2.25.2009

maybe it was a very big stapler

Yesterday we learned that the RCMP officers who murdered Robert Dziekanski never used their training to assess the situation, spoke to witnesses, or even spoke to each other. Apparently there was no time, because Mr. Dziekanski first held up his arms with his palms facing the officers, then fled, then... turned around with a stapler in his hand.

Well then. That explains it. The man was clearly out of control and needed to be tasered - training, common sense, and a human being's life be damned.

In December it was announced that none of the Mounties are facing criminal charges for this incident. The Crown decided that, although the RCMP officers "contributed to" Mr. Dziekanski's death, "their use of force was reasonable". In other words, they are getting away with murder.

I'm so hurt and disgusted by this story, I hardly know what to say anymore. The only good thing is that we don't let it die.

Robert Dziekanski's name has become well known, but let's never forget that he is not alone. I can't write about every taser death and its outcome, but here is someone who tries: Truth Not Taser is written "In memory of our brother and son, Robert Bagnell, who died after being tasered by police in Vancouver, British Columbia on June 23, 2004".

Here are three excellent letters from today's Globe and Mail.
I am embarrassed as a Canadian that four trained and armed members of our national police force were so afraid of a confused non-English-speaking visitor that they had to taser and tackle him - without even discussing the situation among themselves.

I am outraged as a taxpayer at the defence given by their lawyers and at the 16 months that Robert Dziekanski's family has been suffering.

Heather Lundergan, Fredericton

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So roughly 800 pounds of (supposedly) highly trained RCMP beef trembled in fear when confronted by the stapler-wielding, "unkempt" Robert Dziekanski. Perhaps these guys should be reassigned to stable duty for the Musical Ride, armed with shovels instead of tasers (due warning to the horses).

Steve Paul, Nancy Paul, Lansdowne, ON

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If the armed, trained and protected RCMP officers who tasered Robert Dziekanski feared for their safety while confronting him, I suggest they pursue different careers - something less likely to put them in the line of fire of staplers and other lethal office supplies.

Dan Obradovic, Nelson, BC

Shame, shame, shame. Shame on the RCMP. Shame on Canada.

5 comments:

deang said...

Disgusting. Reminds me of all the US cop murder excuses that are variations on "we had to kill him because we thought his candy bar was a gun."

JakeNCC said...

Everytime I see a report on this I scream at the tellie "Are you big strong Mounties so afraid of a stapler you have to kill the guy?" What ever happened to police using physical force to subdue someone especially someone unarmed?

Scott M. said...

I haven't been able to watch the coverage lately, but I hope the commission lawyers ask the RCMP what they would have done if they didn't have a Taser.

Cornelia said...

Awful!!! I hope the prosecution and / or the lawyer of the coplaintiffs (in this case the relatives of the dead person)will appeal the verdict?

L-girl said...

Good point, Scott M. That's the big question that never seems to get asked.

Cornelia, there's no appeal of this. The survivor (the victim's mother) could sue the RCMP, but to my knowledge she is not doing so.

This is quite a famous case here in Canada - I have blogged about it several times. Click on the category for more info.