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Friday, November 16, 2007

Video opens old wounds

November 17, 2007

For Patti Gillman, the image of Robert Dziekanski's convulsing body on the floor of Vancouver International Airport opened old wounds caused by her brother's death. Gillman's brother Robert Bagnell died after Vancouver police used a Taser during an altercation in 2004.

"The Dziekanski video was heartbreaking to watch and I thought, had the officers not been wearing uniforms, it would have been called murder," Gillman told 24 hours from Ontario. Since the loss of her brother, Gillman has lobbied for a moratorium against police use of Tasers. She said if Tasers continue to be used, the public's opinion of police is sure to erode. "I haven't seen the police held to any sort of accountability," she said. "What it looks like to me is the police are above the law."

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association filed a complaint against the RCMP Tuesday for allegedly misrepresenting the circumstances around Dziekanski's death and suppressing the video record of events. BCCLA executive director Murray Mollard said his agency wants police to become increasingly transparent to build public trust. The province is looking for answers as well.

Solicitor General John Les told 24 hours he's learned the coroner's service will conduct an inquest into Dziekanski death by this summer. He feels because of the extraordinary nature of the case the public needs answers to make sense of what happened in this case. "When I watch I still get the same squeeze in my gut as the first time," he said. "It's emotionally extenuating, you're watching someone die."


Thought Criminal said...

I mainly wanted to thank you for your efforts as your guestbook is not functioning, but will offer some comments.

Let's not let them play politics and been fooled by the rhetoric and parliamentary theatrics. When you read their comments thoroughly, Day and Dosanjh both want the status quo. Priddy did not really address the taser issue, only the manner of the investigation.

I want responsible "peace officers" out there - not "enforcement officers" and not a neo-fascist police state. Gov't and police need to be reminded that they serve us, and not vice versa. If this is a free and democratic country, let's see some action - not words. Tasers, in my opinion are just the tip of the tyranny iceberg and Robert is the latest victim of a bogus (yes BOGUS!) war on terror.

I want to thank the witnesses who came forward and everyone for speaking out, but I would also like to see the same moral outrage, questioning and degree of investigation offered in the deaths of 24 Canadians who died on September 11th, 2001. The American investigation was dreadfully inadequate and a sham, and there was no Canadian investigation whatsoever, yet we are expected to give up our rights and freedoms, give them more power, be spied upon, be treated as criminals and slaves - think about it!

The video evidence supplied by eyewitnesses and their testimony has caught the police trying to lie and cover up the facts about Robert's death, to cover their asses. This is not the first time. Nor will it be the last.

We honour victims not with silence, and not by trusting the media and so-called 'officials', but by speaking out, asking questions, and demanding answers and accountability.

Let Robert's death and the diligence of citizen witnesses serve as an example for us from now on.

Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. Lest we forget.

E. John Love said...

The video of Robert Dziekanski showed a disgusting level of excessive force being used on a confused, desperate and defenseless man. One media commentator has described the RCMP on the scene as acting like "bullies", and another has stated that the officers stationed at YVR as being among the poorest trained or something. (Maybe it was that the cops posted at YVR were among the least experienced.) In any case, the airport, customs and the cops all failed in their job to help someone in need. It is disgusting that it takes deaths made public to embarrass our public servants and officials into a sense of moral outrage and accountability. Meanwhile this Robert's mother, and you and yours, continue to suffer.