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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

EDITORIAL: A stimulus for reform

March 24, 2009
The Province

RCMP Cpl. Benjamin "Monty" Robinson was the officer in charge the night Robert Dziekanski was Tasered five times just before his death.

In his initial statement Robinson said Dziekanski was "swinging wildly" with a stapler and that he had to be wrestled to the ground by all four officers. A video shot by bystander Paul Pritchard suggests otherwise.

At the Braidwood inquiry into Taser use and Dziekanski's death, Cpl. Robinson admitted his initial statement was incorrect, but insisted he did not lie.

"I was mistaken, but I was telling the truth," Robinson said to Braidwood lawyer Art Vertlieb.
"Just because I was mistaken doesn't mean I was lying," he also said.

Ah yes, the George W. Bush weapons-of-mass-destruction defence.

It ultimately matters little whether Cpl. Robinson lied in his initial statement, or was mistaken. Either way, this public inquiry is a public relations disaster for the RCMP.

Every day that this inquiry continues, Canadians lose more faith in our national police force. In the end, let's hope Justice Thomas Braidwood's recommendations go beyond the use of Tasers and attempt to make the obviously dysfunctional RCMP a little more functional.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My observations lead me to believe that this inquiry would do well to encourage all police forces in Canada to change many of their policies, particularly those that involve "self policing". During the inquest of the death of our son Robert Bagnell, the evidence given by the Vancouver City police officers involved in his tasering death all gave identical statements, even using the same phrases and words. It was so obvious that they were well coached about their testimony. But no one cared. There were no recommendations forthcoming from the jurors, there was no VIDEO, and there was no justice. But we care, and we will continue our fight against this sad and shameful conduct. As our police forces continue to misuse and abuse this taser device, they will find themselves spending most of their careers in court and litigations. They will need a lot of coaching. Riki Bagnell