Quebec stun guns to be tested
Published Friday, March 27, 2009 1:07PM EDT
Quebec's public security department has ordered Quebec police forces to turn in some of their stun guns for testing amid concerns that some of the units might malfunction. Stun guns will still remain in use across the province.
Police chiefs will send some stun weapons to the provincial Forensic Sciences and Forensic Pathology lab on Parthenais St. in Montreal.
"All stun weapons must have received a certificate from the (lab) before they are used by officers," Public Security Minister Jacques Dupuis said in a statement.
Media played a role
The department says it ordered the testing following a media report in December that indicated some of the weapons had malfunctioned. At that time the department ordered testing on a specific model -- Taser X-26 units made prior to Dec. 31, 2005.
Testing by the provincial lab found that five of 52 units did not operate within the manufacturer's specifications and were destroyed. One of the X-26 Tasers belonged to Longueuil police, three were issued in the Akwesasne Mohawk reserve at the Ontario border and one was in use in Eastmain, in northern Quebec, said the public security department. None of the malfunctioning tasers had ever been used on a suspect, the agency added.
Stun guns have raised concerns in Canada recently following several high-profile cases in which suspects died after being hit with the weapons, which are supposed to be non-lethal.
There's currently a public inquiry underway in Vancouver into the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski, who died after Mounties stunned him with Tasers during a confrontation at Vancouver Airport in 2007.
Also in 2007 there was a Quebec coroner's report into the death of Montrealer Quilem Registre, who died days after he was tasered by police six times in less than a minute.
A study released this week found the chances of someone dying from being tasered by police increased the more times they were stunned.