6.21.2009

was the taser abuse that killed robert dziekanski premeditated?

In case - while you were distracted by Liberal bluster and the revolution in Iran - you missed this.
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

5 comments:

Stephanie said...

I love Laurelyn Jenkins letter!!

John F said...

I'm just glad that the inquiry commissioner will be allowed to make a finding of misconduct against the officers. It seems like that's the only way they'll ever be brought to account!

impudent strumpet said...

That's just weird, and none of the commentary seems to think it's anywhere as weird as I think it is. Is it normal in general for police to decide what weapons/methods they're going to use when they haven't even seen the situation with their own eyes yet?

L-girl said...

I found it quite strange, too. I understand there's a protocol - if this happens, we do that. But how can you assess a situation you haven't yet seen?

John F, yes, it would seem so.

Stephanie, yes!! I do too.

Values said...

To some this might seem unbelievable. But there is at least one other incident that indicates the RCMP might well be making premeditated decisions to use the Taser regardless of the situation. On July 21, 2007 Adam Dormer was Tasered five times by Constable Casey Murphy in Banff Alberta – his crime, making friendly overtures to the officer. Murphy was with another constable, Marc-Andre Fournier. Dormer has always believed that Murphy was out to impress Fournier by using the Taser. Why else would he have been Tasered? He was not hostile, combative, argumentative or intoxicated.

Dormer was issued a by-law infraction and charged with resisting arrest. He was ultimately found not guilty; Judge John Reilly said the officers had no reason to arrest him in the first place, that his charter rights had been violated (he was Tasered three times while in handcuffs)and that Constable Murphy provided deliberately false evidence. The Crown moved to appeal the verdict but on June 12, 2009 the Appeal Court judge dismissed the motion, agreeing with the Trial Judge. Justice Marsha Erb specifically asked the Crown why the Taser had been drawn; the Crown Attorney response was “I don’t know.” Now we know – it was predetermined by Murphy that Dormer, or someone else was to be Tasered that fateful night.

Interestingly, the RCMP Taser attack on Dormer was four months before the attack on Robert Dziekanski. Had a video been available of his attack, or had he died, Mr. Dziekanski might still be alive.

Those officers that attacked Dziekanski and Dormer should suffer the full force of the law.