The review will examine Taser practices of
authorized users in the province, including law
enforcement, prison staff and sheriffs.
Halifax Regional Police Deputy Chief Tony
Burbridge said the man was hit one or two times
with a Taser after a "violent" struggle with two
police officers and a booking officer at the
Central N.S. Correctional Facility in Dartmouth,
The man had been arrested on an assault
charge and was being booked into custody when he
struggled with the officers and jumped a
He was shot with a Taser in the thigh, but
fled the building and was subdued after a second
violent struggle, Burbridge said.
"But then he went into medical distress, was
taken to hospital where he was cleared and
released to police and sent to jail yesterday
(Wednesday)," Burbridge said.
He died at the jail some 30 hours after the
Taser was used on him.
Police said the man had been shot with a
Taser once before in 2005.
Burbridge said Wednesday's incident was
filmed and that the video has been handed over
to the RCMP as part of their investigation.
Burbridge said it was "premature" to say if
the Taser was linked to the man's death.
And he said every medical report he has seen
on deaths following a Taser incident has shown
no factual evidence to link the deaths to the
police use of Tasers.
There were reports the man might have been
involved in a separate incident after the Taser
incident that might have played a role in his
Burbridge disputed the reports. He said
police have no knowledge of a second incident.
He said police were justified in using the
Taser because of the difficulty in restraining
He said mace was not an option indoors where
it would have affected the officer wielding it
as well as the man.
Police officers gave the man first aid at the
scene before ambulance attendants arrived.
John Tackaberry, a spokesman with Amnesty
International, called the incident "disturbing"
because it occurred while the man was in
Tackaberry said Amnesty had already raised
"serious concerns," in a report about the use of
Tasers in facilities "when people are already in
custody and being restrained."
Besides the RCMP, the province's chief
medical officer is also investigating the death.
Last Tuesday, the Nova Scotia justice
minister issued a statement saying that his
department was reinforcing with people who use
Tasers on the job the need to be "aware of
policies and procedures.
"We have highly trained and skilled law
enforcement, correctional workers and sheriffs
in our justice system," Clarke said. "However,
given recent events, we are asking that all
those authorized to use Tasers review the
policies and procedures for safe and proper
The incident is the latest in a series of
Taser incidents in recent weeks.
Criticism has been mounting over the use of
Tasers by police since the death of Robert
Dziekanski on Oct. 14 at Vancouver International
Airport. Dziekanski, 40, had been in a secure
area of the airport for 10 hours before being
hit twice by RCMP officers with a Taser after he
became agitated. He died a short time later.
Video of the event, which was filmed by a
bystander, has been seen around the world.
The high-profile case of the Polish immigrant
has prompted several investigations including a
review called by Public Safety Minister
Stockwell Day on the use of Tasers by the RCMP.
The assessment is expected by Dec. 12. A report
by the Canada Border Services Agency should also
be delivered within days that will explain its
role in the Dziekanski incident.
The man conducting the independent review of
Tasers for Day says one option may be allowing
only senior police officers to use the weapons.
Paul Kennedy, the RCMP's public complaints
commissioner, said Wednesday he will look at
jurisdictions where police officers who have a
rank of sergeant or higher are the only ones
allowed to use the Taser.
B.C. RCMP shocked a patient with a Taser at a
Prince George hospital last week. Meanwhile, a
Chilliwack man was in hospital this week after
being subdued by police with a variety of
weapons, including Tasers.
Amnesty International considers 17 people to
have died in Canada since 2001 after the use of
stun-guns by police. Today's case and that of
Claudio Castagnetta, 32, who died in Quebec City
on Sept. 20 two days after being Tasered, are
also being reviewed.
Taser guns use two barbed darts to deliver a
jolt of up to 50,000 volts. They are intended to
temporarily paralyze someone by causing muscles
to contract uncontrollably.
Taser related deaths in Canada
Robert Dziekanski, 40, in the Vancouver
Airport in October.
Quilem Registre, 39, in Montreal after being
stopped by police on suspicion of drunk driving,
also in October.
Jason Dean, 28 in Red Deer while running from
police in August.
Alesandro Fiacco, 33 in Edmonton, arrested
while wandering into traffic in December.
James Foldi, 39, of Beamsville, Ont. while
being arrested for breaking and entering in
Paul Sheldon Saulnier, 42, while being
restrained by police in Digby N.S. in July.
Gurmeet Sandhu, 41, of Surrey B.C., while
being restrained during a domestic dispute in
Kevin Geldart, 34, in Moncton, N.B. in May
during an altercation with police in a bar.
Samuel Truscott, 43, of Kingston, Ont. was
tasered by police during arrest. His death was
ruled a drug overdose.
Jerry Knight, 29, a semi-pro boxer was
tasered by police at a Mississauga motel in July
after complaints he had become violent.
Robert Bagnell, 54, while in custody of the
Vancouver police in June. He had cocaine in his
Peter Lamonday, 33, while being restrained by
police in London, Ont. in May.
Roman Andreichikov, 25, high on cocaine and
being restrained by Vancouver police also in
Perry Ronald, 28, while being restrained by
Edmonton police after jumping from a window in
Clark Whitehouse, 34, tried to flee the
Whitehorse RCMP after being stopped in traffic
Clayton Alvin Willey, 33, of Prince George
was also high on cocaine when tasered by police
while trespassing in July.
Terry Hanna, 51, was tasered by Burnaby RCMP
in April during a break and enter. Cocaine was
Compiled by Kirsten Smith
© CanWest News Service 2007