Saturday, November 17, 2007

Airport surveillance video from RCMP Taser Killing could provide more evidence

There's more video of the RCMP Taser Killing of Robert Dziekanski, still in the hands of the investigators (RCMP, I suppose), which has not gone public.

[Larry] Berg [, president and CEO of the Vancouver Airport Authority,] said 14 security cameras monitor the area, and the footage from those cameras has been turned over to investigators.
The RCMP has probably been studying these tapes like crazy, to see how they can spin their own story in order to get away with manslaughter, but this time it might be harder to so than ever. The release of Paul Pritchard's video has given the whole world a good view on what went wrong, and most people agree that actions of the four policemen and their superiors were sub-standard (to say the least).

Vancouver Police recently released original surveillance footage of a 2005 Hells Angels incident downtown Vancouver. Expect some delay but demand from authorities that the surveillance footage of the RCMP Taser Killing WILL be shown too. Fair is fair.

- CBC: Vancouver Airport CEO discusses Taser victim's final hours
- CBC: Surveillance video shows attack by alleged Hells Angels members


Daniel said...

While I agree with the comment you left on my blog that serious neglect was shown on the part of the RCMP in their use of tasers. My discussion was not trying to shift the blame from the police's mistakes. My point was that the Vancouver airport staff's negligence/incompetence created an unacceptable situation. Whether the story ended in his death, a stint in the disturbed ward of the hospital, or a reunion with his mother, the airport's services neglect drove a man to become erratic. Had he not died, this story never would have even made it to the news, yet this type of neglect for people we should be welcoming into our country is too commonplace.

Erik said...

Thanks Daniel,

I agree that this killing could have been prevented by the staff: there's obviously a "problem" at the Vancouver airport that needs to be addressed because it wouldn't have been necessary for security to call on police.

We know now that calling on police is not without danger. The RCMP's only way to solve such a situation seems to be to taser someone into compliance first, ask questions later.

The next time I see a similar situation, the RCMP is the last one I will call.

It's sad to see we cannot expect a more humane and compassionate assistance from our national police force.The taser seems to have replaced good policing.

Anonymous said...

The Globe and Mail by Norman SPECTOR about the Vancouver Airport incident which you might find interesting.

Norman Spector has the ability to keep an open mind and change his position upon learning more of the you?

F) Shame on me for jumping to conclusions
December 3, 2007
Two days before Paul Pritchard's recording of the tragic end of Robert Dziekanski's life was
released to the public, I spent the evening with Mr. Pritchard and a CBC crew that was preparing
a report for The National. My role was to view the 10-minute recording and, as the CBC camera
rolled, to comment on what I was seeing. Then, reporter Darrow McIntyre - who was seated
beside me throughout - asked questions for about half an hour, before he and his colleagues
hastily packed up and made a dash for the last ferry to Vancouver.
Late Wednesday afternoon, shortly before the segment was to hit the airwaves in the Maritimes,
the CBC producer called to inform me that time constraints had required them to delete my threeminute
segment of their report. I was not upset, though I didn't relish having to explain my
disappearance to friends and acquaintances who had seen me in the program promo the evening
before. In retrospect, however, this is one time that I'm actually thankful to have ended up on the
cutting-room floor.
- 11 -
Viewing the recording that evening, my reaction was pretty much the same as that of most
Canadians who have seen it subsequently. Mr. Dziekanski did not appear aggressive or to be a
threat to any of the bystanders. Rather, he seemed to be cowering in fear, and, as I also
observed on camera, Canadians don't treat animals the way he was treated. We're a wealthy
country, and the destruction of a computer, while regrettable, is certainly not worth a man's life.
Over all, then, I was left with a mixture of sadness and disgust at what had transpired at the
Vancouver airport. As the crew was departing, the CBC producer and I agreed that the RCMP's
admonition to place the recording in context sounded silly, as it had not been edited and there
could only be one interpretation of what I had just seen.
I now believe I should have been more cautious in my evaluation.
Mr. Pritchard, after some heroic efforts on his part, had only that day recovered a DVD of his
recording from the RCMP, and it would not play on my home unit. It did, however, play on my
laptop computer, which is how I learned that he had not used a video camera to record the events
at Vancouver International Airport. The limited memory of his still camera explains why we
see only about 10 minutes of what Mr. Pritchard had witnessed over six hours.
With this knowledge, I should have picked up on Mr. Pritchard's comment that the situation
had been a lot scarier as it was unfolding. And, I might also have summoned the courage to
ask why he had not tried to help, as one woman had - a question that even professional
journalists are often asked by the public in similar circumstances. Instead, in response to several
versions of Mr. McIntyre's question regarding RCMP actions, I kept repeating that the four goodsized
officers must not have wanted to get their hair messed or their noses scratched - the only
explanation I could think of for their decision to use the taser in the circumstances shown on the
It was two weeks later that I learned from a caller to the Bill Good Show that Mr. Dziekanski was
6 feet 9 inches tall, which had not been widely reported. In these circumstances, I would ask
myself what the airport security people told the RCMP when they called for assistance, and what
was in the minds of the officers who sped to the airport to deal with the situation.
It must not be an easy time to be a Mountie these days; several RCMP officers have fallen in the
line of duty recently, while the organization itself has been going through a bad patch and its
reputation has deservedly taken a beating over the past several years.
Still, RCMP officers are entitled to the same legal protections that we afford in British Columbia
to, say, a man like Robert Pickton. Frankly, I'm ashamed of myself for having rushed to judgment
of the officers involved in the death of Mr. Dziekanski, before the requisite investigations hear
from them and from all the bystanders who witnessed the full events that evening along with Mr.

Eric said...

Norman Spector did write his initial story with an "open mind". Unfortunately he fell back into his traditional neo-con law and order mode; and that conservative mode is as far from an open-mind mode as one can get.

Nice try though. Did you read my "Belinda Stronach is a bitch" post on Mr. Spector too? I think Norman is so mature.

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