Public consultations on Taser use by police
Montreal's public safety committee held two sessions Tuesday to hear what citizens think about police use of Tasers.
The group was ordered last year to hold the hearings to investigate the pros and cons of the supposedly non-lethal electroshock weapons following a number of Taser-related deaths across Canada.
In Montreal, 38-year-old Quillem Registrie died in October 2007 after he was shocked with a Taser six times in less than 57 seconds.
"My son wasn't armed, so why did police use one on him?" said Registrie's father Augustin-Francois.
Registre was intoxicated due to alcohol and cocaine at the time, but the coroner's report said the stun gun was partially responsible for his death, and that police should be better trained to use Taser guns.
Tasers were used 11 times in Montreal in 2009, and the police force and the Montreal Police Brotherhood contend the device is the safest option is certain exceptional circumstances.
"Don't forget, if we can't use the Tasers in certain cases, we're going to have to use the guns," said Yves Francoeur from the Brotherhood.
Snowdon councillor Marvin Rotrand said he has many questions about Tasers, and whether the 16 Tasers owned by Montreal police can be used safely. He's urging the committee to recommend Taser use be halted.
"It's true the Montreal police don't have a lot of Tasers, and because of concerns at city hall, the use of Tasers has been very constrained," said Rotrand.
"There have been questions raised about basically whether it leads to lazy policing."
The first round of hearings at Montreal city hall began Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m., with a second session starting at 7 p.m.
A dozen people signed up to speak.
"The police forces of San Francisco, of Washington D.C., of Detroit and Boston have decided not the use Tasers. Why can Montreal not be one of those cities?" said Patrick Bolland of the Coalition against Tasers.