The morning after Ontario, Canada, officials announced new rules allowing cops more freedom to use Tasers, police in Mississauga used the weapon to stun an 80-year-old woman.
On August 27, Ontario Community Safety Minister Madeleine Meilleur announced relaxed rules on police use of the controversial electronic stun guns. The new rules allow local Ontario police departments to decide which officers may carry Taser weapons and how they should be used.
The new standards were put into effect one month after a police officer fired nine shots into a teenager armed only with a knife on a Toronto streetcar. The victim, 18-year-old Sammy Yatim, died from the wounds.
The next morning at about 3:30 am, cops in the Ontario city of Mississauga, southwest of Toronto, saw an 80-year-old woman wandering alone in the street. Three officers approached her and at some point during the encounter, an officer fired his Taser weapon.
The woman, whose name has not been released, fell to the ground and fractured a hip.
“Officers spoke with the 80-year-old woman. At some point, an officer deployed his conducted energy weapon,” said Monica Hudon, a spokesperson for Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit which is now investigating the incident.
Despite the new rules that in effect allow all Ontario officers to carry Tasers, it is not yet clear how many cops will actually start brandishing the weapons. The $1,500 price tag per stun-gun is expected to put a strain on the budgets of many police departments.
UPDATE: A source reached by the local web site Mississauga.com said that woman speaks primarily Italian, without a good command of English, appeared confused and suffers from dementia but has no history of violent behavior. She was carrying a kitchen knife at the time of the incident and did not respond to police requests to put it down.
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The source said that the woman was tazed two times, though authorities -- who ar investigating a regional police officer in connection with the incident -- did not confirm the source's claim.
SOURCES: National Post, O Canada, CBC (2), Mississauga.com