Recently uncovered video of a disabled British Columbia man being
shocked with a taser by a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer
has sparked controversy and once again brought the use of such
weapons into the limelight.
The video, which was shot in 2004 but only recently
released to legal representitives, shows John Dempsey, who suffered
from a debilitating muscle disorder similar to Parkinson's disease,
being forced to the ground by two RCMP officers inside a Kamloops,
B.C. RCMP detachment.
The video shows Dempsey being led into the booking
room after being arrested for trying to intervene in the arrest
of a friend whom he believed the police were being too heavy handed
Already handcuffed and subsequently shoved face
down to the ground, an officer then fires a taser into Dempsey's
back at point blank range.
"I wasn't resisting arrest, I calmly walked,
he grabbed me, and said this will teach you not to [profanity]
with us, that's what he said," Dempsey later commented.
Watch the video:
(Article continues below)
Dempsey had initiated a lawsuit accusing the RCMP
of excessive force, but was sadly killed in a traffic accident
Had he been able to see his case through, Dempsey
may have been as successful as Jared
Massey, who has accepted a $40,000 settlement in
a lawsuit filed against the state and a Utah Highway Patrol trooper,
after he was stopped
and tased for refusing to sign a speeding citation.
The news comes on the back of internal reports
by Vancouver police, which have revealed that the
force regularly use Tasers to subdue people who are unarmed and
The reports, released via a freedom of information
request, state that in a number of cases police used the Taser
as soon as someone displayed a "fighting stance" or
simply to get a non-violent suspect to do what they were told.
The police are now trained that "pain compliance,"
a euphemism for torture, is acceptable in apprehending anyone
even if that person poses no physical danger. If you electrify
any person, they suffer extreme pain and stand a high chance of
Many Civil Liberties Associations and police departments
across North America have called for a moratorium on the weapons
after hundreds of Taser-related deaths have garnered headlines
from coast to coast. However, infinitely more police continue
to use the weapons without question.
Despite claims by Taser proponents the weapons are
safe, scientists and doctors have raised concerns about possible
links between Tasers and potential heart and respiration problems,
mental health and an individual’s state of exhaustion or
agitation in confrontations with authorities.
Amnesty International has also cited hundreds deaths
around the world after Taser use and has called for a full taser
suspension while a thorough investigation into the impact of the
weapon is conducted.
Recently, a UN Committee said the stun gun "causes acute
pain, constituting a form