For those of you who do not want to watch a man DIE, do not watch this video.
For those of you who are so bloody dumb and pig arrogant to think that a Taser is an effective police tool, watch this man die.
For those of you who think I am being over dramatic, by all means watch this video and you will have to question what the hell is going to justify the death of an innocent confused man.
Background: I’m a kiwi in Vancouver for 6 months. In New Zealand we have just completed a trial of Tasers by Police, and the government is now considering the introduction of them.
Summary (as best I can)
For those of you not familiar with this tragic story, here’s the most accurate summary I can provide, please excuse me if something is slightly wrong.
On the 14th October 2007 at Vancouver International Airport, Robert Dziekanski was in the process of landing in Vancouver to immigrate from Poland to be with his elderly mother. After many hours (10 I think) of questioning and being given the run around (he was cleared to enter the country as he has no criminal record – he was just your average Joe) he became agitated and wanted to leave the building. He spoke no english and after all that time, no organisation provided a translator. In fact so bereft of duty were the officials of their responsibility of the safe entry of people to Canada, that they were still saying that he only spoke russian – He’s Polish!!! He had no alcohol or drugs in his system.
This was his first time on a plane and his mother told him that it was a big airport and that he should wait in the luggage area till she found him. but she never did go to that area. Confused and agitated and the situation quickly becomes out of hand, all the time VYR makes no attempt to calm the man with an interpreter (a multicultural city of 2 million people). Although the VR security is heard saying we need to get someone to calm him down, but whatever chain of command there is at VYR, no attempt to calm him down is made. So pathetic is this situation that by the time the police come, they spend a total of 25 seconds trying to determine what was happening, and apparently the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) were heard entering the building, “does he speak russian?, can we use tasers?”
There was no attempt to defuse the situation with a bloody translator, to actually talk to the guy. What the hell were the authorities doing all that time not having someone able to at the very least communicate to him in the most basic of ways. After breaking a chair and computer, the police rush in and after only 25 seconds (all the while he is now holding his hands in the air and backing off with consolatory shoulder motions) they taser the poor bugger. This is despite the evidence showing that he was backing off – remember he was armed with a stapler, that’s all.
However not only did they put one taser into the guy, the unloaded another into the guy and then 2 RCMP officers jump on the guy. Somehow and somewhere in the process of being tasered twice and the combined weight of two RCMP on his neck and back, the guy passes out then away.
This is one of the most horrific video’s I have ever seen. A seemingly innocent confused man has his life taken away from him, while the authorities have detained him without reason, while the authorities have failed to communicate with the man as anyone would, this after only 25 seconds of trying to assess the situation.
A Victoria man Paul Pritchard, was in the same area of the building after returning from China. He captured the situation and moment of his death on camera. He offered the tape to the RCMP as evidence under the impression that he would get the tape back with in a day or two. After the RCMP told him that it could be months if not years before he got the tape back, he initiated court proceedings to get the video back. The RCMP then changed it’s tune and offered the tape back after another week. This is a strange and disturbing way to make policing look transparent. It’s a digital tape. Take a copy and give the tape. Well now having seen the tape you can see why they didn’t want the tape seen.
This situation has dominated British Columbian news, and now has extend to the Polish consul general is in Vancouver and asking the Polish Solicitor General to review the case. It is unsure how they can extend jurisdiction to Canada, but he was still a Polish citizen.
This is a complete fucking mess, and all I can say is that I am deeply sorry for the dead man and his mother, whom all the time was dutifly waiting for her son to come through immigration. I have come through those doors several times at YVR. It’s a very very public place and when planes are coming and going, there can be upwards of a hundred people in the area. The seats you can see are where the excited public sit to meet their friends and loved ones. In this case, it was the public gallery for the death of a innocent man.
Having watched the video I have several questions.
- Where was the translator after all that time?
- Why was there only 25 or so seconds of situation assessment before an unarmed man was tasered?
- if he was that dangerous that he needed to be tasered, could the public and a woman approach and try to calm him down?
- Why was he stung twice?
- Why after being tasered, was there a cop applying full weight to his head and neck area – long after he is obviously loosing consciousness.
- What was the cop doing with his baton?
- Why did it take so long for the medical staff to arrive?
- Why didn’t the RCMP use any of their training to revive the guy?
- What is to say this won’t happen to you, me or your loved one?
- Why have the RCMP been nothing but deceitful and evasive over the whole affair
This is such big news here in this country, but why have I put it on a blog about NZ politics and life.
Because in NZ the police have undergone a trial of tasers and are looking to the govt to introduce them into regular service in NZ. New Zealand police do not carry side arms, however most police have a shot gun in the boot of their car.
I am always grateful of the work that the police do, and am appreciative that they go into situations that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. However, after nearly 300 deaths to tasers in North America alone and with the full weight of the evidence of the power and lethal ability of these devices as seen in this video, the NZ police still want to use tasers.
This should be a wake up call to all New Zealanders that this is not a tool that we would wont our Police to have in their pocession.
Tasers kill people, and despite the nice happy videos of journalists being tasered then laughing that we are now all familiar with, close to 300 people in both Canada and America are now dead as a result of these thing.
This is the video. A warning a man dies. It’s not as graphic as you would imagine, but a thousand times more harrowing as you could guess.
The news report. Terry Milewski reports for CBC-TV
And from GlobalTV British Columbia
Here are some background info of this whole incident.
An interview with the videographer Paul Pritchard
Map of Taser Deaths in Canada