RCMP Taser Whitehorse man

On Monday night, RCMP officers piled on top of a knife-wielding man in front of the Whitehorse detachment headquarters on Fourth Avenue.

On Monday night, RCMP officers piled on top of a knife-wielding man in front of the Whitehorse detachment headquarters on Fourth Avenue.

Three cruisers were parked on the sidewalk.

Minutes later, the man was loaded on a gurney and wheeled into a waiting ambulance.

The incident happened at about 9:05 p.m.

That’s when a man entered the RCMP Whitehorse detachment and began banging on the glass walls of the reception area.

The man was in distress and behaving irrationally, said an RCMP release issued 39 hours after the incident.

When officers attempted to calm the individual he drew a knife from his pocket and “became combative.”

The officers drew their weapons.

“And again, attempted to calm the individual,” said the release.

“The agitated individual then slashed his wrist and refused to drop the knife.”

Officers Tasered the man.

The individual was subdued, arrested and transported to Whitehorse General Hospital, said the release.

The next afternoon at 3:30 p.m., large gobs of frozen blood remained on the detachment steps.

RCMP spokesperson Brigitte Parker was asked for information.

Examining the blood, Parker tried to scuff the gore off with the toe of her dress shoes.

She couldn’t explain how the blood got there.

A release was issued at noon Wednesday.

Whitehorse resident Ghasem Yarahmadi, 42, was charged with one count of assault with a weapon, possession of a weapon dangerous to the public peace and possession of a concealed weapon.

Yarahmadi was Tasered just a little more than a day before the RCMP’s public complaints commission called for an immediate restriction on Taser use.

On Wednesday, Commission chair Paul Kennedy made 10 recommendations for Taser use.

They include reclassifying the Taser as an “impact weapon” rather than an “intermediate” device such as pepper spray.

This would change how police use the weapon, according to the RCMP’s use-of-force model.

If it was deemed an impact weapon, Tasers should only be used when a person is being “combative” or poses a risk of “death or grievous bodily harm” to police, themselves or the public.

Kennedy also recommended the RCMP change its Taser training program to reflect its status as an impact weapon.

He recommended officers get recertification in Taser use every two years, enforce stricter reporting requirements every time a Taser is used, and create an RCMP national “use-of-force” co-ordinator to oversee policies, techniques and equipment.

Some 2,800 Tasers are being used by more than 9,100 RCMP members across the country, according to a Globe and Mail story published Wednesday.

The RCMP has used Tasers more than 3,000 times since the weapons were introduced in December 2001.

But Kennedy found no annual reports have been produced, nor has the police force thoroughly examined its statistical information on Taser use in developing related policy.

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