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Death risk ‘extremely low’

There is no “magic bullet” use-of-force option available to police thateliminates the risk of death, the head of Taser International Inc. tolda public inquiry into the use of conducted energy weapons yesterday.


There is no “magic bullet” use-of-force option available to police that eliminates the risk of death, the head of Taser International Inc. told a public inquiry into the use of conducted energy weapons yesterday.

Thomas Smith, who co-founded Taser with his brother Patrick in 1993, told the Braidwood Inquiry that the risk of death from a Taser is “extremely low” and safer — for police and suspects — than batons or pepper spray.

The rate of injury from a Taser — sustained when a person falls to the ground after being zapped — is similar to that of college athletics, Smith said.

The Braidwood Inquiry, which began last week to look at the use of stun guns by municipal police, was called following the death of Robert Dziekanski, a Polish immigrant who died after he was Tasered by RCMP at Vancouver’s airport.

The incident was captured on amateur video and was broadcast around the world.

“It’s a tragic situation,” Smith said of Dziekanski’s death. “Our hearts go out the family. I can’t even begin to know what that family is going through.”


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