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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

EDITORIAL: Stunning attitude

May 27, 2009
North Shore News

AS the inquiry into the Tasering death of Robert Dziekanski enters its final stages, it is hard to imagine what more the RCMP and its supporters could do to hurt their own officers.

Over the past several weeks, the force has offered up witness after witness whose purpose appears to be to defend the institution's good name. Each has succeeded in doing the opposite.

First there was the officer who claimed Dziekanski's stapler was a threat to the public. Then there was the superintendent who said allowing the media to be misled about the number of jolts was good for the investigation. Now, in testimony this week, we have an "expert" who claims the video of the incident showed Dziekanski moving toward the police. That expert, it would seem, is a former Vancouver police officer with no formal training in photogrammetry and whose organization counts Taser International among its sponsors.

Each of these witnesses, in attempting to justify a series of grievous missteps by those involved, has succeeded only in further damaging the institution's reputation. Instead of simply accepting responsibility and vowing to do better, the force is seen to be suppressing the truth and defending the negligent in its own self-interest.

In doing so, the RCMP's management is betraying its own members. Frontline officers rely on the trust and respect of the general public to do their jobs. The institution is undermining both.
The force must stop making excuses, take its lumps and move on -- if for no other reason than to help itself.

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