Taser Deaths by Police in Canada


Robert Dziekański died at Vancouver airport in October 2007. The incident has many similar features to the death of Laudisio Curti. Although handcuffed he was tasered multiple times. He died within 26 seconds from a “surge of adrenaline amplified by the effects of the taser and the struggle with the officers that caused a cardiac arrest.” Sound familiar ?

Discrepancies between the official RCMP explanation and a phone video taken at the scene caused long lasting humiliation and reputational damage for the Mounties.

Things had to change. In recent news coverage from Canada, Taser use by the Mounties in British Columbia has been reduced by almost 80%. . Tasers were used “640 times in 2007, compared to 85 deployments last year” . One of the key reasons is that British Columbia police, including the RCMP ” appear to be relying more heavily on verbal skills and physical tools other than Tasers when dealing with potentially dangerous situations.”

It’s almost ‘back to the future’ in terms of conflict management training and procedures pre-taser introduction. Are there Lessons for NSW Police to be learned ?

John Walker
Former police behavioural consultant


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