Sunday, November 18, 2007

RCMP commission defends the force following taser death

As I recall the first representatives of the RCMP to report to the media told an untruthful version of events that claimed that Dziekanski had attacked the police and was assaulting them even after tasered. The video does not bear this out at all. The video was held back for some time by the police as well. I suppose we should be thankful that they did not just take the video and destroy it as is often done in other places when embarassing videos are taken.
This is a bland politically proper response no doubt appreciated by the RCMP.

RCMP commission defends the force following taser death

CanWest News Service

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Feeling the heat of public outrage over the death of a man tasered and tackled by Mounties at Vancouver International Airport last month, RCMP Commissioner William Elliott issued a statement Saturday defending the service's handling of the case.

"The RCMP wishes to once again extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to his family," Elliott said in a press statement issued Saturday night, just days after the release of a graphic video showing Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski writhing in pain and screaming after being shocked by police on Oct. 14 - and only hours after Dziekanski's funeral in Kamloops, B.C.

"Although a number of representatives of the RCMP have made themselves available to the media, there is a perception that the RCMP has been silent since the airing of the disturbing video images earlier this week," Elliott said.

"I have not made a public statement before now as I felt that the best course of action was to let the investigations underway proceed so that we could all benefit from an independent determination of the facts.

"I recognize, however, that the RCMP cannot provide effective policing services without the support of the communities we serve and I am concerned that growing misperceptions are eroding the public's confidence in the RCMP."

Elliott said the force moved quickly to probe Dziekanski's death, launching a homicide investigation in B.C. He pointed out that the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, an independent agency answering to Parliament, is conducting its own investigation, and the B.C. Coroner's office has announced an inquest.

"The RCMP fully supports these investigations and is anxious to learn as much as possible about this tragic event,"he said.

Elliott said the four officers involved have been assigned to other duties "for the time being," and the RCMP has started a review of policies and procedures on stun gun use for Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day.

"Based on the information available to date, the RCMP remains of the view that 'Tasers' are effective law enforcement tools and are safe in the vast majority of cases," Elliott said.

"When properly deployed they result in overall injury reduction when dealing with the arrest of violent individuals. We and other police services teach our officers that it is less likely to cause serious injury than other tactics."

Elliott acknowledged the images in the Dziekanski video are "disturbing."

"We do not, however, believe that it is appropriate to draw conclusions based on these images alone," he added. "This serious event deserves a comprehensive and complete examination and we are confident that the processes underway will provide the proper basis on which to make conclusions and to determine appropriate action."

© CanWest News Service 2007

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