November 15, 2007
Crazed Polack tasered to death at the airport
After the jump is some information about the video I copied and pasted from YouTube.
Caution: This video involves the Tasering death of a human being. If the content is likely to bother you, don't watch.
Paul Pritchard, the bystander who vidoetaped the minutes leading up to the Tasering and eventual death of Robert Dziekanski by RCMP officers at Vancouver airport last month finally has his footage back and released it.
To my mind there is no question that the death of Robert Dziekanski would never have happened if someone had taken the time to do allow this man to speak to an interpreter or let him use their cellphone to reach his mother.
The RCMP story about the events keeps changing from "he was drunk and out of control"(according to the autopsy, he had no alcohol at all in his system. Nor were there drugs), to "he resisted the police" to "the footage doesn't tell the entire story". It certainly tells more than the police bothered to find out before they, within 25 seconds of arriving on the scene, Tasered him.
I think the video speaks very clearly about whether the police acted correctly and with appropriate force or went in half-cocked, Tasered an man who was agitated (twice within a few second and while the man was down), and caused him to lapse into a coma by kneeling on his neck and head (as witnesses and the video show).
Judge for yourself
I am not inviting comment. You are free to decide for yourself.
Mr. Dziekanski arrived on a flight from Poland to Canada, as a new immigrant. His mother was at the airport to meet him and told him to wait for her at Baggage Claim. However, she was told that she was not allowed into the Baggage Claim area.
She asked if someone would locate her son. According to reports, she was told that he never arrived and after waiting several hours for him, she returned home.
Meanwhile, Mr. Dziekanski had arrived and wandered about in the secure area for approximately 10 hours. During that time, he had no access to food and no one bothered to help him. He spoke no English.
Eventually, he became agitated and began to attract attention of bystanders. Several tried to help him and tried to find someone to find a translator, unfortunately, thinking that he spoke Russian.
As he grew more agitated, security appeared unable or unwilling to assist him and the RCMP were eventually called. As they arrive, one of the officers, without knowing what the situation was, asks "Can I Taser him?". Within 25 seconds of their arrival he was Tasered twice, the second time while on the ground, and the RCMP jump him. Witnesses said and the video shows (unfortunately not as clearly on YouTube, one officer kneeling on his neck and head.
Within a few seconds he lapsed into a coma and within a minute was dead.
None of the officers, who are trained in CPR, bothered to attempt to resuscitate him. It took something like 12 minutes for emergency personnel to be called and arrive on the scene.
The RCMP claimed he was drunk. He had no access to alcohol in the 10 hours he was within the secure area and toxicology results proved he had no drugs or alcohol in his system.
Byron Crawford a/k/a Bol is the celebrated author of several books, most recently NaS Lost: A Tribute to the Little Homey.
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Posted by Bol at 10:39 PM | Permalink
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