September 8, 2010

Stun gun cellphone prohibited

CANADA/TECHNOLOGY - 27-years-old Timothy Grady has been charged with possessing a prohibited weapon, as well as a number of traffic tickets and insurance-related offences.

The prohibited weapon is a stun gun in the shape of a cellphone which was seized Monday in the East end of Toronto after police searched his car.

The stun gun looks like an older model cellphone with a small screen and number pad. A switch on the side allows it to be used as either a stunning device or as a flashlight. It has no ability to make or receive calls.

It is NOT a taser in the normal sense, which shoots two electrical cords into the target. Rather the stunning device is simply an electrical current between two metal poles at the end of the cellphone. The device was not even that thick, looking like a normal relatively thin cellphone.

“It really looks like a cellphone,” says Toronto police Const. Isabelle Cotton.

The device can be purchased online and despite the fact it is illegal they can still be shipped easily because shippers would just assume its a cellphone and not an illegal weapon. Such devices are powerful enough to cause serious harm to a person.

“You can actually see the arc of electricity between the two metal poles when it’s turned on,” says Const. John Sianos who remarked that he has heard of such devices during training but has never found one on a person.

Stun guns, aka Tasers, are illegal weapons in Canada. Only authorized police officers can obtain them and even then they remain a controversial weapon.

The 2007 negligent death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekański was the result of trigger-happy RCMP officers repeatedly stunning the man. He died from heart failure aggravated by the repeated use of multiple Tasers on him. Other similar incidents have also resulted in the deaths of civilians.

See Also:
Negligent RCMP won't face charges in Taser death

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