November 17, 2007
The Canadian Press
OTTAWA -- RCMP Commissioner William Elliott broke his silence yesterday on the Taser death of Robert Dziekanski, saying the four officers involved in the incident at Vancouver International Airport have been reassigned.
Public outrage broke out after video footage of the incident was released this week. The video showed officers zapping the distressed Polish immigrant twice, and then physically subduing him on the floor. Dziekanski died at the scene.
"I recognize ... that the RCMP cannot provide effective policing services without the support of the communities we serve, and I am concerned that growing misperceptions are eroding the public's confidence in the RCMP," Elliott wrote in a statement.
"I would like to make clear that this incident is being treated very seriously by the RCMP, up to and including by me as commissioner."
Elliott defended the use of Tasers by the force. "We and other police services teach our officers that it is less likely to cause serious injury than other tactics."
Meanwhile, hundreds of people packed a Kamloops funeral home yesterday to grieve with Dziekanski's mother and express their outrage over her loss. For millions of people around the world, their only image of Dziekanski is from a video of his last moments. "It was a beautiful ceremony," his mom, Zofia Cisowski, said after the ceremony. "I hope that everyone will remember my son as a good, loving boy, a good, loving human being." Family friend Jurek Baltakis celebrated Dziekanski's love for his family. "He always remembered Zofia's birthday," he said in a eulogy. "He sent nice postcards from every trip he went on." One of those postcards contained a simple poem, reprinted on the back of a memorial card. "People become good by doing good," it reads. Dziekanski was cremated following a private funeral two weeks ago.
"I'm so sad and ashamed that we so badly let down a woman who embraced Canada with all her heart and whose dream was to share it with her son," said Trudy Dirk, who met Cisowksi in an English class. At the Vancouver International Airport yesterday, about 300 people showed up for a memorial service and candlelight vigil. The service took place in the international arrivals area of the airport, where Dziekanski died.
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Saturday, November 17, 2007
November 17, 2007