Thursday, January 1, 2009

Canadian Constables Abandon Taser in Fear of Controversy - Tasering a Sleeping Teen Counts as Controversy

Canadian peace officers are turning in their Tasers to avoid disciplinary hearings should the Tasers have to be used.
Some Edmonton police officers have chosen not to carry Tasers because of the controversy the weapons attract, despite believing the devices are valuable tools. While testifying as a witness in a disciplinary hearing for two other officers, Const. Mike Wasylyshen said he has stopped carrying a Taser because of past criticisms.

In April 2004, Wasylyshen helped arrest a suspect after a lengthy car chase. While two other officers face disciplinary charges for using their Tasers that night, Wasylyshen chose not to use his.

"I had some bad luck with a Taser incident in 2002, to be honest," the officer said when asked why he didn't draw the Taser he had that night. "Using it would have been practical, it would have been justified. I just didn't utilize it. It would be a hassle for me to use it."

Wasylyshen said he has since turned in his Taser and has not requested another one.
What was his "bad luck" that prompted Wasylyshen to abandon the Taser?
In October 2002, Wasylyshen used a Taser to wake up Randy Fryingpan, 16, who was passed out in a car. The incident was heavily criticized and a judge later threw out a charge against Fryingpan.
Woah. There has to be more to the story than this... And there is. From
But the most disturbing story of all was, unfortunately, the one that got the least amount of publicity: the decision of da Costa not to discipline Const. Mike Wasylyshen with regards to the Randy Fryingpan incident.

In October 2002, the then-16-year-old Fryingpan was found sleeping in his car near Abbotsfield Road. Wasylyshen, responding to a noise complaint, repeatedly used his Taser to rouse the teen.

Earlier this year, Judge Jack Easton halted Fryingpan's trial for breaching his bail conditions after concluding the teen's charter rights had been repeatedly violated by Wasylyshen. "The treatment of the accused by the application of the Taser and the use of the fist or butt end of the Taser gun to the body of the accused driving him to the ground causing a broken tooth clearly indicated to me an excessive use of force and a clear violation of the charter rights of this accused," the judge wrote.

The judge also wrote that, "The witnesses other than the officers appeared disgusted by an obvious overuse of force," and "The scene was clearly under control and the deployment of a Taser absolutely unnecessary."

But da Costa exonerated Wasylyshen, saying, "We could not sustain any charges against any of our members as there was insufficient evidence to support the charges." We can only shake our heads and agree with Edmonton lawyer Tom Engel, who concluded, "This is just shameful."
The acting police chief in Edmonton has dismissed all but one complaint against officers who used a Taser gun on a passed-out, drunken teen nearly three years ago.

Chief Darryl Da Costa said police concluded their internal investigation and charged one officer with insubordination. He said the officer received an official warning.

In 2002, complaints were filed accusing a constable of repeatedly firing a Taser at Randy Fryingpan while the 16-year-old was passed out drunk in the back of a friend's car.

A judge described the incident as cruel and unusual punishment and an abuse of the use of force.

But Da Costa said there was no evidence to support the allegations.
For crying out loud, Tasering a PASSED OUT subject, much less a 16 year old teen? Holy Crap! And from the CBC we find that the number of Taser hits "repeated" constitutes is SIX. Six Taser hits to a passed out teen... What kind of peace officer would do this? The CBC states that Wasylyshen "has been charged with assault for an alleged off-duty incident."
Const. Mike Wasylyshen, 31, was charged with three counts of assault and two counts of uttering threats in connection with an incident in December 2005, police announced Wednesday.
Why wasn't all THAT in the SOTT item we first saw, released just a couple weeks ago? This officer not only needs to not carry a Taser, he needs to find another line of work. The problem here is not the Taser, it was the nut holding the Taser.

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