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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Death of Robert Bagnell

Bob died a violent death in Vancouver, British Columbia, on June 23, 2004 in custody of the Vancouver police.

We have learned that Bob was alone, unarmed, lying on the floor on his back, posing no credible threat to the - count 'em - 13 police officers (several from the ERT, aka Emergency Response Team). The only funny things were that Bob always liked the #13 and he was never too crazy about cops. He was celebrating his impending Birthday - he wouldn't have known that it was to be his Death Day**.

Two days after he died, on June 25th, Vancouver police called my mom and dad to tell them their only son had died - due to, they said, an apparent drug overdose. That was the worst day of our lives. After my mother called me to tell me that my only brother was dead, she called a family friend who is a federal police officer and asked him to contact the VPD to hear it for himself ... to make sure she hadn't missed anything pertinent that was said to her. Our police officer friend called the VPD and was given the same information - Bob had died of what looked like a drug overdose. No more, no less.

The VPD was most helpful in having Bob's remains shipped to my parents so that we could hold a memorial service. On July 19th, we did so at my parents' cottage on the ocean. It was a small, but beautiful, affair. Bob was there.

On July 23, 2004 - exactly one month to the day after he died - an e-mail from a friend alerted me to the evening news and a story about Bob. I found the news and was horrified to see the VPD announcing on national television that they had used the Taser on Bob. I immediately called my parents - it was 1:00 am on PEI - and they found the news on their satellite. Needless to say, our emotions ran high. We just didn't see it coming and we weren't ready for it. We didn't know what a TASER was. We do now.

**Harry Potter Definition of Death Day: "The day a person dies and becomes a ghost. Many ghosts, such as Nearly Headless Nick, celebrate the day with a party." I suspect Bob will celebrate his fourth on June 23, 2007 with a party.

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