UPDATE: A 17 year old Martinsville, Virginia youth is the latest to die after being Tasered by police. The unidentified boy died Thursday, January 8, 2009 after police responding to a disturbance jolted him with 50,000 volts. He is at least the 381st North American to die in similar circumstances.


With nineteen days before the Braidwood Inquiry reconvenes to examine the circumstances of Robert Dziekanski’s death, it’s worth taking stock of what has occurred since the unfortunate Polish immigrant died at Vancouver Airport following five 50,000 volt jolts from an RCMP “less than lethal” TASER.

At least eighty other North Americans, mostly unarmed men, have died in similar circumstances since the Dziekanski incident on October 14, 2007. There were at least 64 deaths in 2008, starting with that of Brandon Smiley, 24 of Mobile, Alabama on January 2nd and ending with the death of an unidentified man in Harris County, Texas on Christmas Eve. The list includes six Canadians who died in 2008 after being Tasered: Jeffrey Marreel, 36 of Norfolk, Ontario; Michael Langan, 17, of Winnipeg; Sean Reilly, 42, of Brampton; Frank Frachette, 49, of Langley, BC; Trevor Grimolfson, 38, of Edmonton and Gordon Bowe, 30, of Calgary.

According to a recent CBC News study, TASER X26 models may discharge more energy than the manufacturer specifies. However, there is still no regulatory approval regimen for TASER products in Canada. An electric fence regulator must be CSA approved before it can be marketed, but electrical devices for controlling humans face no such scrutiny.


Here, just for the heck of it, two late greats singing about the snow: