Officer's use of Taser on boy, 11, 'appropriate'

An RCMP officer was justified in using a Taser on an 11-year-old boy in a stand-off near Prince George, B.C., an investigation has concluded.
After a failed negotiation with the boy, officers eventually decided use of a Taser was the best course. (CBC)

An RCMP officer was justified in using a Taser on an 11-year-old boy in a stand-off near Prince George, B.C., because of the boy's violent past and the danger he presented to himself and others, an investigation has concluded.

The chief of the West Vancouver police, Pete Lepine, who investigated the incident, released an open letter Monday explaining why he decided not to recommend charges against the officer, who was among several Mounties called to a residence on April 7.

Lepine had previously announced on Sept. 16 that the officer would not be charged but did not release a detailed account of his reasoning until Monday.

The initial report to police was that an adult at the address had been stabbed by the boy.

Negotiation with boy failed

Lepine said the boy fled into an empty building on the property, was reported to be armed with a knife, had a history of violent outbursts against adults and had been drinking wine.

Police tried to negotiate with the boy to surrender and that failed. The boy is hearing impaired and was not wearing his hearing aid during the incident.

Officers decided the safest way to bring the stand-off to an end was to use the Taser the next time the boy stepped outside, said Lepine.

After the weapon was used on the boy, he was taken to hospital for observation and released the next day.

The man he had stabbed suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

It turned out that the weapon used to stab the man and that police thought was a knife was actually a pen, but officers did not realize that until they had the boy in custody.

Lepine said that after reviewing all of the evidence and consulting a use-of-force expert, he concluded the officers involved acted in a measured and professional manner and their use of force was "appropriate to the situation."

The boy cannot be charged because he was under 12 years old when the offence occurred.