RCMP to review Taser policy in wake of airport death: commissioner
Four Mounties involved in the fatal takedown of a Polish immigrant at Vancouver airport have been assigned to other duties as theRCMP reviews its policy on the use of Tasers, Commissioner William Elliottsaid Saturday.
In a statement, Elliott calledlast month'sdeath ofRobert Dziekanski "tragic" and extended his condolences to Dziekanski's family on behalf of the police force.
Hundreds of people packed a Kamloops, B.C., funeral home on Saturday to remember Dziekanski, who died shortly after being zapped by a Taser and pinned down by thefour officers in the Vancouver airport's international arrivals area on Oct. 14.
The 40-year-old Dziekanskihad been at the airport for about 10 hours and, unable to speak English,became confused and agitated while waiting for his mother to meet him.
"For the time being, the four RCMP officers directly involved in the events… have been assigned to other duties," Elliott said in a statement.
Elliott said he broke his silence about last month's altercation because he felt the need to address concerns about Tasers.
"The RCMP has also undertaken an examination of our policies and procedure relating to conducted energy weapons —commonly called 'Tasers' — and will be providing a report to the Minister of Public Safety."
Tasers safe in 'vast majority of cases': Elliott
An eyewitness's video that captured the confrontation was released Wednesday and has garnered international attention from millions of viewers.
It has alsosparked debate over whether the officers' use of a Taser was justified and whether the device is safe enough to be carried by law enforcement officials.
Numerous policeforces saythe weapon is acrucial"non-lethal"option for officersthat helps save lives and protectboth themandcivilians from injury.
Elliott acknowledged the images in the video are "disturbing," but insisted it was not appropriate to draw conclusions basedon thevideo's content alone.
He also said the Mounties still viewed Tasers as"effective law enforcement tools"that are "often the fastest and safest way to gain control of an individual."
Currently there are fourprobes underway into Dziekanski's death. The B.C. coroner, the RCMP, the public complaints commissioner for the RCMP and the Vancouver Airport Authority are all conducting their own investigations.
A public inquest into the incident is expected to begin next spring or early next summer, according to the province's coroner.