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Friday, November 16, 2007

Robert Dziekanski and the RCMP

Once again, of course, we see in the case of the RCMP and Robert Dziekanski an example of how, when taken out of context, a short video can have a galvanizing effect upon public opinion.  I’m not a law enforcement officers – nor have I received law enforcement training.  But I do have common sense and, unlike many people, I believe that I have the ability to separate logic from emotion.

Is it a tragedy that Robert Dziekanski died?  Of course it is.  Should we blame the RCMP members in question for what happened?  I believe that we should not.

Watch the whole YouTube video – not the short bits that have been played elsewhere.  In this case, a clip without context – and without careful viewing – is meaningless.

In this case, the facts are these: the RCMP was called to respond to a case of a man who appeared to be dangerously out of control.  Again, watch the whole video.   The man is behaving in an extremely erratic fashion, waving what appears to be a table around and throwing items – presumably other people’s property, I might add – to the ground.

Airport security is called to respond.  They quickly conclude that the situation is beyond their pay grade and call for further help.

The RCMP members arrive at the scene.  They are confronted by a violent and obviously out-of-control man.  When confronted by them, he remains confrontational.  According to the RCMP – and there seems to be no reason to disbelieve them on this point – he initially responded and the grabbed a stapler.  That’s consistent with what is seen on the video.

At that point – in that split second – the police officers made the decision to use their Tasers.  Some question that decision, which is their right.  But I think that, frankly, it is simply beyond dispute that – at the point the RCMP arrived and confronted the man – that the use of force to subdue him was necessary.

Now, of course, some might ask why actual physical force was not used.  And, within the context of this discussion, two words should obviously be called to mind: Rodney King.  The police are, quite understandably, hesitant to use their batons to administer beatings to people – even abundantly necessary beatings – for the obvious reason that someone may be filming and that fifteen out-of-context seconds might then be endlessly replayed on the news.   Of course, the risk to the members involved might also be added to that mix – but I personally have little doubt that the move towards the extensive use of Tasers, pepper spray, and so forth by law enforcement is directly related to the desire to avoid the highly unphotogenic results of the traditional beating.

And anyways, based upon his actions, there is little reason to believe that a single blow would have been enough to subdue this man.  Based on what I’ve seen, the only way to subdue him through the route described would have been either to wrestle him to the ground and hold him there – something which could have been equally fatal and potentially injurious to the RCMP members – or to beat him unconscious.  Or perhaps both.

I’m no shill for the police.  Anyone who knows me knows that.  I’m not blind.  I know that those who enforce the laws are merely human.  As it happens, I disagree with a great number of the laws of the land and, in general, feel that the police would be better off finding other things to do than much of what they do on a day-to-day basis (I’m talking, mostly, about various forms of annoying traffic enforcement here and the like). 

But, at the same time I believe that it is vitally necessary for us to defend the guardians of society when they require it.  These RCMP members responded appropriately to a split-second problem that confronted them.  They did their jobs.  To demand that they be punished now, to salve the public conscience, is frankly obscene.

No, what blame there is to be laid here must be apportioned elsewhere.

Perhaps some rests with Customs.  Maybe some with the airport.  Though, I might add, that those whose knees might jerk at the airport for not being able to instantly translate this fellow’s words ought to contemplate the cost of keeping translators for every conceivable language on staff.

While we’re at it, we might also ask some other hard questions.  For example – I would be curious to know why, exactly, a forty year-old man who didn’t speak a single word of English was immigrating to Canada to live with his mother.  While Mr. Dziekanski may well have been a kind and good man, he doesn’t exactly seem to fit the profile of someone who would be high up the list of people this country’s economy required.  Perhaps it might be that some special circumstances underlay his arrival here.   But I have no knowledge of any.

I would also add that, as hard as it is for some to hear, a great deal of the blame for what happened must fall upon Mr. Dziekanski.  It is taking multicultural naiveté to the absolute extreme to argue that, simply because this man found himself in a foreign airport in a frustrating situation, he was thereby excused from all norms of civilized behaviour. 

We have reason to be sad when someone dies in circumstances such as these.  But we should not rush to judgement against the police nor should we take leave of our own senses in an orgy of compassion.

Posted by Adam T. Yoshida on November 16, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink


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Every one still seems to be in shock...without being tasered? Hmmm..Truth to it's core is capable of stunning people in muliples- FYI for our RCMP.

Posted by: ds | 2007-11-21 9:00:26 AM


Posted by: ds | 2007-11-21 9:24:10 AM

ds ~

Orgasms? :)

Posted by: obc | 2007-11-21 9:28:45 AM


That was am intelligent Post

Posted by: ds | 2007-11-21 10:31:12 AM


CPR is cardio pulmonary resusitation, and requires both chest compressions and air to be forced into the lungs.

If a person does not have the tools to force air into the lungs, all the chest compressions in the world will be a waste of time.

The airport should have had trained people there, with the tools to do the job of first AID.

Police do not carry all those tools around with them, as to do that they would be burdened down so heavy with equipment that it would be silly. Next thing you know they will have to be their own fire department as well.

Yesteryear--CPR made use of mouth to mouth. Would you mouth to mouth a guy like that? I sure would not. Police have a duty to protect themselves as well as others. If you find out after the fact that a person's life was saved but the police got hepatitus and will die shortly, what good has been done? We don't pay these people to kill themselves, and to suggest otherwise would be unethical. So, the analysis of the situation on the medical intervention is far more complicated than what meets the eye.

I feel that when the push comes to shove, that the Airport will be found to have been negligent in their dealing with the guy--and by calling in the police at the last second, the merely passed the buck over and set up a situation that proved fatal.

And I do not think it is reasonable that it should be mandatory for police to do direct mouth to mouth. If that were my job and someone told me that I had to do that, I would quit, as no job is worth losing your life over. Some people might take the risk--but if police, who handle people every day, were demanded to do that, they would be vectors for the spread of disease--let alone bring back these germs to their families. Knowing, after the fact, that the person does not have a disease, does not change matters, as it is next to impossible to enforce testing. Would you want to be married to someone who was required in their jobs to do mouth to mouth?

We owe responsibility to those we have trusted with our safety. 30 years ago, before needles, AIDS and HEP was an issue, people did mouth to mouth without a concern. We know more about the matter than we did before, and we cannot ignore the importance of police ensuring safety for themselves--otherwise we are asking them to be victims.

I wonder what the regulations are for police by WCB. I am sure they have allot to say about the matter.

Posted by: Lady | 2007-11-21 10:47:57 AM

lol, I just noticed the multiples part--it seems to me that it was better for obc than it was for ds.

Posted by: Lady | 2007-11-21 10:52:49 AM

They're waking up!

All the noise in parliament is not in response to a minority few that cannot see the truth for what it is;

It is in response to those of us who refuse to tolerate murder by the hands of our authorities

Posted by: ds | 2007-11-21 11:07:06 AM

Lady ~

At least some people still have a sense of humour! :)

Posted by: obc | 2007-11-21 11:25:48 AM

Yesteryear--CPR made use of mouth to mouth. Would you mouth to mouth a guy like that?

How does one respond to that?

If it was all i had to save a life, Lady, I have to say; YES! i would try to do what i could - even for you!

Posted by: ds | 2007-11-21 11:25:57 AM

You should apply for the position of mouth-to-mouth "resurectionist" at Vancouver International Airport ds. You could take the graveyard shift for starters...

Posted by: andré | 2007-11-21 11:58:23 AM

And ds, if you had the job and had to do mouth to mouth on a daily basis, I would not want your lips to come into contact with mine--I can tell you that much.

Actually, given your lack of understanding of disease, you can keep your lips to yourself--you quite possibly already carry some aweful disease.

Plus, your spouse or partner would also not want your mouth to come into contact with them, if your job was to go around doing mouth to mouth to anyone and everyone.

And hopefully, you would not want to kiss your children, for that matter--and give them some disgusting disease.

I would expect that medical intervention would use clean resources--otherwise police would be infected and one would be saved just to die from some awful disease.

Like I said before, we do not permit police to sign up and kill themselves, by doing things that are stupid. Just because they wear a uniform does not mean they are immune to catching all diseases.

You don't see the big picture now do you?

You don't see the magnitude now do you?

Or maybe you are the stuff that the police need, and you can go join and be a better police officer, and keep your mouth clean and save lives, because that is what police are suppossed to do.

That is, after all, why pretty much every single police officer out there has joined the police force--to help others. And yet in the magnitude, they also have a responsibility to protect themselves--a responsibility with which you do not seem to have.

You sound like a danger to yourself.

You are either a person who could be seen as very brave--or you are simply ignorant and looking to hate other people for that which you really have no intention on doing in the first place. You are not going to be a police officer--in fact I bet you would fail the entry examination.

In fact further to that--I bet that if you arrived on the scene of an accident, that you would be a hazard--not only to yourself, but also the people around you--because you don't see the big picture.

But don't let me stop you from saying you would do something that you really have no intention of doing--like doing police work--oh no, that would mean getting off your high horse, and going out there, and touching people who might have a horrible disease--oh no, you would not do that--hypocrit.

Posted by: Lady | 2007-11-21 12:00:57 PM


ds could go and volunteer to do all the mouth to mouth...actually that sounds so disgusting--sounds worse than that reality TV that required people to eat disgusting worms or beef-schlongs, called "Fear Factor".

Posted by: Lady | 2007-11-21 12:27:55 PM

This is amazing not one of you murder fans have a response to the most important point on the matter:

All the noise in parliament is not in response to a minority few that cannot see the truth for what it is;

It is in response to those of us who refuse to tolerate murder by the hands of our authorities

Posted by: ds | 21-Nov-07 11:07:06 AM

Posted by: ds | 2007-11-21 1:28:09 PM

With all the attention this case is deservedly receiving, owing mainly to the ten minutes of cellphone video-recording, I can't help but wonder:

What would have been the public response if the videotaping had been handled properly for the interrogation room in which Ian Bush was shot in the back of the head? (22 year old mill worker, arrested for having an open beer at a hockey arena, and for giving a false name when questioned by the RCMP, in B.C., Canada)

There have been dozens of in-custody deaths in Canada over the past few years. Google it if you doubt my claim. We are a basically law abiding country, with a small population. I feel that part of the reaction here, is that the numbers of in custody deaths are piling up, and ordinary citizens are having enough of it.

A lot of Lady's arguments follow current perceptions within the police force, which is in part, a result of how they are trained and equipped. But, as taxpayers in a democratic country, we can advocate for change in the training, equipping, and monitoring of our police forces.

It would be natural for there to be resistance to any change, that is human nature. But seriously, ask yourself, "What kind of country do you want to live in?"

The police need to be differently trained, differently equipped, differently monitored, so that they are in a position to help us as much as possible, with as few harmfull side-effects as possible (both for themselves, and for the civilians they are there to protect).

That way, we as Canadians, can live closer to our ideals in a just and civilized society, while also getting the best value for our tax dollars. Doesn't this sound reasonable, even to you, Lady?

Posted by: Harph | 2007-11-21 1:39:17 PM

Well said, Harph.

You encapsulated it beautifully.

Posted by: Speller | 2007-11-21 1:45:20 PM

Of course, Harph, that is what we do in Canada when things are not going as well as we think they should. We study the matter and change it. But let us fae it, soft on drugs and crime has caused people to think they can do crimes, and that the police are wrong when the police do their jobs--to stop people from committing crimes.

I would be interested in a non-white-washed professional report on the subject of taser use in general. And I agree, you cannot give a paramilitary force certain tools for them to do their job--certain rules and policies--and then complain that the outcome is not what you intended in the first place.

There is also a big difference between discussing the matter in terms of material and policies, and condemning a force for doing the job we gave them to do in the first place.

I do not feel it has been encapsulated properly at all. In fact--by removing the discussion from the specific and leading it to the general, and leaving it there, you have avoided the subject at hand, which is what happenned to the man and whether a real wrong was committed in the police work. That is where the debate is, and is continueing to be at this point in time.

Of course, there are some people who would like to see tasers removed from use.

I say that if you remove tasers, then you have to accept responsibility for tasking the police with the job that they have been tasked with in the first place.

It is, after all, why the police do their job--it is for us--the out there general Canadian.

Police do not do theoretical work--their work is hands on. They deal with people--usually who are at their worst--out there, dealing with the worst of the worst--so this matter-of-fact analysis has to do with the real world, and not what looks and feels pretty. Nothing you can say about most police work is pretty. They deal with all sorts of people, in their worst behaviour. So when you say that tasers should be removed from service--you ahve to consider the over-all and far-reaching implications--that people, when they come into contact with police, are not happy, are not usually behaveing themselves, do not act well towards police, and are a threat to the police members.

If we listened to some people, the police would not have uniforms, and they would be tasked to do their work in bunny suits, just because it makes some people feel better when they see them doing their work.

As for the sheer numbers of people in custody dieing--you ever wonder why?

There are many reasons, and a few of which is the increased proliferation of particular drugs, and the sheer numbers of mentally ill people who live on and off the streets. Plus, the fact that the population in Canada is growing. A crucial point in this fact is that when a person first comes to Canada, they are vulnerable and more likely to be a problem to police, just because they do not know the rules and the laws of Canada. It is no coincidence that there are ways of behaving, in other countries, that are unaaceptible here in Canada. And I do not believe that the way the man behaved is acceptible in any country in Europe.

And last--the man was tasered and he died. If it is the fault of policy that the man died, then the policy will have to be changed--or modified. And that will have to be done in respect to both the safety of the public, the individuals and the police themselves. Anything short of that is biased and bad analysis.

Posted by: Lady | 2007-11-21 2:25:00 PM

If it is the fault of policy that the man died, then the policy will have to be changed--or modified.

At the very least ADD common sense

Posted by: ds | 2007-11-21 2:32:57 PM

>"If we listened to some people, the police would not have uniforms, and they would be tasked to do their work in bunny suits, just because it makes some people feel better when they see them doing their work."

Actually the police used to wear light blue shirts, most of them, and look at lot less like the SS than they do these past 10 years.

I suppose, like the sports teams that seem to be favouring black these days, they do it to intimidate people and have thrown the "policeman is your friend concept" under the bus.

I do not think tasers should be removed from the police inventory, although I could be wrong.

I think non-violent roads should be properly explored before the resort to force.
I don't see that that happened in this case and I want to know that they will in the future.

Posted by: Speller | 2007-11-21 2:42:47 PM

Here is a link to a story that just broke on CBC a 1:00.Keep in mind this is an unarmed woman with her hands handcuffed behind her back.Required reading for RCMP apologists

Posted by: ds | 2007-11-21 3:12:50 PM

In reference to the above report;
the officer in qestion was reprimanded and had his taser priveledge taken away for one year It's on Yahoo.ca news now

Posted by: ds | 2007-11-21 5:33:01 PM

My alternative encapsulation is, I feel, a more productive approach. The topic's title is: "Robert Dziekanski and the RCMP".

We could take this to mean:

1) Do we blog-lynch or exonerate the officers involved?

2) What can we learn from this event? What can we do differently? Are there any big-picture issues to be learned here, as well?

Now, (1) is problematic. Some people will have ethical issues with what transpired, other won't (or not nearly as much). In the end, it may well turn out that policy was followed to a reasonable extent, and so it's not right to punish officers that were acting correctly (nominally, at least) within their mandate.

(2) is more interesting. It allows us to move past the blame aspect of this trajedy. The police may well have acted within their mandate. So might the airport authority.

But mandates, if found ineffective, can change. We can learn, and plan anew. We can change the training, equipping, and monitoring of police, and we can change airport protocols, so that these institutions (that we all pay for with taxes, yes, even the criminals pay taxes) better serve our interests, and safeguard everyone's safety (including their own) to a maximum possible extent.

There are larger issues, as well. Canada is a representative democracy, with a powerful bureaucratic lobby. This means that we elect members to party by riding. In a given riding, the outcome may already be a forgone conclusion, so some votes matter more than others, operationally speaking.

Even with a close voting contest, the main parties are often hard to distinguish from one another. All the main parties are mostly centrist (in an attempt to garner maximum votes, instead of providing representation to real alternative choices) with leanings to the right or left. They tend to flip-flop on major issues, and there is no guarantee on how they will vote on major issues once elected.

Our only recourse, is to vote them out after four years, but then the whole process just repeats. All the main parties behave this way, so while we have a choice once every four years, actually exercising it to produce specific changes will usually be an exercise in frustration.

Add to this our powerful bureaucrasy, that often are the ones that write policies and regulations. These aren't laws, but they can impact our lives in a similar fashion, and positions within the bureaucrasy are by appointment, not election.

I feel that this systems fosters:

1) Multiple layers of authority, some elected, some not, with a real difficulty for citizens to determine who is in charge of what, and to advocate productively for specific changes.

(Case in point, this most recent incident will produce no less than four reports, all from different authorities, with no clear-cut picture of what, if anything, needs to be changed on a mandatory basis. I don't want to pre-judge, but that's been the way with previous inquiries and reports: lots of air, not enough teeth. With so many competing authorities, each one's specific mandate and it's corresponding ability to make declarative judgements becomes diffuse. It's tough to make good policy that way.)

2) Apathy and indifference in voting, since the actual act of voting isn't guaranteed to address actual issues that you want addressed, in a way that you want them addressed.

(When is the last time you specifically got to vote on a variety of proposals for when we as a country will allow our legal representatives to use lethal (and sub-lethal) force? Never, really. We get to vote Liberal, Conservative / Reform, NDP instead, none of which are specific issues, nor do they guarantee that we will be "represented" on specific issues in a way of our choosing. Which really is the whole point of voting, when it comes down to it.)

Now I'm not saying that everthing I propose is easy to apply. Much of it has holes that I'm sure you could drive a bus through. And I'm sure some of you will. But it all merits serious discussion, I hope, as we look to ways to have a positive effect on important policy in our democratic and freedom-loving homeland of Canada.

If we ever wonder why things are the way they are, it is because ordinary citizens lack a more direct influence on their country's policies.

Posted by: Harph | 2007-11-21 6:43:55 PM

Harph - Are you related to Lady? :)

Posted by: obc | 2007-11-21 6:52:38 PM

obc wrote:

"Harph - Are you related to Lady? :)"

Not that I am aware. Lady and I have very different opinions, so I'm not sure what you are implying, in any case. Is it our long posts, perhaps? :)

Posted by: Harph | 2007-11-21 7:03:12 PM

Why? Because he is verbose? I doubt he's Jewish--then again I doubt you and I are related--except for maybe back in Israel or something like that--2,000 years ago.

Posted by: Lady | 2007-11-21 7:05:13 PM

I guess the wine is having its effect. I was trying to be funny. No offense was meant. :)

Posted by: obc | 2007-11-21 7:07:43 PM


"Officer Reprimanded After Accidentally Hurting Self During Taser Checkout"

Not much of a pay back...but it's a start.

Are you yet convinced these toys might be a little dangerous for people with no common sense?

Posted by: ds | 2007-11-21 7:11:12 PM

obc, don't be silly, I thought it was hugely funny--regretably you did not see the dry humour. I will remember to place lol there next time to remove the ambiguity.

Posted by: Lady | 2007-11-21 7:15:23 PM

Glad to hear that, Lady. :)

Posted by: obc | 2007-11-21 7:18:08 PM

d s,

Repremands for accidentally dischargeing weapons is a completely different matter from what happenned at the airport.

I have not heard the report, but if anyone hurts themself with their own weapon, whether lethal or otherwise, as in accidentally, then discipline is typical.

Sub-lethal weapons are still dangerous. If they tickled, could you imagine what would happen? Officers would be charged for purposely discharging tickling devices on....

Perhaps that is what you have in mind when you think about mechanisms that could be used instead of tasers. You really should market the idea--could save allot of grief. I can see the headlines though--the Toronot Star front page report: Man tickled till he urinated himself--Public Outraged!

Posted by: Lady | 2007-11-21 7:20:26 PM

My last thoughts on this tonight are that people really need to think about what it is that police oficers are tasked to do--and how really difficult it is, to do this work-policing people. People behave very very badly at times--and people will try to get away with murder--they try that one often. So, although the system is not perfect, and in need of improvement, I still believe that the system we have is by far one of the best in the world. People though, can be brute idiots, and are the number one reason why we have a police force. Having said that, we have our laws, and if we did not have our laws, and were lawless--like Gaza--we would be living in something that would be totally unlike what we are accustomed to. In the end, we need police--like it or not. Not everyone is civilized--unfortunatley. If we were all perfect little--I don't know what you would call us--then tickling devices would do. I could imagine what people would say to the officers--oh stop, you are tickling me to....

Posted by: Lady | 2007-11-21 7:26:33 PM

Wine is wonderful. Someone needs to invent a way to share wine over the internet. :D

Lady, why do you suppose I am Jewish ... or not?

Read my thread here:


where I, as blackrazor (my gaming handle), complained about that (Canada B.C.) site's anti-semitic content, which unfortunately, I only made worse by complaining.

Afterwards, I contacted:
BnaiBrith (Canada's ADL representative), the site's Paypal, Google (and Google adSense), and Gamesites200 advertising, RCMP and my local police force, and even Lucasfilm (they also used lightsabers, presumably without permission) ... all in an effort to shut their pro-Nazi holocaust-denying anti-semitic ranting down.

That stuff really makes my blood boil, especially knowing that young, potentially impressionable children will be visiting game sites such as these.

I'm old enough to have family that went through the holocaust. They are very old now (in their late 70s and 80s) but what they went through was undeniably real and truthfully "stranger than fiction". Heart rending and awful. There aren't words in the English language, or in any language really, to describe it adequately.

Posted by: Harph | 2007-11-21 7:27:30 PM

Harph--so your parents went through hashoah? Please tell us more. Truly tragic. Which country and did they survive one of the camps?

Posted by: Lady | 2007-11-21 7:34:44 PM


"My last thoughts on this tonight are that people really need to think about what it is that police oficers are tasked to do--and how really difficult it is, to do this work-policing people."

It's not about the reprimand, It's about the lack of Common Sense!

Seriously; shooting themself indicates dangerous toys being put into the hands of a people with NO Common Sense.
Wouldn't it be just nasty if that happened in the middle of a dangerous situation?
No laughing tickles there.

Posted by: ds | 2007-11-21 7:49:25 PM

...somehow, I think the point of the discussion was the gross error on the YVR RCMP resulting in a death.

Whether by taser or by knee/choke the point MADE was they screwed up SERIOUS. It results in a death when they make mistakes.

Big responsibility. It takes courage and no lawyers to own up to this gross miscarriage of justice.

THAT is the point of the discussion, not whether or not we need cops or don't appreciate them.

Stay focused. Someone died because of this.

Posted by: tomax7 | 2007-11-21 8:01:10 PM


One of my uncles (married to a paternal aunt), now in his late 70s, was a partizan in the forests, as a teenager. He, along with others, did what they could, to disrupt german supply, mostly by blowing up rail lines, in Poland or Russia, if memory serves.

He told me of stories how he watched in the forest, as his entire family was gunned down by the Nazis in their village. Also, how the Nazis would swing infants around by their legs, smashing their heads against boulders.


I have two cousins, on my mother's side, married, who survived the camps. They have numbers burned into their arms. Their den is covered wall to wall to with black-and-white photgraphs they collected of that time.

The wife is in her 80s now, her husband and lifelong friend just passed away this past year. What amazed me was how upbeat and positive they were as people, in spite of what they went through. The husband tried to learn how to surf the web a few years back, even though computers were completely foreign to him.


We have some neighbours, 4 blocks down. Our children go to the same school as theirs. They have a relative that survived the death camps. He was one of those that dug up corpses from the pits, for cremation in the ovens.


I have countless cousins, great-uncles and great-aunts, that I never saw, except in photographs, because they did not survive.

Posted by: Harph | 2007-11-21 8:07:07 PM

To be truthful, from all that I have experienced, seen, and read, I am fearful of authority, and especially fearful of the enforcers of that authority.

I believe that law enforcement has been trained to be fearful of the risks that out-of-control civilians can pose to them. They have been taught to take rapid, powerful, and decisive action to counter that percieved threat in their law enforcement duties. The Police Act and general policy backs them up in this regard, as well.

Owing in part to this, and things woven into my life, I fear them right back.

But logically, I know that fear accomplishes nothing.

I also know that those officers may have been within their rights according to the Police Act and general policy with what happened in that airport. As painful as that is to admit, it may well be true, and if so, then law enforcement officers deserve the justice of not being "sacrificed" just because we got to see an ugly result that repulsed and embaressed us.

Even though a human being died, and it's a total tragedy, I urge everyone to focus away from blog- lynching (which only spends energy in a place where it likely won't help anyone). If these officers acted according to protocol, then there is no point attacking them. If they broke protocol, then they will be punished; but, don't assume that protocol has been broken, no matter how ugly the result.

Our energy should be directed at the laws and policies themselves, and at the training, equipment, and monitoring that law enforcement officials recieve.

We also need to look at whether the will of the people (assuming that will doesn't violate the charter of rights and freedoms) is effectively and democratically translated into policy by our current political process, and what changes can be made to improve things on that front.

We are increasingly connected, by technology, and by choice. That can yield great boons to help us as citizens, to make great progress for our Country's ideals and standards, but we have to work together to achieve those goals. I dream of living in a way where our input as citizens (as long as it is constitutionally legitimate) factors into the making of policy.

I'm much more interested in seeing vast, positive policy change, rather than spending energy on crucifying these officers if they indeed did act within their mandate, even if only nominally. If we work for lasting change, instead, then perhaps the premature loss of Robert Dziekanski from this world can be given some positive meaning.

Posted by: Harph | 2007-11-21 8:50:10 PM

"If these officers acted according to protocol, then there is no point attacking them. If they broke protocol, then they will be punished; but, don't assume that protocol has been broken, no matter how ugly the result"

Don't assume? First WHAT is the protocol?

A. Let a guy loose in a high security environment like an International Airport that will be hosting Global Olympics in ~3 years?

B. Let a guy vent for two hours in a high secured area (let in by accident according to an eye witness)

C. Don't bother to ask what the h#ll he's doing in that place let alone 10 hours in an highly sensitive airport?

D. Don't bother bringing someone who can at least speak one other language than French?

E. Look dumbfounded at a guy dead on the floor and not proceed with CPR?

F. Look even dumber and call a farther away EMS than the YVR one (granted they may have been busy).

G. Give a press release full of improper information and withhold evidence from the public?

H. Draw attention to the taser and not the knee to neck or constrain to breathe?

I. Taser a guy twice because, well 4 guys bigger and taller can't touch a guy on the ground writhing around in pain?

So yes, sorry, let's not assume, because you know, what assuming does.

And don't include me in on it.

Posted by: tomax7 | 2007-11-21 8:58:32 PM

Let's also not assume:

An RCMP spokesman, Sgt. Pierre Lemaitre, was heavily criticized for providing a false version of events prior to the public release of the video. He stated that Dziekański "continued to throw things around and yell and scream", after the arrival of the police officers, which was later revealed to be false in the video

Before the video was released to the public, the RCMP repeatedly claimed that only three officers were at the scene. There were actually 4 officers who arrived at the scene.

The RCMP also said that they did not use pepper spray because of the risk it would have posed to bystanders. The video, however, shows that the incident occurred in a room that was separated from bystanders by a thick glass wall.

Posted by: tomax7 | 2007-11-21 9:13:26 PM

...put spread the blame, rightfully so:

The airport has also been criticized over the incident, particularly regarding security cameras that were not functioning, no translation services available for communicating with non-English speakers, the airport supervisor's failure to call the airport's own paramedics resulting in a twelve-minute wait for city paramedics to arrive, and for staff not helping Dziekański's mother locate her son.

Airport security has been roundly criticized for not assisting Dziekański during his many hours in the airport. Once he became agitated, security guards made little attempt to communicate with him or de-escalate the situation.

- from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Dzieka%C5%84ski_Taser_incident

Posted by: tomax7 | 2007-11-21 9:16:19 PM

tomax7, I agree with you that all those points you bring up reek to high heaven. There are more besides.

1) Tasers should only be used in situations where you would normally use more lethal force, such as a firearm. Not for compliance, not for submission, and not for holding a tiny stapler.

2) One taser shot, and that's it. If it doesn't work, then move onto something else. Multiple taser shots dramatically increase the chance of a fatal outcome.

3) Pressure on the chest and neck is very dangerous. You are stopping someone from breathing that way. Not recommended. You are better off nightsticking (or even shooting) a kneecap, rather than cutting off someone's ability to breathe.

4) Once a suspect is writhing on the floor, they should be considered immobolized, submissive, or whatever, unless they get up again. Just because they are too busy writhing in agony to comply with further instructions, is no reason to make them "submit" more.

5) The "milk and cookies" was originally mentioned in jest, but something like that is actually useful for diffusing a potentially volatile situation. Once the subject is under control, and calm, and you've found a translator to read him his rights, then you can arrest, fine, and deport him. But risking his death is overkill.

All the stuff you mention (and the ones I added)should be part of law enforcement policy (in my opinion), but is it?

If it isn't, then you can't punish the officers retroactively, but you can change the policy.

That's what I want. Sweeping change. Let's make everyone as safe and happy as we can.

Posted by: Harph | 2007-11-21 9:22:47 PM

A man who witnessed a Taser incident at Vancouver International Airport last Sunday said security at the facility and RCMP are to blame for the death of a distraught man in the terminal who didn't understand English.

Lorne Meltzer, a corporate valet, told CBC News Thursday he was at the airport picking up a client just before 1:30 a.m. Sunday and found himself facing Robert Dziekanski.

He said he tried to calm an agitated Dziekanski, 40, in the public arrivals area and unwittingly let the Polish immigrant back into the secure international arrivals area, using his pass to open the one-way doors.

Lorne Meltzer insists the RCMP were too hasty to use the Taser. Lorne Meltzer insists the RCMP were too hasty to use the Taser.

RCMP insist that the man was zapped two times, but Sima Ashrafinia, who was at the airport and recorded the incident on her cellphone, told CBC News on Monday that RCMP officers stunned Dziekanski four times.

Posted by: tomax7 | 2007-11-21 9:27:12 PM

...agreed Harph, changes needed to be made. Note the word changes, as in past tense.

Unfortunately we as a society don't move very fast until there is a death. Like crosswalks lights after a kid gets run over and so on.

I wish the best comes out of this dark cloud of a police force, but the beast needs to be slain in broad daylight, not behind closed doors.

If people, or that one fellow didn't make his video public, one HAS to wonder when this would have become an issue.

One man died. But wait, others have died in the past so why now?

Because this guy was clearly innocent being bullied by a goon squad regiment.

With classic CYA I never knew the RCMP said they couldn't use pepper spray because of too many people around.


Posted by: tomax7 | 2007-11-21 9:31:18 PM

...funny how time will bring out the truth.

Meanwhile back at the ranch Richmond RCMP Sgt. Pierre Lemaitre says:

"He was on his back, and being combative and still fighting. Even though he had received what they call pulses, two pulses from Taser, he was still out of control," Lemaitre told CBC Newsworld on Monday morning.

Lemaitre denied links between the Taser jolts and the man's death, saying deaths are often not directly related to the stun gun but rather caused by some pre-existing medical condition or drug use.

Posted by: tomax7 | 2007-11-21 9:39:00 PM

Tomax7, if you want a truly gut wrenching story, google: "Ian Bush" rcmp

The video that was supposed to be in the interrogation room either wasn't turned on, was malfunctioning, or went missing.

I wondered aloud, in an earlier post, what would have happened had that been videotapped and the video released.

In this Dziekanski case, it's also true that the story was very low key, until the video of the event emerged.

Video is the ultimate impartial witness. Assuming it hasn't been doctored (relatively easy for an expert to detect), it makes a great witness that doesn't "alter events to suit their perceptions".

That's why a story can change dramatically if video surfaces. And thank goodness for that.

Posted by: Harph | 2007-11-21 9:43:50 PM

I dare say these images will shock our nation's conscience.

The digital recording of Dziekanski's death in the early morning of Oct. 14 at Vancouver International Airport is destined to become Canada's Rodney King shame.


Posted by: tomax7 | 2007-11-21 9:43:55 PM


Trigger-ready Mounties who Tasered, then pounced on their frightened, stricken victim as he squirmed and lay dying at airport arrivals in Richmond must not shoulder all the blame.

YVR officials and security personnel had the confused, agitated non-English-speaking man in their sights for almost 10 hours before the cops barged in -- but not one of them extended a hand to the obviously troubled immigrant.

Vancouver International Airport has 700 candid cameras posted throughout -- at least 14 in the area where 40-year-old Robert Dziekanski was ultimately brought down. Why didn't an employee question the prolonged hanging about of a distressed, solitary arrivee?

Yet the home video shot by a B.C. man arriving from China shows guards standing by, twiddling their thumbs.

Couldn't one have handed the guy a cup of coffee, or water or made some other pacifying gesture of conciliation?

What's the point of having all those costly surveillance eyes and skilled watchdogs if they're only going to strut tough and wait while someone else figures out what to do?


Posted by: tomax7 | 2007-11-21 9:46:53 PM

Watch CBC's interview with his Mom. Reminds me too much of my Mom. She's a Hungarian immigrant who raised me solely by her hard work. I remember how upset she was when I got lost in Paris, France one time.

Imagine finding out after the fact all this could have been avoided.


But the coldness of the RCMP continues. Note the part where she arrives after bussing it back to Vancouver and has to WAIT 20 minutes in their office for someone to tell her her son is dead.

meantime three cops walk by her and look at her that made her more nervous. The female cop breaking the news even called her by a wrong name to boot.

Plus she's standing when they tell her after initially sitting. Stupidity abounds with that detachment.

Posted by: tomax7 | 2007-11-21 10:50:58 PM


This so typical of You to hide when the heat of the facts are turned up high.

I'm quite curious where all your defense for the "Public Protectors" are right now!

Do you get it yet?

Posted by: ds | 2007-11-21 11:38:22 PM


I did not know anything about the "Ian Bush" murder until- Robert Dziekanski.

I can hardly believe that could have been wiped under the carpet.

I agree, Thank God, for the Paul gentleman and his camera...Justice for Robert and his Mom and all Canadians.

It really makes me sick to hear there are Canadians that actually defend our "Finest" THUGS!

And again, I say to you LADY You must be so proud!

Posted by: ds | 2007-11-21 11:46:54 PM

...i have a feeling there is going to be another carpet sweeping happening as ds and Harph mentioned.

Didn't even hear about the other one.

What hurts this so much is all this could have been avoided.

An innocent man died. Like the black on death row for a crime he didn't commit, the system is failing us.

If this continues, Clockwork Orange is not too far behind.

Wake up people, this isn't a bunch of dipper heads protesting at a global warming gathering, this was manslaughter.

"The unlawful killing of a human being without malice or premeditation, either express or implied; distinguished from murder, which requires malicious intent."

Unfortunately things are being smoke screened with the review on tazers and not on circumstances surrounding why Mr. Dz died.

It wasn't just the RCMP. Customs and YVR Security have an innocent man's blood on their hands.

Posted by: tomax7 | 2007-11-22 9:37:30 AM

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