Saturday, December 12, 2009

Robert Dziekanski, the RCMP and the Destruction of the Public's Trust

Since this government has politicized the RCMP they are gradually losing the respect and the trust of Canadians. That's a shame because they have always been such an important part of our national identity. There is even a blog called RCMP Watch.

A few of the headlines

Day rebuffs call for full national review of Taser use
NDP concerned RCMP are investigating their own officers

RCMP fire Tasers multiple times despite health hazards: probe

RCMP watchdog abruptly delays release of final Taser report

RCMP watchdog to release report on Dziekanski's death

A Few of My Postings on the RCMP

Harper Using RCMP to Control the Media While He Controls the Message. Why are we Allowing This?

Conservative Rob Clarke Abuses RCMP Connections

Have the Conservatives Tainted the RCMP for Political Gain

Conservative Blake Richards Tells Watchdog to Lie Down

Did RCMP Boss Giuliano Zaccardelli Meddle in 2006 Election

Recent Globe and Mail Column

Left in the dark
Globe and Mail
December 11, 2009

By giving out false information on the fatal tasering of the Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski, and refusing to correct the errors for more than a year, the RCMP persisted in the destruction of the public's trust in their national police force. Two years earlier, a Mountie spokesman said, "The public doesn't have a right know anything," after a British Columbia officer shot and killed a 22-year-old man in unusual circumstances. The RCMP shows by its actions it still seems to believe the public is best left in the dark.

These were not minor errors, as documented yesterday by Paul Kennedy, an independent complaints commissioner on RCMP matters. A Mountie spokesman, Sergeant Pierre Lemaitre, had told a news conference that the Mounties tasered Mr. Dziekanski twice on Oct. 14, 2007: "We know for a fact that there were two pulses." The real number was five.

Sgt. Lemaitre said Mr. Dziekanski may have had drugs or alcohol in his system (an autopsy later showed he had neither). He said there were three Mounties involved - there were four - and that, after the second charge from the taser, Mr. Dziekanski was still "erratic, violent," and therefore had handcuffs placed on him.

In fact he was not resisting. Sgt. Lemaitre had seen a bystander's video. Even worse, Superintendent Wayne Rideout made the decision not to correct the errors for 14 months because, he said, he feared compromising the integrity of the Mounties' investigation into the tasering. So errors help integrity, and truth hurts it?

This was the force that had killed a man needlessly, as the bystander's video made clear, and as Mr. Kennedy found yesterday. It was investigating itself. The RCMP made people think they weren't conducting a fair and impartial investigation, Mr. Kennedy said.

Moreover, it held on to that videotape for a month, and gave it back only when the bystander sued to get it back. That contributed to an impression that the RCMP wished to cover up what had happened. Mr. Kennedy said it had no right to keep the tape.

Mr. Kennedy said the evidence does not allow him to conclude that the RCMP lied. But he does say, "Although I cannot state categorically that media releases were provided to protect or enhance the image of the RCMP, I have concerns that some of the information provided to the media did just that."

The RCMP brutally killed a newcomer to Canada, put out false information into the public sphere while investigating themselves, then refused to correct the record and held on to a video that showed the horrible truth. The loss of public trust is no mystery.

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