Testimony from the Braidwood Inquiry: Jude Swanson

I’m a citizen with a mental health diagnosis and a seizure disorder. Originally, I intended to file a general services complaint via the police complaints process to have the conducted energy device’s medical footprint examined. At this provincial inquiry, I have seen there has been a wide variety of people invited to share their opinions and experiences. Thank you for including mine as well. I have shared my written submissions with my MLA’s office and my Member of Parliament. Other citizens have wondered aloud to me about heart conditions, multiple sclerosis, and Tourettes syndrome as just some of the medical issues that could be impacted by law enforcement’s use of the conducted energy device. Epilepsy has existed a lot longer than the conducted energy device. I do not feel myself or the medical community should need to prove conditions like epilepsy are impacted by the conducted energy device. I feel it is the responsibility of the manufacturers of the conducted energy device to prove via independent study that their product does not worsen medical conditions like epilepsy. I feel the burden of proof lies with the manufacturer because these medical conditions existed before any patents of the conducted energy device were granted anywhere in the world. I want law enforcement to be safe, but I do not want to live in a society where citizens’ lives are put in jeopardy due to a medical condition. I feel we live in a society with rights and responsibilities. If law enforcement wants the right to use this weapon, I submit they also deserve the responsibility to be held accountable should ‘misunderstandings’ result due to an innocent citizen’s medical condition. I urge this inquiry to recommend the suspension of use of the conducted energy device while possible repercussions are studied independently. If the inquiry does choose to recommend suspension of the use of the conducted energy device, I suggest that all current budgets allocated to this device be frozen. Then the budgets could be redirected for the continual use by law enforcement. If the conducted energy device is filling a role, then the monies currently used for filling that role should be redirected into finding other options. I also feel law enforcement could use more extensive training in medical conditions and mental health. I feel it is obvious why a person with an electrically based medical condition would be concerned about an electrical weapon. Again, thank you for the opportunity to share my opinions and experiences. Jude Swanson May 22, 2008 @ the Braidwood Inquiry (into the Conducted Energy Device)The full transcript is available at braidwoodinquiry.ca (under transcripts May 22, 2008)

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