Geoff Langhorne, Hamilton
As host of a local radio show conversing about and with Ontarians with disabilities, I am heartened to see Hamilton police officers treat obviously disabled people better than their treatment in municipalities east of us.
Nevertheless, not all disabilities are visible, and as one familiar with the handcuffing and subsequent tasering in a squad car of a brain-injured man a few years ago, I agree with the quote attributed to Sharon Dorr, new mother and fiancee of engineer Steve Mesic, fatally shot by police last June 7 for (allegedly) wielding a small shovel.
Dorr stated: “I am concerned that CEW’s [Tasers] will be misused. I do not have faith in all officers’ ability to accurately implement the training they have received around CEW use.”
Interestingly, Hamilton Community News published figures of $324,611 for 150 Tasers, holsters and cartridges, and an ongoing $635,433 annually for maintenance, personnel and training.
These figures provide a foundation to consider the potential cost of privately and legally issuing some means of countering this imposition of an American solution to a Canadian problem. Stricter firearms training and accountability seems to me a better alternative, before any counter-initiative, legal or illegal, takes hold.
Officer safety and judgment might be positively reshaped, considered against even the mentally ill’s right to live.