by matttbastard

Watch the video and The National’s report on Robert Dziekanski’s last hours alive; read pale, JJ, and Dr. Dawg;

get mad.

Demand a public enquiry. Write your MP, Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day; compose a letter to the editor of your local paper.

As Dawg observes:

Dziekanski is the 267th person (no misprint) to die in the custody of, or while being pursued by, police in BC (municipal and RCMP) since 1992. That’s about 18 people a year.

Don’t allow the media narrative to be obfuscated by idle misinformation and false balance. pale swings her mighty rhetorical hammer and nails it here:

We need to address the corporate media. Their reports in this tragedy have been slanted, and meant to cause confusion and doubt. The best report was on CBC last night. They actually asked questions, and made Mr Dziekanski appear human. Lost. Scared. Unable to communicate. [emph. mine]

Above all, keep in mind a man–Zofia Cisowski’s son–lost his life as a direct result of the willful indifference of 4 RCMP officers who, in a mere 24 seconds, chose to tase first and ask questions later (and, subsequently, tried to cover up the evidence of what would appear to be fatal complicity). Hell, even Terry O’Neill of The Western Standard–The Western Standard is “appalled” that no attempt was made to resuscitate Dziekanski.

I am, too.

Watch the video; take action; demand justice for Robert Dziekanski.


Update: Dawg, bumped from comments:

Did anyone notice what looks like a baton being smashed into Dziekanski’s head at 5:36 of segment 2 of the video at the Van Sun? See for yourselves [click 2nd sidebar link]

That is definitely a baton shot; can’t say for certain what was struck, though. [edit 11.16: As several commenters in various threads have noted, the officer in question may have been collapsing his extendable baton using the concrete floor. The sound corresponding with the jab seems to support this explanation.]

Elsewhere: Dana and Boris @ The Beaver both have amazing posts up; add them to the required reading list.


Update 2: More required reading from Alison @ Creekside, Bruce @ Canuck Attitude, Purple Library Guy @ POGGE and April Reign, whose understated yet elegantly succinct post includes a very relevant point:

Had this film shown a similar number of young persons, most particularly of colour, engaging in a similar act of aggression resulting in death there would be no end of calls for justice, for lack of mercy, for lifelong imprisonment.

The act of donning a uniform, seems these days to give one carte blanche to engage in whatever thuggery one chooses in the name of the ‘greater good’. Yet no good seems to be coming from it.


Update 3 10.16: Plz to be readings Godammitkitty.


Update 4: Getting it Right points to an NZ Herald article on the taser incident that includes the following translation of Dziekanksi’s final words:

“I want to get out, help me find the way…Police! Police! Can’t you help me?”

(h/t ACR)

Related: CanWest News Service reporter Chad Skelton highlights the gap between the official story and what the video actually shows. Most definitely required reading — in the National Post, no less.

Also, the Vancouver Sun reports today that Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day “rejected demands for public hearings into Dziekanski’s death, saying that while many Canadians might find the video disturbing, several investigations were already underway.”

Yes, several investigations that, many would argue, are pretty much guaranteed to whitewash this tragedy, instead of getting to the bottom of what happened and hopefully recommend steps to insure that something similar never happens again. Get a clue, Stockboy: the death of Robert Dziekanski has further eroded confidence in the RCMP and provoked an international firestorm. Playing ostrich is not a solution.


Update 5: CBC News just interviewed [edit: and posted this rather one-sided backgrounder featuring] University of Miami neurology professor Deborah Mash, the designated go-to ‘expert’ on bullshit cover stories “excited delirium”. The Lede has more on Professor Mash and ‘excited delirium’, which, as noted earlier this year by an NPR report, “is not recognized by professional medical associations, and [is not] listed in the chief psychiatric reference book.” Part 2 of the report is also entirely relevant, focusing on the vested interest law enforcement officials and Taser International have in marketing the dubious disorder and includes the following abridged list of individuals who have died in police custody after being tased, with the cause of death listed as ‘excited delirium’:

  • June 13, 2005 – Shawn C. Pirolozzi, 30, of Canton, Ohio, dies after police tried to subdue him with a Taser. His death certificate listed excited delirium as the cause of death. The Taser was not listed as a contributing factor.
  • April 21, 2006 — Alvin Itula, 35, dies after a struggle with Salt Lake City police. Itula led officers on a foot chase, then fought with them when the officers caught up, according to police. Officers tased Itula and also used pepper spray and a baton. Itula stopped breathing soon after. The medical examiner found that Itula died of excited delirium brought on by methamphetamine and cocaine.
  • April 24, 2006 — Jose Romero, 23, dies in Dallas police custody. He was in his underwear, screaming and holding a knife on his neighbor’s porch. Police tased him multiple times. He died shortly thereafter. The Dallas County medical examiner ruled Romero died of excited delirium.
  • Sept. 5, 2006 — Larry Noles, 52, dies in Louisville, Ky., after a struggle with police. Noles, an ex-Marine, was standing naked in the middle of a street when police were called. Police said he was agitated. They tased him two or three times. He died a few minutes later. The Jefferson County medical examiner ruled Noles died because of excited delirium and not the Taser.
  • Oct. 29, 2006 — Roger Holyfield, 17, dies after police in Jerseyville, Ill., shocked him twice with a Taser. Holyfield had been walking down a street, holding a phone in one hand and a Bible in the other, yelling that he wanted Jesus. After policed shot him with the stun gun, Holyfield went into a coma; he died the following day. A medical examiner ruled the death was probably a result of excited delirium.
  • Dec. 17, 2006 — Terill Enard, 29, dies following a disturbance at a Waffle house in Lafayette, La. He was naked and yelling, with a broken leg bone piercing his skin. Police stunned Enard with a Taser; he died several hours later. Police said the forensic report from the Lafayette Parish coroner’s office found Enard died as a result of “cocaine-induced excited delirium.”

[Edit: via MistahTibbs in comments @ The Politic, “the RCMP said after Dziekanski’s death that he was in a state of excited delirium,” according to a Canadian Press report published October 14th.]

DJ rewind:

We need to address the corporate media. Their reports in this tragedy have been slanted, and meant to cause confusion and doubt.


Update 6: via the Dawg, Aaron Unrah (!) is also mad as hell, and good on him for it. So far, the furor surrounding this tragedy appears to be nonpartisan–as it should be. Be sure to read the comments as well.


Update 7: The Man With No Point:

I am mentally ill, as many of you know. I suffer from Type One Bipolar disorder, and there have been times, when enraged, or threatened, or distressed, when I have been like Robert Dziekanski- disoriented, aggressively confused, acting out in a frantic state.

And today, I watched myself die on video.

Elsewhere: Ian Mulgrew, echoing April Reign: “Our national police force looks like a gang of thugs”; The Vancouver Province profiles Robert Dziekanski, described as “a gentle giant of a man who loved children and stargazing.” (The profile lists his height as 6’9″, not 5’10” as some have reported). The Province also reports that (surprise surprise) Taser International is denying any correlation between the use of its device and Dziekanski’s death:

“Cardiac arrest caused by electrical current is immediate,” said Steve Tuttle, vice-president of communications for Taser International in an e-mailed response to requests for an interview.

“This video indicates that the subject was continuing to fight well after the Taser application,” he wrote.

“His continuing struggle is proof that the Taser device was not the cause of his death.”

Tuttle said the incident follows the pattern of in-custody deaths.

“Historically, medical science and forensic analysis has shown that these deaths are attributable to other factors and not the electrical discharge of the Taser system,” he wrote.


We need to address the corporate media. Their reports in this tragedy have been slanted, and meant to cause confusion and doubt.


Update 8: The Toronto Star reminds us that the death of Dziekanki, a Polish national, has become an international incident:

“When I heard that scream, I screamed. I could not help it,” a weeping Maria Karulis, a member of the Polish Canadian Women’s Federation, said yesterday. “My friends and family in Poland, they tell me that they will never forget that scream. I know I will never forget seeing him fall to the ground and dying.”

Karulis said the image of RCMP officers using 50,000-volt Tasers on the agitated and erratic, but unarmed, Pole, and his obvious agony as he crashes to the floor before falling deathly silent, is jolting viewers around the globe.

This is the greatest shame Canada could put on herself to the whole world,” she said.

More from the Vancouver Sun on the response from the Polish-Canadian community; The Sun also reported Thursday that Poland’s consul general in Vancouver, Maciej Krych, is “so shocked by the video of Robert Dziekanski’s death, he has now asked his country’s Attorney General to look into the case.”

Rewind my selekta:

This is the greatest shame Canada could put on herself to the whole world“.


Update 9: Daev @ Designated Protest Zone is also ashamed. And, qua Alison, I am shamelessly pillaging the meat of his righteously awesome post because it’s just so goddamn on target:

 The terminal was basically empty, the man never posed any sort of danger to anyone (least of all four armed cops), the police readied their tasers before entering the area near Mr. Dziekanski and assessing the situation, addressed Dziekanski only in English after they had been told he did not speak the language, tasered him at least twice (the second time after they climbed on top of him) even after Dziekanski appeared relieved at the officers’ intial appearance, applied their full body weight to Dziekanski’s midsection (which can be deadly after being tasered due to respiratory muscle paralysis), and then made no attempt to revive him beyond checking for a pulse after he went totally limp. The taser in the hands of these inhuman butchers was not a “less-than-lethal” alternative, but a torture device used to shore up their own brutal authority. Repercussions? For murdering someone? Perhaps a slap on the wrist from their superiors, if we’re lucky. No thanks for the Vancouver International Airport for treating Dziekanski like some sort of caged animal for 10 hours and offering zero assistance.

And even with 8 minutes of video evidence, the RCMP have the unmitigated gall to trot this out:

“What I urge is that those watching the video, take note of that. Put what they’ve seen aside for the time being. And wait to hear the totality of the evidence at the time of the inquest,” Carr said.

Emphasis mine.


Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

26 thoughts on “Go. (UPDATES GALORE)

  1. Sorry Dawg. My fingers was flying earlier at ACR and my reply was snappy, and slightly incoherent.
    The one year old was helping me too…

    I saw that too, a HUGE bang. I think over the next few days there will be more details like that that people notice…


  2. “That is definitely a baton shot; can’t say for certain what was struck, though.”

    It seems doubtful that it was Mr. Dziekanski’s head that was struck with the baton. Those who have handled a baton before know that sometimes it’s difficult to close up the baton once it’s been extended. In fact, the only way to really do it is to smash the top end into the floor, exactly as shown in the video.

    I suspect that the baton was extended when the officers approached Mr. Dziekanski and, after he was tasered and on the ground, the baton was collapsed by smashing it on the floor so that it could be put away.


  3. I think you may be right, alccode–a couple of other commenters elsewhere have made the same point. The force used would have left its mark if Dziekanski’s head had been the target, and that would have been noticed.


  4. Jeez, I’m being pillaged all over the place today, ha!

    But, as I said at Creekside, I was shaking with anger when I wrote that post, and the more I read about this shameful act the angrier I get. What a dark day for the country.


  5. Can we find out the officers’ names? The killers are still on active duty and I think the public at the airport needs to know what they’re dealing with. I’d be happy to publish them.


  6. Matt, I think that such lobbying would address a symptom, not the disease (not that my proposal is different in that respect).

    The plain fact is that the RCMP, the “horribly broken” RCMP, needs to be disbanded, pronto, and replaced with a new federal police force that is appropriately trained, that is seriously accountable to a complaints commission with teeth, and that has a zero tolerance policy for any cop who gets out of line.


  7. I meant to add that the current RCMP culture would be impervious to such lobbying attempts in any case. At least naming the officers would be a kind of public accountability. Don’t you find it odd that the media have not come up with their identities?


  8. But as you said, publishing the names of the officers involved would only “address a symptom.” I fully agree that meaningful reform is the only answer to preventing something like this from occurring again. So what is the best means to put reform on the public agenda–a full and independent public enquiry? One that takes into account not just these recent events, but the many, many examples over the past several years (eg, Maher Arar) of how horribly broken the RCMP is?

    Having Stockwell Day in charge of the Public Safety portfolio certainly doesn’t help matters. Judging by his tenure thus far, Mr Wetsuit wouldn’t know ‘accountability’ (or competence) from Ogopogo.


  9. Hmm, not a public enquiry, though, with full subpoena powers and witness protections. Brown’s report and recommendations were toothless, amounting to a mere PR gesture.

    I’m a firm believer that sunlight is the best way to illuminate corruption. Before we can treat the disease we need to know exactly what the virus is, and then formulate a diagnosis. The fact that Day has been so resistant to calls for a public enquiry (what does he have to hide?) makes me want one even more.

    Still, will examine your arguments with more scrutiny and an open mind. But first, I need to get some fresh air. My ass is going to start setting down roots if I don’t get up from this chair soon.



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