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.