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The Jungle

by Archives February 12, 2008

For Chantal Register, the taser debate hits close to home. Her 38 year-old brother Quilem was stopped by police for suspicion of drunk driving. Moments later he was tasered and then slipped into a comma. He never woke up.
“Before my brother died I told him I would fight for him, because he didn’t deserve what they did to him,” she said.
“This has deeply affected the community,” said Dan Philip, from the Black Coalition of Quebec.
“It shows the callous behaviour of government to his [Register’s] life and the liberty of someone who has the right to life and justice,” Philips said.
We can do nothing but agree with Mr. Philips.
Now, a coalition of local politicians, human rights groups, and concerned citizens is asking for a moratorium on taser guns.
City Councilor Warren Allmand says using taser guns in law enforcement is a risky business.
“There should be a moratorium until we know the medical and psychological impact tasers guns have on individuals,” he said.
Members of the coalition say part of the problem is the perception that tasers are ultimately innocuous.
“We believe tasers are being used more freely than guns, because police officers think they are not deadly,” said Allmand.
Yet the Minister of Public Security, Jacques Dupuis, refused to ban the use of taser guns as of last Thursday.
“We don’t have our eyes closed,” he said, explaining that his office is still investigating the issue.
The Minister’s eyes might be wide open, but his refusal to ban taser guns despite mounting evidence showing tasers cause iregular heart beats, and in a growing number of cases death has outraged a lot of people.
In Canada, 20 people have died after being tasered. Three of them were from Montreal.
In light of the mounting number of deaths related to taser gun use, why is Dupuis refusing to ban their use until further research shows whether they are safe?
The government’s refusal to use a precautionary principle pinpoints to a lack of respect to the lost lives, and to the lives of Canadians who could be targeted by these “safe” weapons.
If the police feel they are safe to use, they feel they can use them more often than guns.
These weapons should be used only under extraneous circumstances.
The death of Registrar and others should be ringing alarm bells in our heads.
As Chantal Register put it:
“It happened to my brother; it could happen to someone close to you.”

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