Police to use tasers starting summer 2018, says PPA director general ({{commentsTotal}})

Director-general of the Police and Border Guard (PPA), Elmar Vaher.
Director-general of the Police and Border Guard (PPA), Elmar Vaher. Source: (ERR)

A man was shot by police on Tuesday who walked around Tallinn's Old Town brandishing knives. He later died in hospital. The confrontation was filmed by witnesses and has already stirred up a new debate about the introduction of tasers, which many feel could have helped avoid the man's death.

Director General of the Police and Border Guard (PPA), Elmar Vaher, commented this on ERR's "Aktuaalne kaamera" newscast on Tuesday evening, saying that the police would use electroshock weapons starting summer 2018. There was no one in the police who was pleased about what happened, Vaher said, but the situation had been "extreme," and the use of their weapon the correct decision of the officer.

Asked why the officer shot the man in the chest and not e.g. in the leg, Vaher said that this was specific to the situation. "A person whose behavior clearly indicates soundness of mind, who walks around for an extended time with knives in his hands, scaring people in the city center, refuses the police's orders to put down his weapons, attacks police officers, [in such a case] our tactic and what we teach at the police is to take a decisive step, and in this case this was a shot to the chest," Vaher explained.

An officer under attack had to make an extreme decision, Vaher said. "Using a firearm is an extreme decision in our line of work and an extreme measure that nobody wants to take, but that's why we train police officers that if someone has to be shot, they have to be taken down as well," he added.

Vaher commented on the ten minutes it took the police to arrive as well, saying that though this was rather a long time, it had been enough to "resolve the events."

Concerning the attacker, Vaher said there was reason to assume that he had mental health issues, but that his motives were still being investigated.

One of the police officers present was black, Vaher said, but the police had no reason to assume that the attack was directed on them.

Police to introduce tasers

The chairman of the Riigikogu's Security Authorities Surveillance Select Committee and former chief of the Internal Security Service, Raivo Aeg (IRL), called for the introduction of electroshock weapons on Tuesday.

The topic of tasers needed to be discussed again, Aeg said. Vaher responded to this saying that the police would be using electroshock weapons starting summer next year.

"We're procuring them at the moment, we're training police officers, and the first patrols will likely be carrying them already in summer next year," Vaher said.

The police confronted and shot a man on Tuesday who was walking around Tallinn's old town brandishing knives. After the man was ordered repeatedly to put down the knives, he started towards the officers, who first fired three warning shots and then took the man down with a shot in the chest.

The man died some 45 minutes later at a hospital in Tallinn. As the Baltic News Service reported later on Tuesday, the 33-year-old Estonian was the brother of Transferwise founder and CEO Kristo Käärmann.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: ERR.ee, Aktuaalne kaamera



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