Tuesday, November 20, 2007

U of A Student Paper argues RCMP not to blame in RCMP Taser Killing

When reading the a problematic article titled "Tools, not police, to blame for death" by Paul Owen (probably a journalism student at the University of Alberta, writing for "the Gateway") , I tried to leave the following comment at their site, but it was "rejected" (error code 4 ?). His writing is in quotation marks, mine follows.

"Police officers are trained to prevent a violent action, not to react to one."
You must be kidding yourself, Mr. Paul Owen.
"but to place the blame for it solely on the shoulders of the four officers who simply did what they were trained to do"
Did you watch the same video I watched?
- I saw that these officers were using excessive (and evidently lethal) force in a situation that could have been resolved by good policing, assessing the situation better. Are you sure they were simply doing as they were trained to do?

All that this confused man needed was a little help (an interpretor would have helped). Never did the RCMP consider waiting for an interpretor. Why not? That's what you should ask the RCMP.

He never attacked bystanders, and in the opinion of many witnesses and several experts it seemed very unlikely Robert Dziekanski would have attacked anyone.

- What they should have known is the following, taken from the "office of the police complaint commissioner review" on "taser technology" p.39):

5. What role does restraint play in sudden and unexpected death proximate to restraint?

Subjects who struggle with police are almost always restrained in a face-down position.

If subjects are pinned down with a great deal of weight placed on their shoulders and back for a long period of time it may hamper their ability to breathe rapidly enough.
Did you watch the video? All four were on top of Robert Dziekanski, who was in a face-down position for about 90 seconds while being handcuffed, and then he lost conscience.

- We DO KNOW that the RCMP lied about this RCMP Taser Killing. Lying has often been the RCMP strategy to protect their own but never was there a video in which reality appears to be significantly different from the RCMP whitewash/lies.

- These officers were also trained to resuscitate any person in the need of CPR. Did YOU see a single officer applying CPR? There were four of them present. None of them helped him when it mattered most; the point between life and death. These four officers are all guilty of gross neglect, if you ask me.

In short, your story is based on two false premises:
1) The police is not trained to react to an violent action. -
2) The four officers simply did what they were trained to do.

Once you've got the premises right, then proceed to argue what's proper or not.

- The Gateway: Tools not Police to blame for death


David Wilson said...

the Globe (at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20071119.wbctaser19/BNStory/National/?cid=al_gam_nletter_newsUp) tells me that citizens are getting ugly with Mounties in public over the murder of Robert Dziekanski, throwing eggs, 'acting out' and what not; sounds very un-K-k-k-Canadian to me, but it is possible I guess - what does it look like from there?

when they killed Ian Bush I was living in St. John's and one day I called the local detachment just to talk to someone, I ended up with a secretary, said to her, "what if it was your son that they took in the back-room and shot?", she had nothing to say of course except, "why are you doing this?" (I was being very polite incidentally) so I told her that I had grown up in a Canada at a time when the police actually had an effective and compassionate public face, I am not sure she understood ... very little communication anymore with these people.

be well.

David Wilson said...

lawyer friend tells me that it is 'theoretically' possible to simply go to your local police station and lay charges, probably have to be a Canadian but maybe not, if I were there i would try it

worth a try?

Erik said...

Thanks for posting David.

very little communication anymore with these people

That's exactly what the problem is. Canada is becoming more divided than ever. Where is this going to end?

lawyer friend tells me that it is 'theoretically' possible to simply go to your local police station and lay charges, probably have to be a Canadian but maybe not, if I were there i would try it
worth a try?

You mean go to my own RCMP office and lay charges on the four officers involved? I don't know. I'll ask my own lawyer tomorrow.

If I wasn't a Canadian already, I would be reluctant to become one now, if you know what I mean.

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