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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The faces of death

I have never seen, nor would I want to, any of the series of movies called "Faces of Death." But, I know of them and, as I watched the video of Robert Dziekanski dying before my very eyes, the thought of those movies flashed through my mind.

What has haunted me since then is that, had the world been witness earlier to others dying in much the same way as Robert did, he might be alive today. Had Canadians, in particular, been witness to the circumstances of the other 19 people who have died in Canada, perhaps we would have been repulsed into meaningful action. And perhaps some of those who have died would still be alive today.

What would we learn if we could see video of the last minutes of the lives of Terry Hanna, Clayton Willey, Clark Whitehouse, Ronald Perry, Roman Andreichikov, Peter Lamonday, Robert Bagnell, Jerry Knight, Samuel Truscott, Kevin Geldart, Gurmeet Sandhu, James Foldi, Paul Saulnier, Alesandro Fiacco, Jason Doan, Claudio Castagnetta, Quilem Registre, Howard Hyde and Robert Knipstrom?

Would we agree that taser use was justified during Clayton Willey's "altercation" at the mall? Were three taser jolts justified when Clark Whitehouse tried to flee from police on foot? What about when police arrived, tasers already drawn, to find Roman Andreichikov sitting on the couch, rocking back and forth mumbling to himself? Was it ok to shock Peter Lamonday several times when he was already on the ground? How about Alesandro Fiacco who "refused to cooperate with police?" These are only a few Canadian examples.

I know that if we could see the events leading to many of these deaths, we would finally learn precisely what happened - which may or may not jive with police accounts of the incidents. While I could not watch video of my brother's death, I do wish that others could. I know that most thinking Canadians would concur that the use of tasers was not only unjustified the night Bob died, but was likely unjustified in the majority of cases.

But seeing is believing and no one will ever get to see, for example, my brother on his back on a bathroom floor, unarmed and weighing 136 pounds - "resisting" police attempts to drag him out by holding onto inanimate objects for dear life. This while 11 trained police officers stood by as witnesses as two of their brothers in blue subdued Bob to death.

They say that after he was tasered, Bob continued to "resist." I contend that the "resistance" police often describe following taser shocks and which could be seen in the footage of Robert Dziekanski's death, is just the human body's way of resisting what it knows to be the final throes of death.

(I would not be surprised if, given the wide availability of the footage of Robert's death, it eventually ends up on a future installment of Faces of Death. I do hope that the lawyer for Robert's family pursues copyright protections on the video to prevent that from happening.)


Anonymous said...

One thing you missing is a link to submit stories. I sent in that story on CBC of the kelowna Senior getting tasered the one about where his wife says the "Cop was like a kid with a new toy and could not wait to use it "
I sent it in so it does not vanish off the web, We need hard copy mirrors cause all this stuff seems to vanish very fast for some unknown reason. Anyway you never posted that story.

Today we have this:



Reality Chick said...

Hello anonymous - I *have* been posting the reports of the senior citizen who was tasered in Kelowna. Please look at the Kelowna label and you will see them. Thanks!

Reality Chick said...

P.S. Thank you for the links to today's news. I'm working as hard as I can on this, which I'm sure you can appreciate, but time doesn't always allow me to post stories as soon as they are reported. I appreciate your help!