UWO, London Ontario Police Violently Assault Student

by matttbastard

This hits a bit too close to home — seriously:

Officials at the University of Western Ontario in London [my hometown — mb] are defending the violent arrest of a student that was captured on video and posted on YouTube.

The video, shot on Wednesday at the university’s social sciences building, shows what appears to be five campus and police officers surrounding the man and pinning him to the ground.

The officers knee and punch the student several times before they are able to restrain him.

They appear to be trying to put handcuffs on the man while repeatedly shouting, “Stop resisting!”

Elgin Austen, the head of campus police, told a news conference Thursday that by the time he arrived during the arrest, he didn’t see “anything out of order” with the level of force being applied.

“It was being conducted consistent with the Ontario Police College and the training that officers have there.”

Watch:

Alt Angle:

Yeah, um if repeatedly walloping someone on the ground is “consistent with the Ontario Police College and the training that officers have there,” perhaps we need to reconsider what we are teaching our law enforcement officials. Then again, who are you gonna believe — some PR flack, or your lyin’ eyes? As Austen helpfully notes, ‘people seeing just the video alone “may not understand what the officers were actually doing.”‘

Of course, some would beg to differ with Austen’s spin objective analysis of the situation.

Over at the Law is Cool blog, former police officer Ryan Venables provides his take on whether the officers in question went too far in their brutal efforts to “restrain” 22 year old Western student Irnes Zelijkovic:

After having viewed the video, and from my experiences and past training, I see NO REASON why one of the officers applied force to the middle and upper portions of Mr. Zeljkovic’s back and neck with his asp baton.  Officers are trained to specifically NOT to use this hard impact weapon on areas where significant damage could be caused (i.e. neck, forearms, and head) because of the risk to the suspect.  While an actively resisting suspect is a very dynamic situation, in my humble opinion this exceeded the appropriate options available to this officer.

Regardless, Mr. Zeljkovic should be thankful the boys in purple and blue didn’t break out the Tasers — or accidentally discharge a firearm.

Special thanks to my buddy Albert for the heads up

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This Year’s Whitewash Model: “Sudden Death Following Restraint”

by matttbastard

What? We had THREE pathologists come up with that one. THREE!

Because ‘excited delirium’ is, like, so 2007.

Jesus wept.

Related: Alison has more regarding the Criminal Justice Branch ruling on the 2007 death of Robert Dziekanski (shorter: “It was his own goddamn fault that he died!”); make sure to also check out this post at Dawg’s place, where the good Dr. is once again calling for the RCMP to be disbanded.

Hard to argue with him this time.

Update: more from Dawg.

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“To protect the privacy of the person stunned”

by matttbastard

Alison at the Beav notes that the RCMP has stripped several key details from the Robert Dziekanski TASER™ report, recently obtained by The Canadian Press and CBC under the Access to Information Act:

Missing from the RCMP report :
1) Dziekanski’s name [!]
2) the name and rank of the officer who fired the TASER™
3) the name of his supervisor
4) details about the duration of the firing
5) the number of times the weapon was used in stun mode
6) whether Dziekanski was armed
7) a written summary of the incident
8) “assessments as to whether use of the TASER™ helped the RCMP either “avoid use of lethal force” or “avoid injuries to subject or Police.”

In other words, pretty much everything of use for the general public to understand exactly what happened (and, more importantly, why), all purportedly redacted in order to to protect the late Mr. Dziekanski’s “privacy”.

Yeah. To protect [redacted]’s privacy–sure. As Alison further notes,

It’s worth remembering that none of these inquiries would be happening at all had not Paul Pritchard of Victoria first recorded Dziekanski’s murder, stood his ground and hired a lawyer to get the recording back from the RCMP on being told it might be several years before they would return it, and then released it to the public.
Previous to Pritchard’s YouTube going worldwide, the RCMP were already covering their tracks, muttering darkly about the likelihood of Dziekanski being a drug mule and how the officers were forced to use stun guns because the room was crowded with airline passengers.

Sorry–after all that’s gone down with regards to Dziekanski’s death, a hubris-laden request from the Feds that basically amounts to “hey, trust us” doesn’t fucking cut it. The only way to clear up the haze of corruption that has been hovering over the Mounties for far too many years now is for the government to call for a full public inquiry into the activities of the RCMP. Are you finally listening, Stockboy?

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

PSA: November 24th: Solidarity and Justice for Robert Dziekanski

by matttbastard

Via Getting It Right:

Rallies in support of Robert Dziekanski and family have been organized (for next Saturday, November 24th, 2007) in Vancouver, Victoria and Toronto. Here’s an overview:

Vancouver: Protest against RCMP using excessive force on Robert!
Host: Facebook Group – “Petition against RCMP officers involved in YVR Tazer Death”

Date: Saturday, November 24, 2007
Time: 12:00pm – 3:00pm
Location: Downtown Vancouver, Art Gallery (Georgia Street side)
City/Town: Vancouver, BC

Description:
A protest against the brutality shown in the video, which resulted in the death of new immigrant Robert Dziekanski, 40. Please express your interest by showing up next Saturday November 24th, downtown at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Georgia Street side. Rally will commence 12pm. Please try to wear the red/white colors of the deceased’s Polish heritage, in his memory. Remember, this is about awareness of the tragedy and a protest against the excessive use of tasers, _NOT_ an anti-police rally. THIS WILL BE A PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATION!

More info on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=8636840125

VICTORIA: Solidarity and Justice for Robert Dziekanski.
Express your outrage and show supprt for his family through a peaceful demonstration

Host: Facebook Group – “Petition against RCMP officers involved in YVR Tazer Death”

Date: Saturday, November 24, 2007
Time: 12:00pm – 3:00pm
Location: Legislative Assembly of British Columbia
City/Town: Victoria, BC

Description: PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATION – come along and express your outrage and your disgust at the recent events resulting in the unlawful killing of Robert Dziekanski. Show Solidarity for the Dziekanski family and demand Justice so that this kind of thing NEVER happens again

More info on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=6187158110

TORONTO: Defend Robert Dziekanski Toronto Queen’s Park Protest Nov 24
Protesting Unreasonable Force/Showing Solidarity with Vancouver BC Protest Nov 24

Host: Facebook Group – “Protesting the use of Excessive force on Robert Dziekanski”

Date: Saturday, November 24, 2007
Time: 12:00pm – 2:00pm
Location: Queen’s Park
Street: University Avenue
City/Town: Toronto, ON

Description: This Protest is designed to continue raising media awareness about the mistreatment of Robert Dziekanski and protest the unreasonable use of force. We want the government to know that Canadians, regardless of their location in Canada are disgusted and heartbroken by the handling of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver Airport. This situation involves issues of race, nationalism, violence and most significantly ethical human behaviour of kindness, patience and compassion.

More info on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=6407280731

Please show your support!

All events in memory of Robert Dziekanski

Update: also see skdadl @ pogge and April Reign

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Quote Of The Day: Becoming Evil

Via Daev @ Designated Protest Zone, Dana nails it:

“People become evil by doing evil; it is rare that a person is evil by nature alone. Evil does not exist so one can make use of it. Evil does not flow from a place of power but one of weakness”.

You have become evil by doing evil. You are weak and you are above all cowards.

You fit right in with todays RCMP.

Related: The Vancouver Sun on the funeral of Robert Dziekanski, including full text of the eulogy, delivered by family friend Jurek Baltakis:

Now, I would like to conduct a small experiment here.

[Speaks a short sentence in Polish, and a few dozen audience members raise their hands.]

Well, I see that most of you are confused, and cannot follow this simple instruction. I just asked you to put your right hand up. So simple. Looks like you do not understand Polish. This is how Robert felt for over nine hours at the airport — lost, confused, thirsty and hungry, and ignored by all. I made the same trip over 20 years ago. With two small children, Maria and I, we arrived at Vancouver airport tired and our hearts were pounding. We were so uncertain and afraid. Fortunately, people from immigrant services welcome us and help us … at the Vancouver and Kamloops airports. They were like guardian angels for us.

Robert was not so fortunate. At the airport, the airport services and RCMP failed him and Zofia. There were no guardian angels or any other helpful human being working there to prevent this tragedy. There are many questions that need to be answered, and I am certain that one day, they will… that one day, Robert’s tragic death will leave us this legacy, and this will never happen again.

Share your condolences with Mrs Csowski and family here.

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Macleans: “The RCMP is in ruins.”

by matttbastard

Via Terry O’Neill @ The Shotgun Blog (the preceding still seems like it should be a typo), this week’s issue of Macleans features a must read cover story by Jonathon Gatehouse and Charlie Gillis, What’s really killing the Mounties.

Sample:

This past summer, David Brown, the Toronto lawyer charged with investigating the mishandling of the RCMP’s pension and insurance funds, lifted the lid on a much more serious problem, declaring the force’s culture, governance and management structure “horribly broken.” (A new task force he is chairing will deliver recommendations on how to fix the problems to the Harper government next month.) As a constitutional challenge over legislation that denies RCMP officers the right to unionize looms, the divide between front-line members and their “white shirt” bosses seems wider than ever. According to the results of an internal 2007 survey, only 50 per cent of RCMP employees now believe they are treated fairly by the force; just 54 per cent feel “respected and trusted” by their superiors; and a feeble 26 per cent agree that the force develops capable and competent senior leaders. Much has been made of the recent appointment of William Elliott, a former bureaucrat and “new broom” commissioner who replaced Giuliano Zaccardelli, who resigned in disgrace over the Maher Arar affair. But even with a civilian at the helm, the force’s taste—or capacity—for the type of reforms needed to address such widespread concerns remains an open question.

As O’Neill notes, the report was apparently written prior to the release of the Robert Dziekanski Taser video, but still provides an exhaustive rundown of the overall disarray afflicting all levels of RCMP culture, of which the Taser incident is the latest (if most visceral) example. Read the whole damn thing; maybe Dawg is right.

PS – Never forget.

Related: After 34 days, the four officers involved in the death of Mr Dziekanski were finally reassigned. Took ’em long enough, eh? Accountability, thy name is “Elliott”.

Oh, and Dave @ the Beav reports that suggestions the use of its product may have actually resulted in someone keeling over (again) has given TASER Int’l the vapors. Not quite at the level of excited delirium, thankfully. Still, company security best keep close watch on the executive offices, just in case.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers