SASKATOON – Police in Saskatoon say a review board will scrutinize the actions of officers who fired Tasers at a man who appeared to be set to plunge a knife into himself.
Police say the 26-year-old man was found kneeling in the street on Saturday night clutching a large knife with both hands.
They say the knife was pointed at his body and the officers were trying to convince him to put it down, but they say he suddenly raised his hands and made a stabbing motion towards himself.
That’s when police say two officers fired their energy weapons and the man was immediately disabled.
He was treated in hospital and now remains in police custody to face assault and weapons-related charges.
Staff Sgt. Dave McKenzie says the incident will be reviewed by the police department’s Use of Force Review Board, which he says is a mandatory process whenever officers use their weapons.
McKenzie said the review isn’t an indication the officers did anything wrong. Rather, he said the information would be useful for determining whether different actions could be taken in future incidents.
He said in this case, both officers decided simultaneously to fire their weapons at the man.
“It worked instantaneously,” McKenzie said. “The current would cause him to be statue-like.”
“The officers were able to control him and get the knife away from him.”
Police in Saskatoon have only been equipped with Tasers for about six months, and McKenzie said Saturday’s incident wasn’t the first time officers used the weapons to stop someone from harming themselves.
Earlier this month, he said police used one of the energy weapons to stop a man who was slashing his own throat with a knife.
“They’re not used in any situation unless it’s absolutely necessary,” McKenzie said.
© 2014 The Canadian Press