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Turn green light for taser roll-out to red

19 June 2009

Turn green light for taser roll-out to red

New Zealand should follow the lead of the Queensland Government and suspend its roll-out of tasers pending an inquiry into their use, said Green Party MP Keith Locke.

On Monday, Queensland Police Minister Neil Roberts suspended the taser roll-out pending a four-week review, following the death of a Queensland man after he had been repeatedly tasered by Police.

“The New Zealand Police need to re-examine its practice of allowing repeat tasering. In Queensland repeat tasering may well have been responsible for the death of Townsville man Antonio Galeano,”said Mr Locke, the Green Party Police spokesperson.

“Mr Galeano could have been tasered more than 20 times, according to the latest reports from Queensland – being repeatedly hit with thousands of volts of electricity must surely count as torture.

“It is very worrying that New Zealand Police records show their taser targets get a second jolt in more than one in three cases.”

In the year-long Police trial the trigger was pulled a second time in 7 cases out of the 19 times the taser was used.

The Police’s own instructions for the taser trial stressed that ‘subsequent applications of the device should be avoided’.

On the weekend Police Association spokesperson Greg O’Connor claimed the taser was not to blame for Mr Galeano death as he died ten minutes after being repeatedly tasered – rather than immediately.

“It is disappointing to see both the Queensland Police Union and the New Zealand Police Association still insisting that tasers are safe.

“The 50,000 stun gun is an extremely dangerous weapon when fired only once, let alone when the trigger is pulled repeatedly,” said Mr Locke.

Note:The UN Committee Against Torture in a recent report on New Zealand noted that it is 'deeply concerned' about New Zealand's introduction of the taser. The report said the taser 'causes severe pain constituting a form of torture, and that in some cases may even cause death'.

Link to the NZ Police’s operational evaluation of the ‘taser trial’
http://www.police.govt.nz/resources/2008/operational-evaluation-of-nz-taser-trial/Operational_Evaluation_of_the_NZ_Taser_Trial_August_2008.pdf

ENDS

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