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Nova Scotia report warns against taser use

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors, and are not subject to Media Co-op journalistic standards.

Originally posted on Operation Wake Up!.

The Nova Scotia government released a report last Friday on the use of tasers by police officers. The report described a state known as 'excited delirium', created by a taser shock, in which a person is considered at the risk of sudden death. The report warned that any attempts to restrain someone exhibiting signs of excited delirium is very risky. "The state is a medical emergency," said Dr. Stan Kutcher, an expert in adolescent mental health at Dalhousie University, speaking to the Globe and Mail.

The report did not satisfy the lawyers of Howard Hyde, a Dartmouth man who died in custody 30 hours after being tasered by police. According to the recommendations, police should try to de-escalate a situation as much as possible. If that fails, then they should use physical restraint if necessary, as quickly as possible. Kevin MacDonald, Hyde's lawyer, said, "from what I can see, the police [handling Mr. Hyde] felt that they were doing just that by using the taser."

Police use of tasers has been responsible for other deaths in Canada, including Robert Dziekanski, a man who was tasered to death by police at the Vancouver airport last year.


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