Thursday, November 22, 2007

Video Not Taser Creates Inquiry

B.C. is calling for an inquiry to the Taser death of a Polish immigrant at the Vancouver airport. Alberta is reviewing police procedures for use of tasers. Stockwell Day says hey its all okay because it was only one death from a taser, while thousands die annually from drunk drivers.

All this sturm and drang is not because Robert Dziekanski died from police brutality and their use of a taser. Nope. It's because a video showing the police brutality was aired world wide.
A video the RCMP attempted to suppress.

It is now being reported that there was an airport worker present who spoke Polish who could have helped Mr. Dzienkanski it now turns out.

And after much haranguing in the house Day finally admits he has a report from the Canadian Border Service and then he post dates his comments to say he asked for it from day one. Oh yeah right.

Canada Border Services has so far declined to comment on what happened during the 6 ½ hours Mr. Dziekanski spent inside the airport's international baggage hall, an area that falls under CBSA jurisdiction.

Day noted that the RCMP probe into the case could result in criminal charges. He also highlighted the fact he ordered a review of Taser-use policy a few days after Dziekanski's death.

Asked Tuesday if he would apologize for the border agency's handling of Dziekanski's arrival, Day said he's sorry.

"I'm sorry it happened. I'm sure all Canadians are sorry it happened . . . This is a very serious incident that took place."

The Canada Border Services Agency has been silent as to how Dziekanski went apparently unnoticed for several hours in the baggage area of the airport.

No one cared, no one did anything until this video came out. A month after the fact.

And this is not the only case that it has taken a citizen video on the internet to force a police investigation. It is becoming more common.

A dashboard camera video posted on YouTube less than 24 hours ago showing a Utah Highway Patrol officer firing a Taser at a driver he stopped for speeding has prompted authorities there to expedite an internal investigation into the incident.

"We've known about the incident since it occurred," Cameron Roden, a spokesman for the Utah Highway Patrol, told ABC News. "But with it coming out on the Internet, we're trying to move the investigation along."

And the fact is that police use of tasers is justified by the cops themselves. They have little civilian or independent research done on the use of tasers prior to their use, it always after the fact. The taser company has sponsored the research saying they are safe. Other research has been conducted by pro police advocates again showing tasers are an alternative to lethal force.

The police wanted tasers as an alternative to lethal force, not as an alternative to pepper spray which they also carry, has decided in certain situations known only to themselves it will be the weapon of first choice. It is the logic of the cops; shoot first ask questions later.

A Regina psychiatrist believes that police should deal with aggression by talking, not by using a conducted energy device (CED) such as a Taser.

"Tasering is an easy option but it's not the only option," said Dr. Dhanapal Natarajan, a member of the board of directors of the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA).

"We deal with aggressive patients all the time in the psych unit, but we talk to them. Talking is more important than straight away resorting to shooting a Taser."

This is the problem the police determine the safety of the weapon and its use; when, where, and how.
Hospital patient in Prince George, BC subdued by police Taser

While the facts surrounding the death of a young Frederick man are still emerging, law enforcement officials insist that Tasers are safe and effective.

It wasn't lightning that struck Jarrel Gray, 20, early Sunday morning. It wasn't a bullet, a knife or a blow.

It was one shock, according to Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, at a low voltage for five seconds that dropped him to the ground. A few hours later, he was dead.

The sister of a New Brunswick man who died after police repeatedly shocked him with a Taser says the devices should be banned across Canada until their safety can be proven.

Karen Geldart of Moncton, N.B., said Wednesday the furor over the death of a Polish man who was stunned with a police Taser at Vancouver International Airport is vindicating concerns she has had since her brother Kevin Geldart died in 2005.

Geldart, 34, died in a Moncton, N.B., bar after a confrontation with four RCMP officers. He was shocked so often, including to his head, that witnesses said the smell of burning flesh made it hard to breathe.

"I don't want to sound macabre, but I'm satisfied there has been such a public outcry," Geldart said, referring to the national outpouring of concern over the videotaped death of Polish citizen, Robert Dziekanski, on Oct. 14.

"I feel somewhat vindicated. Kevin, I believe, died in vain because other deaths occurred after he died. Let's hope that's not the case with Mr. Dziekanski's death."

Geldart said there should be a single, comprehensive and national review of the use of Tasers by all police forces in Canada.

We've been told that tasers are a useful tool for law enforcement to subdue agitated people.

But in the last two days in Jacksonville, Florida tasering has resulted in two deaths.

In the latest case, a man got into a wreck in the Springfield area Tuesday afternoon. The driver then got out of his vehicle and began fighting with another man.

In Vancouver four burly police officers took down Mr.
Dziekanski, they applied a taser gun to his neck, they also apparently kneeled on him. Now the taser was not required from what we saw on the video because they already held him down. He was far less agitated than the student in Florida whose video we saw as he cried out don't taser me bro.

The police use a variety of dangerous disabling tactics, one is the carotid choke hold that has caused injury and deaths.

But the real issue is that it is the police that determine what weapons or physical restraint tactics they will use. There is no ethical oversight by a civilian authority, even the State does not oversee the police, it takes their word for whatever they do.

And that is the bigger issue here. Who polices the police.

This then is a step in the right direction.

- The man who will head a review of the RCMP's use of tasers following the death of a Polish visitor in the Vancouver airport says he is concerned they may be deployed too quickly and too often.

Paul Kennedy, chairman of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, said yesterday that there have been instances "where I thought it was being used inappropriately at too early a level of intervention."

Through the review ordered this week by Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, Mr. Kennedy said he wants to get a sense of whether RCMP "policy and their model in terms of recourse to force is appropriate."

And he wants to find out whether officers "have thought about other devices. Have they been told that this is either a last resort or should be used at the higher end in terms of intervention?"

The inappropriate use of tasers is not a new concern for Mr. Kennedy. In his annual report tabled in June, he said one taser-firing incident led him to conclude that a review of the weapons was necessary.

Mr. Kennedy pointed to the case of an intoxicated woman - he didn't name her - who was tasered by an RCMP officer and taken to the police station.

"That was okay in the first instance," he said. But then "she is in the station and the device is used against her again. It's a woman handcuffed in a station when there were other officers there. I said that is inappropriate in my belief. The commissioner agreed with me."

The review, Mr. Kennedy said, will provide an opportunity to look at the full range of cases in which they have been used and determine whether the rules are clear and are being followed.


He Was Polish

Policing Mental Illness

Cops and Tasers

Ban Tasers

Death by Taser

Take Tasers Away from Cops

The Market Fazers Taser

State Security Is A Secure State

Policing the Police

A Tale Of Two Whyte Avenues

Ban Handguns From Cops

Find blog posts, photos, events and more off-site about:
, , Paul Pritchard , , , , , , , , ,

1 comment:

Cliff said...

I propose a new movement: 'Film a Mountie'.

Due largely to a severely broken management culture, the Mounties have a become a violently dysfunctional organization of armed and apparently very angry people roaming our country. I suggest that the only safe approach is to begin filming Mounties whenever they are visible and keep the cameras trained on them as long as they are in sight.

If you don't have a camera, aim a cellphone at them as if it had a camera - when I was on the picket line scabs and hired company goons both would scurry away from the sight of someone holding up a phone aimed at them as if it were a camera - whether it actually was a camera phone or not. At the beginning we had several incidents of the hired goons following picketers - particularly female picketers - very closely and some unconvincingly 'accidental' shoulder checks. That changed when they began to have cameras in their faces every day. By the end they stayed at the top of the office steps out of the picket line as they would be surrounded by cameras every time they stepped down.

I remain convinced that if the scabs and goons had not thought they were constantly being watched and recorded it would have been a very different and probably more violent line. It begins to appear that public safety now requires a similar approach to our national police services.

Surveillance culture can cut both ways.