The City of Montreal will hold public hearings on April 27 about the use of stun guns by police officers, the city’s public consultation office announced Thursday.
The hearings are part of a mandate to study the use of Tasers given by city council to the city’s public security committee last year.
The committee is chaired by Claude Trudel, the executive committee member responsible for public security.
The news comes as the RCMP has apologized to the mother of Polish visitor Robert Dziekanski for its role in his death in Vancouver.
Dziekanski died after officers subdued him with a stun gun at Vancouver International Airport in October 2007.
Concerns about the use of the weapon by Montreal police were raised following the death of Quilem Registre, who died five days after Dziekanski.
Registre, 39, died four days after officers stunned him five times in under a minute as they tried to arrest him following a car crash.
The coroner’s report described Registre as being highly agitated on the night of his arrest, with cocaine and alcohol in his bloodstream, but said the use of the Taser may have played a role in his death.
The coroner was critical of the two officers involved in the incident, adding they had violated the force’s own regulations. The stun gun should have been stored in the police car and not on one of the officer’s belts, she said.
The Montreal police department has defended stun guns with officers, saying they are used when a suspect is out of control, violent or so numb to pain that pepper spray has no effect.
The department has only 16 Tasers and 130 officers are trained to use them.
People or groups wishing to register to speak or submit a brief during the consultations are invited to contact the public consultation office at 514-872-3770 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.