Dziekanski inquiry: Mounties can't escape blame

Mon. Jan 4 - 4:46 AMWHEN opinion polls in December showed that public confidence in the RCMP had dropped by a third nationally — and by almost two-thirds in B.C. — in the last two years, the reason was clear.
The public was disgusted with the cavalier way four Mounties had quickly decided to Taser the disoriented and agitated Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at the Vancouver airport in October 2007, and deeply dismayed by subsequent attempts by the four officers involved to distort what had happened in the incident, which ended with Mr. Dziekanski’s death.
"We get the message loud and clear," said an RCMP spokesman, referring to the poll results.
Perhaps they do.
But that didn’t stop three of the four officers involved from continuing to legally push to stop the Braidwood public inquiry’s final report from having the right to make findings of police misconduct.
The three were challenging, as individuals, former justice Thomas Braidwood’s jurisdiction in the matter.
Last week, the B.C. Supreme Court of Appeals reminded the Mounties that the provincial inquiry’s legitimate mandate was to examine how public confidence in the administration of justice had been affected by what had happened.
In unanimously rejecting the Mounties’ appeal of a lower court ruling that upheld the inquiry’s power to find misconduct, Madame Justice Mary Saunders pointed out that "the response of the police officers in this situation is a significant consideration" in assessing whether justice was done.
Though neither the government nor the RCMP was a party in this case, the individual Mounties’ legal bills are being covered by taxpayers.
And in a final submission to the inquiry in October, Ottawa maintained — despite widespread condemnation of police actions based on a bystander’s video of what happened — the officers applied an "acceptable" level of force to subdue the Polish immigrant, who spoke no English, with repeated Taserings less than a minute after arriving on scene.
The Mounties had argued former justice Braidwood would be infringing on federal oversight over the RCMP and deciding on criminal activities if he delved into allegations against the officers.
The appeal court would have none of it, for good reason. The former judge leading the inquiry understands the boundaries of his jurisdiction, the appeal court said.
Barring further appeals to the Supreme Court of Canada, the day of reckoning for these officers approaches. The inquiry’s final report is expected by March.
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Mounties can't escape blame -....lynch'em!
Quote: Originally Posted by chinaView Post

Mounties can't escape blame -....lynch'em!

Na! A good tazering, though, would be appropriate. Like 5 or more times for trying to cover up.
RCMP needs overhaul

Calgary HeraldDecember 11, 2009

Paul Kennedy, the outgoing head of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, believes his scathing report into the videotaped death of a Polish immigrant will change the way Canadians view the Mounties. He's being generous. The RCMP can blame their damaged reputation on nothing more than the actions of some of their own members, aided by a long culture of coverup.
More denials won't restore credibility to Canada's Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who are at a pivotal moment in their long and storied history. Truth and responsibility, however, might prove the right mix of stain remover. The symbolic red surge has been sullied by the force's dirty laundry, with one scandal after another and a series of inquiries and reports, some of which have never been acted upon.
The latest indictment came this week from Kennedy, who documented a litany of mistakes made by the four officers involved in the death of Robert Dziekanski, at the Vancouver airport. They deployed their Tasers too quickly, seconds after arriving, five times over a 31-second period, he reported. They also made no attempt to resolve the situation without violence.
The whole thing smells of a big coverup. (The Crown will not be laying criminal charges against the officers, one of whom, Monty Robinson, was recently charged with attempting to obstruct justice.)
The report confirms what most Canadians already knew, thanks to a citizen video tape of Dziekanski's final moments.
Witness Paul Pritchard, 27, is the real hero in this tragedy. Without his video, it's likely the truth would never have surfaced, or the official record corrected. The public received "erroneous information" that was fed to the media at the time of Dziekanski's death, and deliberately not corrected for another 14 months.
It's an understatement when Kennedy says the way the force responded to its mishandling of Dziekanski's death will "represent a defining moment in the history of the RCMP.
"The manner in which the RCMP responds to my report and that of Justice (Thomas) Braidwood to follow will have a profound impact on how the iconic institution is viewed by Canadians," wrote Kennedy.
So far, the response has been more of the same, with RCMP Commissioner William Elliott writing a letter saying he will respond later. His silence, quite frankly, is stunning. Dziekanski died on Oct. 14, 2007. You'd think he could have worked out a statement by now.
The federal government responded no better, telling Kennedy his term is up, and he will not be reappointed after four years in the job. During that time, Kennedy has persistently pushed the federal government to create an independent watchdog with real teeth, and for Mounties to stop investigating themselves, two steps this paper has long advocated.
Dziekanski's death is a tragedy, but if it leads to real reform of the RCMP, he will not have died in vain. Change is needed at the highest level before Canadians can forgive or forget the recent history of the RCMP. Accountability, truth and transparency are the only hope of restoring honour to this once-great institution.

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