February 4, 2009
A Manitoba teenager is suing the RCMP over allegations she was shocked by a stun gun while in custody, her lawyer said Tuesday.
The girl, who cannot be identified because of provisions in the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was 16 when the alleged incident occurred in November 2007. She says four male officers held her down in a Selkirk jail cell and shot her with a stun gun three times.
Her lawyer, Catherine Dunn, said she doesn’t understand why there isn’t a ban on using stun guns on young people, a move Ontario’s child advocate called for on Tuesday.
“There doesn’t seem to be any reason being brought forward why they’re not placing a moratorium on the use of Tasers against anyone, and in particular young people,” said Dunn. “Because there has been incidents of deaths as a result of the use of Tasers.”
Dunn said Manitoba’s child advocate has refused to get involved.
“We have in fact looked into using the children’s advocate here in or Manitoba to deal with this issue,” said Dunn.
“Their position has been that because this has not happened to a child within the child welfare system, they are not able to assist. I disagree.”
CBC News was unable to reach the province’s children’s advocate, Billie Schibler, for comment.
The Selkirk teenager’s mother, who also cannot be identified, said her daughter was taken into custody after she and some friends were found drunk in her parents’ van, which had been reported stolen.
They filed a complaint with the RCMP, alleging criminal assault.
The mother said she was notified by RCMP that an internal investigation had cleared the officers of any wrongdoing. However, last September, Dunn said she was notified the RCMP would be reopening the investigation into the allegations.
A 17-year-old male died in Winnipeg last July after police shot him with a stun gun. Michael Langan died following an altercation with police officers in a back lane in the city’s core.
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