Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Date set for inquest into death of youth hit by police Taser

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A date has been set for a hearing to determine who can participate at an upcoming inquest into the death of a 17-year-old youth who died after being hit with a Taser by police.

On July 22, 2008, the teen was allegedly trying to break into vehicles and was followed by witnesses who contacted the Winnipeg Police Service. When police arrived, they tasered the youth, who was apparently armed with a knife. He fell backwards and hit his head. He was taken by ambulance to the Health Sciences Centre and pronounced dead at 4:34 p.m.

An investigation determined the youth's death was accidental. An autopsy found the cause of death was cardiac arrhythmia due to deployment of an electronic control device. In addition, it was discovered the youth had a rare condition of abnormal heart muscle cells which can sometimes induce arrhythmia.

The youth cannot be named in compliance with federal law.

Under the Fatality Inquiries Act, inquests are mandatory when a death results from the action of a peace officer in the course of duty. Inquests explore the circumstances and events leading to deaths to determine what, if anything, could be done to help prevent similar deaths from occurring in the future.

Before the inquest can begin, the judge will decide who can participate and question witnesses by having standing at the inquest. People who want to have standing should contact the Crown and attend the hearing on that issue set for: 9 a.m., Feb. 19 in Courtroom 406, Law Courts complex, 408 York Ave., Winnipeg.

Dates for the actual inquest will be set following this hearing.

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