Police Taser 15-year-old teen wielding a knife
Published Friday, July 3, 2009 2:49PM PDT
A 15-year-old boy who police say was drunk and brandishing a knife was Tasered last night in Surrey, B.C.
Surrey RCMP says the incident happened just after 9:00 p.m. in Kwantlen Park near 104th Avenue and Old Yale Road. Police responded to a complaint that a highly intoxicated young man was threatening people in the park with a 6" knife.
The officer chose to use the shock weapon on the young suspect "in lieu of lethal force," RCMP said Friday.
Sgt. Roger Morrow said the lone officer heard a heated argument between a young man and several other people near a basketball court.
Police say the suspect then heading into nearby bushes, where the officer followed. When the officer approached the suspect he had his hands behind his back and then brought out a knife, Morrow said.
"Despite being ordered to drop the knife and failing to do so, he was Tasered once, disabling him."
Morrow said it could have ended much differently.
"When police officers are met with threat of death or grievous bodily harm, we are authorized to use force to stop the attack," Morrow said.
"Despite all of the discussion and to some degree controversy over the use of Tasers, they are a very valuable weapon."
The use of Tasers by law enforcement agencies across the country has been under intense scrutiny since the death of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver's airport in October 2007.
Dziekanski collapsed and died after he was shocked multiple times with an RCMP Taser. Four officers were sent to the airport over complaints that an agitated Dziekanski was throwing furniture.
The incident led to a public into police use of the conducted energy weapon, as well as the specific circumstances of his death.
Morrow said the situation on Thursday was a classic case of where the Taser was deployed appropriately.
The teen remained conscious and was arrested, but police say he was treated by paramedics and taken to hospital to be checked by a doctor after vomiting in the back of the police cruiser.
He was released from hospital and spent the night in RCMP lockup.
Police say they're considering charges of uttering threats, assault with a weapon and possession of a weapon against the teenager.