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Video Shows Cop Tasering Already Restrained Disabled Man
Abuse of "last option before lethal force" continues

Steve Watson
day, March 12, 2008

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 with.

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:

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Dempsey had initiated a lawsuit accusing the RCMP of excessive force, but was sadly killed in a traffic accident recently.

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 non-violent.

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.

Other cases we have highlighted also corroborate the fact that the weapon, which is designed to be a last resort before lethal force, is now being used as a compliance tool. Every week we post stories of incidents, which often feature old women, children and disabled people as the victims. The weapons are even being used in schools.

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 being killed.

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 of torture".

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