One third of people shot by Tasers need medical attention: media probe
About one in three people shot with a Taser by the RCMP receive injuries that require medical attention, according to a joint investigation by CBC News/Radio-Canada and the Canadian Press.
The media outlets, which analyzed the Taser-use forms RCMP officers are required to fill out if they draw a stun gun, examined reports from 2002 to 2007. According to the data, 28 per cent, or 910 of the 3,226 people who were shot, had to go to a medical facility.
But a detailed examination of the forms revealed that many more people are injured, yet never see a doctor.
In three years worth of reports obtained under Access to Information legislation, people suffered injuries including burns, puncture wounds from the probes, and head wounds from falling. In many cases, however, the person was not taken for medical treatment.
More recent forms had the sections on injuries blacked out. The investigation suggests some of those incidents resulted in injuries that are not included in the 28 per cent figure.
The Canadian Police Association stands by stun gun use. President Tony Cannavino said the association would like to see every police officer in Canada armed with a Taser and that there is enough evidence to show that Tasers save lives.
"They have to get the proper training, and also not only the proper training, there should be consistency across Canada about the training and the fact that they should also be requalified every two years."
The CBC investigation into Taser use has also found that RCMP officers are likely to fire their electronic stun guns multiple times during an altercation, despite a policy that warns it may pose health risks.