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July 2, 2008

Another Police Induced Taser Death in Canada

It seems that the lesson is not being learned. Taser guns can and do kill people. So why do Canadian police forces from coast to coast continue to use the darn things? Another man has died after being Tasered.

Ontario Provincial Police were called out on a disturbance call in Norfolk County, Ontario. Jeffery Mark Marreel was allegedly combative and needed to be subdued and a Taser was used on him. Marreel was taken into custody where he collapsed. He was pronounced dead at Norfolk General Hospital.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced recently that they would restrict Taser use because of the rash of deaths that have resulted from their usage. A few months ago a Polish immigrant died after being Tasered in a British Columbia airport. The thing about Taser use is that it is usually done on people that are unarmed. So that begs that question, are Tasers used as a quick fix on people that do not pose much of a threat. Could these people that are Tasered be subdued without the Taser guns?

The usage of Taser guns is relatively new in Canada. The Royal Mounted Police started using Tasers in 1999. They were implemented as non lethal devices that could be used to subdue violent people. A temporary stunning of the individual is supposed to cause some pain but because it allegedly last only a few seconds, Tasers were believed to be safe. However, Amnesty International claims that 280 people have died in the U.S and 20 people have died in Canada from Taser guns.

Taser guns are marketed as non lethal devices that cause a short term jolt that shocks the recipient. These stun guns are made in Arizona by Taser International and are conductive energy devices. They have lived up to their name for the most part but it seems like a large percentage of the individuals they have Tasers used on them die.

Even though Tasers are supposed to be safe, there is a possibility that they are not safe in certain situations. Maybe the victims that die from them have medical issues that make them unable to receive a Taser jolt without dying. It seems to me that anytime the human body is given a jolt there is a chance that it will shut down.

There is some reason to believe that those that have heart conditions, have abused drugs or have other issues that might weaken their heart, may die from Tasers. Of course, when police go to a potential crime scene they don’t have a bio of the suspect. They can’t know if the person is a drug user or has a heart problem. That is why I don’t understand how Taser guns ca be used and be considered safe for police work.

Excited Delirium is the state in which the individual is in a highly agitated state. Their heart is pounding very fast and the jolt from the Taser either stops or speeds up their heart to the point of death.

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