By PoliceOne Staff
A study examining Canadian police officers' TASER use is "woefully out of touch" with the realities law enforcement faces and falsely implies TASERs caused at least two dozen deaths, a spokesman for TASER International said.
Though TASERs can reduce injuries to suspects, protect police officers and may prevent harm to bystanders, according to a US Department of Justice report, Temitope Oriola, who led the study, relied on media coverage of the deaths to argue TASERs represent a "teething new urban terrorism" that targets Canadian society's "hapless," the National Post reported.
Oriola completed his doctoral studies at the University of Alberta last year and said academics should take a stance on issues — objective analysis is "a thing of the past," he stated — the study "reads more like a social commentary," Steve Tuttle of TASER International said. It found the poor, mentally ill and chronic drug users are the most likely to be hit with TASERs and urges police to rethink the devices.
"It is beneath the integrity of the RCMP — a well-respected organization by international standards — and other police establishments in Canada to continue to use the TASER without conclusive independent scientific evidence succinctly demonstrating its effects or consequences on the human body," the study concludes.
Police spokeswoman Sgt. Julie Gagnon said in response that since 2007, the RCMP has revised its use-of-force training and policies to focus on "de-escalation and communication."
A 2010 revision to RCMP policy states TASERs can only be used "when someone is causing bodily harm or when an officer believes that a person will imminently cause bodily harm," Gagnon said.