

But it gets worse.

Richmond fire dept arrived on scene , and they say Dziekanski was dead when they arrived, and that the officers even refused to take his handcuffs off for further assessment, as they still considered him a threat. ( ????)


 It just keeps getting worse for these cops. I watched the video again, and yes, I will say that it looks like they checked his pulse maybe once or twice, but ” continuous monitering”? I don’t see it.

This is all about damage control, and not about justice and answers. The RCMP cannot quash all the evidence, all the time, and thank god there are reporters who think of things like getting  security radio transcripts before the RCMP get them- because you can bet the public would never have even heard about them. Thank god the Richmond Fire Rescue is speaking up that he was in fact dead when they arrived, not alive as the RCMP are claiming.

I was brought to uncontrollable tears again today as I watched the video , and this morning as I write this, I am filled with both abject sadness and anger at Robert Dziekanski’s death. At the RCMP’s response. At the injustice’s that are, in fact, occurring behind the scenes, behind closed doors as you read this- and you and I both know it’s happening. I would like to believe the truth will prevail, but the cynical side of me tells me I’m dreaming. What do you think about what is going on now? How do you feel about all of the investigations?

I wish there was something I could do to change it all.

I’m Laila Yuile, and this is how I see it.

RCMP Witch Hunt , or Fact-Finding Mission?

The Globe and Mail reports that in the interest of a fair and unbiased investigation, the RCMP has a trip to Poland in the works. Apparently, they wish to find out more about Robert Dziekanksi’s last days , his medical history and anything else that could give them some assistance in justifying their actions leading to his death.


That’s my take on it. They are looking for something, anything, that will allow investigators to come back and proclaim ” See?! This man was unstable, had this history….. and we were right in our actions!” It is a witch hunt, pure and simple.

Let us hope that the investigators co-operate with Polish officials who plan to come here and investigate, and give them details of the 4 RCMP officers involved. What were their service records like? How many times had they used the taser? What was the history of their weapons use? How long had they been RCMP? You get the idea.

I know of veteran RCMP officers who have never in all their years of service, had ever had to discharge a weapon – any weapon.

 4 officers facing 1 man. One man!

 I believe that this could have, should have, been handled differently. How could 4 strong men not have taken this guy down without that taser – and – without killing him?

As for the autopsy and other tests giving no indicator of how he died, I find that very hard to believe. Asphyxiation? No trauma to his esophagus or neck? No evidence of a compression of his airway leading to death? No, nothing it appears, the medical examiner is totally clueless. Robert Dziekanksi just died it appears, and all the medical science and investigation we have at our disposal today cant tell us why.

Forgive me if I seem disbelieving, but isnt the RCMP still investigating itself ? Remember the death of  Ian Bush and how that investigation and autopsy were handled? Remember the details and results of the inquest?


Although the new report  released today finds no fault with the RCMP officer in question, the public remains unconvinced. Check out this link for today’s report.


Enough said.

 There will always be corruption and self -preservation among those in law enforcement- it’s been substantiated many times. The fault is not just within the RCMP , but within the entire Canadian justice system, the Attorney-General, the Solicitor General, and the lack of legislation governing crimes within these internal organizations.  Police investigating police will never result in charges against officers who do wrong, and the sooner this aspect changes , the sooner public confidence will be restored.

I’m Laila Yuile, and this is how I see it.

A Canadian made automobile that cant be sold in Canada and no one seems to know about…and other amusing items

Rick Mercer had an interesting feature on the show this week, the ZENN car. That’s right, a Zero-Emission, No Noise car ( hence the name ZENN) that is fully battery operated and can be plugged into any electric outlet to recharge. It runs at a cost of pennies per mile, and  is fully made in Canada, and yes, it gets better, it costs around $12,000.00!!

It sounds too good to be true! A Canadian made car, with zero emissions, no-noise? Why, if everyone in large metro areas started driving these, we could make the Kyoto accord in no time……. but wait, I’m up on current events, I like to think I’m environmentally savvy – so why haven’t haven’t I heard or seen anything in the news about these cars?

Oh, that great old Canadian government again. Up until just recently, the car wasn’t considered to be street-legal in Canada, and the market has been in the US and over seas.  It seems the Canadian government needed to take its time allowing such a clearly needed and amazing vehicle on the roads. Now the Federal stumbling block has been removed, it is still going to be quite a while before you see these cars zooming along with NO NOISE in metro areas, because BC is the only province in which they will be allowed to be sold. Each province makes it’s own regulations regarding the use and sale of non- standard vehicles, and so far, the rest of the country hasn’t addressed it…..sad , but true.

I love this car, and I’d love to see more of them around – it’s perfect for those in the city, zipping around taking the kids to school, running errands, and for those who drive a lot in the city for work related duties.  See for yourself at http://zenncars.com/

Another item to shake your head at : The Surrey Leader front pager this week is about a Surrey man whose plan to get some deals and  go shopping for the day across the border was thwarted by US Border guards. Martin Rooney heads to the US all the time to visit friends and shop without hassle, but this past week a border agent asked him what he did for a living. He replied he was on a disability. “What’s the disability?” he was asked, and Martin replied it was because he had HIV. He was then told he needed  a waiver to enter the US, as the US does not allow those with “a communicable disease of public health significance ”  into the country without a waiver stating they are allowed to do so, authorized by US immigration officials.

It gets better. He was then given an” orange card”, told to park his car, and was subjected to three hours of questioning, fingerprinting, and having his name run through the FBI database. What the FFFFF?????

He will not be allowed to return to the United States without the waiver – even for a day.

What do the Americans think this guy is going to do – try and stay in the US for their oh-so superior medical care? Hes visiting friends and shopping, not immigrating for pete’s sake. GET A GRIP. Maybe we should make Americans get waivers to enter Canada just based on the stupidity of their government.

And finally, let’s talk about the laughable responses coming out of the BC government regarding the tasering death of Robert Dziekanski.

We’ve had a John Les Flip-flop, and some are taking bets as to when the next waffle will occur, good old Gordo apologising more than a month after the fellow died,in a sudden fit of sorrow and  remorse (Ha!) and a host of other insincere, “oh shit, we better make this look better or we’ll all  lose at the popularity polls and get voted out” crap. The RCMP are even trying to recoup a little by saying that IF they find there is not enough research to clearly show the safety of the device, they would welcome a moratorium. Hmmmm, that would explain why even more Tasers were purchased right around the time of the death. 

The RCMP  as an organizational whole ,cant even agree country wide among themselves on what to do – in Newfoundland the use of the taser has been suspended pending further research. So why are the RCMP saying out West here, that they are safe and an indispensible  device for officers? Are cops getting lazy?

The general public is smart enough to see that the government and the RCMP are out to protect their own interests, and their spot in the popularity polls – its never about making things “right” unless its going to threaten their place in office. I will respect a politician much more when they  stick to their guns, right OR wrong, rather than one who says one thing one day, then flips as soon as he/she gets criticised.

Does anyone in politics really have a firm opinion on anything currently? Can they truly speak their mind?

No explanation has come from Canada Border Services/Immigration, or the Airport. A polish speaking man has been fired following questions as to why he wasn’t called to translate, since he was working at the time of the incident. Firefighters are questioning why they weren’t called – and after all this, we find out today there was a defibrillator a mere 20 seconds away,at the top of the escalator, and that someone on staff had been trained how to use it. Nice.

This man was killed, and the officers on duty at the scene bungled up big. BIG. Sounds to me like they wanted him to die, or why wouldn’t they have performed CPR, or  called SOMEONE for help – immediately?

It’s hard to have faith in the government, in our RCMP, and in authority in general when the response to an obvious mistake is to deny deny deny , cover it up, and don’t ask- don’t tell.  It’s time  we all learned a lesson about responsibility and owning up to our mistakes – the government and its agencies in particular.

I’m Laila Yuile, and this is how I see it.

Taser use worldwide controversial at best

I’m embarressed.
I’m embarressed by the RCMP’s handling of this entire Robert Dziekanski fiasco, and although I wish one could offer reassurances to visitors from around the world that this isnt indicative of what to expect, I can’t.
My faith is in the RCMP is tenuous, at best. Not because the 4 officers failed to handle the situation correctly, but because of the political spin now being spit out by RCMP media reps. They should have immediately come out and admitted the officers jumped the gun, and that a different course of action should have been taken – as if THAT would ever happen. They should have handed it over to another force to investigate, to at least attempt to make it look fair and impartial. They instead, make it seem like we, the public, dont understand what was shown on that video, as if there was something else going on there that we could not see.

Whats next from the old RCMP spin machine – he had weapons of mass destruction in his pocket? He was sending them telepathic threats?

The media reps for the RCMP, and those within the RCMP handling the investigation, have done -and are continuing to do – a great disservice to their own members. The ones who do their job well, and with pride ; the officers who go out daily to keep us safe, and sometimes lose their lives in the process of doing so. They are the ones who will suffer the lack of respect and trust from the general public based on their superiors response and handling of the questions surrounding Roberts Dziekanski’s death.

And this does not exclude the airports part in this series of errors. Why wasnt airport medical staff called? Why did he remain in that area un-noticed for so long? Where was a translator, or signage in different languages ? How many other visitors with no english skills have had difficulty, but perhaps luckily found their way around?

Up until this, my knowledge of tasers was really very small, so I’ve done a little fact finding.

Taser use seems to have originated- surprise, surprise- in the United States. In fact, Taser International , the biggest producer of tasers, is an American company.
Because tasers aren’t considered firearms, there are no government regulations to control and govern their use in most countries.
Although extensively used in the US by police forces, some forces have recented halted use due to concerns of deaths following Taser use, until further studies are done.

According to Arizona-based Taser International’s website :

“A Taser temporarily immobilizes a person by using pulsing electricity to over-stimulate the nervous system, which locks up muscles while the current is flowing.

The guns shoot two fishhook-like electric darts about 25 feet. Each time the trigger is pulled, the darts deliver a 50,000-volt jolt for 5 full seconds. The triggers can be activated as many times as needed for the life of the gun’s battery.

Following each 5-second jolt, people who are shocked generally regain all muscle control.

Tasers can also be used like cattle prods, but the effect is more isolated and less painful.”

Well, it all sounds so….. barbaric. There can be a time and a place for this weapon, and it has been used effectively thousands of times.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police says Tasers are effective if used properly but that more studies are needed.

The group’s Taser policy urges officers to use it only to subdue suspects who are violent or about to injure someone; not to use it on a handcuffed person unless he is “overtly assaultive”; to use it the least number of times; and to seek medical attention for anyone who has been shocked. So, in the right situation, it can be an approriate tool.

The problem is, there have been no real concrete studies on how the device affects people with heart conditions, and most deaths due to tasering have been in those individuals that had some medical conditions. Taser International does not seem to have done studies on those with medical conditions, or those who are taking medications or recreational drugs – only healthy individuals were tested.

People who take stimulant drugs, have heart conditions or are highly agitated because of psychological problems are already more likely to die from heart problems – so a Taser’s effect on these people is more likely to have a fatal result.

And what about pregnant women, or minors? Can tasering cause a miscarriage or fetal death? Can minors or smaller individuals handle the electrical shock? What about elderly people?

There seem to be more questions than answers, and with no concrete information, taser use by the police should be suspended,and reviewed, until federal authorities can determine the safety and usage of the device. An immediate halt to usage, pending further studies and regulations.

We, as Canadian’s, need to speak up, and speak loudly, and demand accountibility.

Enough is enough.

 Stockwell Day refuses to call for a national review? Well, Stockwell Day, you represent the people, or did you forget?  Do not forget that we, the people, elected the politicians in, that you are in public positions of trust, and as such, must respond to public consideration when it is demanded of you..  And we, the people,  can speak loudly at the polls – and our memories are long when it comes to bad politics….

I am asking everyone who read this to let the world know that we  Canadians find this situation with tasers and the RCMP deplorable. Canada is still a democracy, last time I checked. Contact your local MLA, your MP, your mayor. Put it in writing. 

Take a stand for someone who can no longer do so- Robert Dzienkanski .

 Someone needs to set a standard here, to prevent deaths like Robert Dziekankski’s from happening again.

I’m Laila Yuile, and this is how I see it.