Ride For Free - Get Tasered: Vancouver Transit
According to the Globe and Mail, Vancouver Metro Transit officials feel it is within their guidelines to taser riders who refuse to pay for public transportation: in 18 months, the taser was used 10 times. As Murray Mollard, rep. of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association said, "Do we really need police officers with guns and tasers using them in the context of fare evasion? I don't think so. This really is very hard to believe." What do you think?
An internal review of the incident concluded that the action taken by transit police officers complied with the force's policy and was within guidelines "set out in the National Use of Force Model," the report said.
"I think it's absolutely uncalled for, absolutely reprehensible, and the police should not be doing that," federal Liberal public safety critic Ujjal Dosanjh said in Ottawa yesterday.
On the face of it, the use of tasers by transit police here is far outside guidelines that say they should be used only if someone is suicidal, violent or about to injure himself or someone else, Mr. Dosanjh said.
"Their current use is absolutely inappropriate," he said, adding that the latest revelations, coming after a storm of recent controversy over taser use by regular police forces across the country, have brought him close to calling for a moratorium on the powerful stun guns.
"This is the kind of example that would lead people like me, who have so far resisted asking for a moratorium, to actually call for that," he said.
Murray Mollard of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, which supports a moratorium, said he was shocked by the news of transit passengers being tasered.
"To apply a taser on someone fleeing the scene while trying to evade a fine is, quite frankly, an outrageous abuse of this weapon," Mr. Mollard said.
Yesterday, the head of the RCMP admitted the police force did not do a good job making information public about taser use, and vowed that changes will be made.
"Frankly we did not handle this matter very well," Commissioner William Elliott told the Canadian Club of Ottawa. "We should not have needed two kicks at the can. We must learn from that and do better."
The taser controversy will be in the spotlight again today - the mother of Robert Dziekanski, the Polish immigrant who died after being tasered by the RCMP last year at Vancouver International Airport, is expected to testify before a parliamentary committee in Ottawa.