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Police justify use of Taser on London, Ont., teen

A teenager who was Tasered by police in London, Ont., was defending himself when he was hit by the stun gun, his mother said Friday.

But police said use of the shocking device was justified, in order to stop a fight between two 17-year-old boys as a crowd of other teens watched.

Thursday’s incident, caught on a cellphone camera and posted on YouTube, shows police approaching the altercation and a sergeant discharging a weapon.

Prongs from the Taser hit the boy in the ear and chest and he falls to the ground.

A bystander can be heard shouting that the boy had been shot without first being asked to stop fighting.

“Why would you Tase him? Why would you Tase him? You shot him in the head, you shot him in the head, you shot him in the head, bro,” the male bystander yells.

“You shot him in the head, you never even asked him, you never even asked him to stop, you never even asked him to stop, bro,” he shouts.

The sergeant was justified in deploying the Taser without giving a verbal warning, London’s chief of police said Friday.

The teen had wrapped a belt around his fist, punched the other teen and then used a chair to strike the other teen about his head, Chief Brad Duncan said.

“Clearly here it was unfolding very, very quickly,” he said.

“In fact, when one views the video, it’s about a second between the use of force by this individual and then the application of the conducted energy weapon,” Duncan said.

“Clearly at the time that the device was deployed, he was the aggressor.”

The boy who was hit by the stun gun has been charged with assault with a weapon. The other boy, who goes to a different school, has not been charged and has been released from custody.

The mother of the teen who was shocked said her son was punched and kicked by two other teens and had used his belt and a lawn chair to defend himself from being hit.

He yelled to his girlfriend to call police as he was attacked, the mother said.

The fight started because one of the teens believed her son tried to pick up one of their girlfriends, she said.

The mother is upset police didn’t issue a warning before using the Taser, which she said should only be deployed as a last resort.

Police said the teen was taken to hospital because of injuries sustained in the fight and was later released into police custody.

But the boy’s mother said he was treated for Taser injuries.

“EMS [are] the only ones who are able to remove the prongs from the Tasers and because of the location they couldn’t remove the prongs,” she told London radio station AM980.

“It took three plastic surgeons to try and remove the prong from the side of his ear.

“They indicated that he was lucky that it wasn’t two centimetres closer to the front of his face, because he would have had permanent paralyzing of his face.”