I don't care how much the VPD would like to manipulate the facts of this story under NO circumstances should a mother be given this shock therapy (A Taser Gun has the capability of delivering 50,000 volts of energy)! Shame on the police for doing such an inhumane act and also to the social workers for not being able to have a peaceful solution to this case (and requiring the need to bring the police into the equation). [Watch the CBC report by Susie Da Silva here]
I mean, common people; if the baby needed to be apprehended I'm sure other measures could have been taken to receive the child from the mother*! It seems like the Taser Gun is now the primary line of defense, or in this case offense, for the police to use. They are so quick to draw to use this tool because a) the Taser they feel relieves them from the liability of using physical force, b) they are not adequately trained on when to use it, or c) they receive inadequate training on how to deal with sensitive situations (which in my opinion could be resolved with out any force)! Now let's see some of the supposed justification the police present to defend their case:
It is reported the police tried for 3 hours to negotiate with the mother prior to using the taser, but still I don't feel the length of time of negotiation should be justifiable line of defense for this action - I feel they had more than ample time to try to get the child and if they had more robust training I'm sure they would be able to achieve their goal without resorting to this violence (and I use violence intentionally as electrocuting a mother is indeed unjust violence!).
Another reason required using the Taser was that the mother was mentally unstable - now how does this make sense?? Do they think that they are health professionals and they can just give this ECT-style procedure to anyone they feel (FYI: Electroconvulsive Therapy is a controversial psychiatric treatment in which seizures are electrically induced for treating certain types of mental illness like depression). I'm deepily worried what type of precedent this sets for future scenarios similar to this one.
The next claim by the police was that the baby was in critical condition and they needed to get the baby right away to seek care. Now as mentioned above, they spent 3 hours trying to negotiate and I'm sure the social workers have tried to get the child before - so how could the child be in critical condition? If the child indeed was, wouldn't the mother have thought of this? Why would she need the police or Ministry to decide this for her? A mother is a mother, and they naturally have these instincts and in most instances go to greater lengths to save and protect their child than anyone else. It was also reported the child was recently released from hospital - which indicates the hospital staff felt the baby was healthy enough to be sent home [CanWest Ref]. And to the point that the mother was mentally unstable and therefore she might not have been able to make this decision - I say, this could just be another ploy of the police and Ministry to label these poor women as mentally unstable so to make it easier to apprehend the child (and also so that they are legally covered) and/or I'm sure the social workers or other health care workers (like the GP) would have reasoned to the mother that the child's health was in jeopardy and needed immediate medical attention.
I hope more facts will be presented about this story such as: Why were four police officers holding down the mother (who was only 16 and 110 pounds) to deliver the Taser? How is the mother now, what are her thoughts on the matter? What is the child's father's reaction to all this? And most importantly why weren't other more appropriate steps taken to handle this situation so it didn't escalate to the police using a Taser or even being called in? I would be very interested to know.
This action by the police SHOULD NEVER happen again as the victim nor the police might not be so lucky next time as we've all heard the horrible track record of these Tasers (e.g., causing long-term physical or emotional damage and even death).
*I don't have enough facts to even state that this apprehension needed to occur as sometimes it feels they could have been avoided with other more positive techniques (educating the mother what to do, providing support to her, NOT taking her baby away). From what I've heard these apprehension cases never end up with good outcomes for the families they try to help.
As always please excuse my immigrant english - I'm not an eloquent or great writer but I'm trying my best to raise awareness and debate about issues