A single sentence contained in an email between RCMP brass in the weeks after Robert Dziekanski died has derailed a public inquiry, raising questions yet again about the testimony of four police officers and prompting calls for further investigation of the national police force.
As closing arguments were set to begin on Friday, a lawyer for the inquiry revealed a previously unreleased email that suggested the RCMP officers developed a plan to use a Taser before they arrived at Vancouver's airport.
All four insisted in their testimony that they did not.
. . .
The email was written in November 2007, just weeks after Dziekanski's confrontation with the Mounties.
In it, Chief Supt. Dick Bent and RCMP Assistant Commissioner Al McIntyre were discussing their media strategy for the release of the now-infamous amateur video of the fatal confrontation.
Bent recounted a conversation with Supt. Wayne Rideout, who was in charge of the investigation into Dziekanski's death.
"Spoke to Wayne, and he indicated that the members . . . . had discussed the response en route and decided that if he did not comply, that they would go to CEW (Taser)," wrote Bent, whose email was read in court on Friday.
. . .
Ujjal Dosanjh, a former B.C. premier and the federal Liberals' public safety critic, used the furor over the undisclosed email to call for a "comprehensive federal review" of the RCMP and its policies on Tasers.
"It should look at whether or not . . . the culture of the RCMP is broken and whether or not it is in need of a major overhaul," Dosanjh said in an interview.
"And if it is, what are the recommendations for that overhaul."
Most of this Canadian Press story focuses on reactions to the late release of the email, RCMP explanations of the late release, how the late release delays the inquiry, and various other double-speak obfuscation.
I'm not sure if Occam's Razor applies here, but past experience with all police, military and government authorities in the history of the universe point to a simple explanation: cover up.
On a related note, here's a good letter to the Globe and Mail this week:
While I applaud the editorial board for its position on Mr. Abdelrazik, it must be chided on one point: You forgot to warn him that, after landing in Canada, under no circumstances should he approach a stapler.
Laurelyn Jenkins, Vancouver