Press Release – August 29, 2023 – Marcus Charles, Hamilton ON restrained and tasered by police responding to a seizure in the workplace on October 2, 2022
The Canadian Epilepsy Alliance (CEA) acknowledges the over 4,000 Canadians who took the time to learn about, sign, share, and comment on its petition inviting police services and their members across Canada to become informed about epilepsy and seizures and learn how to respond appropriately in situations where a person with epilepsy experiences a seizure. The CEA also acknowledges and thanks the media for shedding light on the issue which, over the years, has been repeated in other cities across Canada from Halifax to Ottawa to cities in Western Canada.
After consulting with Mr. Charles, the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance encourages police forces from coast to coast to coast learn about and take advantage of readily available training currently hosted on the Canadian Police Knowledge Network (CPKN) so that officers are equipped with the tools and knowledge to prevent a similar situation from happening in the future. “I just want to use my story to turn things towards the positive, to bring attention to the fact that people experiencing a seizure may not be aware of what is happening, they may be confused or appear as non-compliant. It’s important to think about what else could be happening so people don’t end up the way I did.”, says Marcus Charles.
Epilepsy and Seizure Response Training for Police Officers was developed by Epilepsy Ontario through a grant made possible by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Members of the law enforcement profession have access to the training through the Canadian Police Knowledge Network (CPKN). This training was developed when an off-duty police officer in Ottawa who was newly diagnosed with epilepsy had a seizure and responding officers called to the scene tased him when they didn’t recognize he was having a seizure. The training is available in English only and viewers are required to pay a small fee to access the training. The CEA is working to eliminate the fee to access the training and develop an equivalent offering in French. Donations from the public to support this initiative are welcome.