The officers who Tasered Howard Hyde 30 hours before his death did what they had to do, Halifax Regional Police Chief Frank Beazley said Thursday.
“I don’t think the police officers in this case did anything wrong. They followed their training,” said Beazley, responding for the first time since Hyde’s death three years ago.
In a dramatic video of the altercation with officers, the chilling screams of a schizophrenic Hyde ring high above the sound of the Tasers penetrating his shirtless body.
But Tasers are not what killed Hyde, a 460-page report ruled Wednesday.
The 11-month inquiry, headed by Judge Anne Derrick, offers a number of recommendations to improve care for the mentally ill in the justice system, including using Tasers as a last resort.
Beazley said since the Nov. 21, 2007, incident, HRP has created a number of programs to train officers in mental health, adding this report takes it one step further.
“The training schedule will go over a period of a couple of years,” he said, adding he already has 58 officers and booking officers at the trained level recommended by the inquiry, enough to have at least one working at all times.
Beazley said he will assign one of his senior officers to study every recommendation and see how they can be implemented.
Three years ago, Hyde’s common-law wife accused him of assaulting her, and told police he had not been taking his medications.
At the police station, he became agitated and was Tasered several times. His heart stopped, but he was revived. The next day he died in a holding cell after a struggle with guards.