William/Bill Sweeney, the deputy commissioner (should that be capitalized I wonder? Deputy Commissioner? or should I just capitalize the L on Liar and the D on Dissembler?) of the RCMP goes before a Senate committee and apologizes for what the RCMP did to Robert Dziekanski. He says he is really really sorry and he promises, cross his measely little heart, that he will learn from his mistakes. In the same breath he says he is sorry he cannot say more but ... he doesn't want to prejudice the 'investigation' ... blah blah blah ...
RCMP deputy commissioner apologizes for Dziekanski's death, Janice Tibbetts, May 11, 2009. I guess I should be surprised that the Globe and Mail praises his lameness: The talking cure, Editorial, May 13, 2009.
Ujjal Dosanjh is finally coming forward and telling some truth, he says:
"By impeding certain witnesses or trying to prevent certain witnesses from coming before the inquiry is preventing the commissioner from coming to a conclusion based on all of the evidence -- that is insulting to Canadians."
(Dziekanski 'would not have died' if spared Taser, expert tells inquiry, Friday, May 8, 2009; Braidwood inquiry 'a battle of experts': lawyer, Sat May 09 2009.)
One could ask why it has taken almost two years for him to do so? Better late than never you could say. That this oh-so-late hand wringing is a way to appear honourable among these despicable rogues ... well, that's the k-k-Canadian way eh? Here he is yukking it up with his buddies, Tom Smith President of Taser International, and Ravi Hira lawyer for Constable Kwesi Millington:
A-and Brian Mulrooney is also on the stand lying today. Oh, he is so meek and mild. CTV tells us that, "Former prime minister Brian Mulroney fought back tears at the Oliphant inquiry Wednesday."
"Cry me a river," sez I.
i have been re-reading The Great Code the way i prefer to read it which is to open at some page and carry on till i fall asleep, all this caps-lock angst is no doubt just misplaced something-or-other, being too alone with a language that is 99% culturally conditioned maybe :-) and i wish someone was here who could explain it all to me in terms that i might understand what it is exactly that i have misplaced
something else came to me today, meditating on Michael K and such, a series of reductions, losses, no need to go into the details, things loved: architecture, women, geometry, children, open space, certain kinds of cooperative conversation ... and today, standing at the streetcar stop i saw that very very small things have been arriving just in time to keep me on the thread ... infinitesimal things, a smile on the girl's face in Tims, a laugh overheard in the park, a phone call, an email with almost no message, a promise i do not expect to see fulfilled
i bought a cutting board, then went to the fruit store for avocadoes, ginger and garlic, and the woman saw the board and said to me, "you are cooking," not, "are you cooking?" a chinese woman, i overheard her tell someone whe has four children, and this is like a little chestnut now, a little sprouted seed in my garden of imaginings
and the other thought around whoremonger, Ephesians 5,5: For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. there is some wiggle room here though eh? seems like it needs to be and-ed with idolater? i always thought a whoremonger was a seller, a pimp then, like a monger generally which is a small-scale or petty trafficker, trader, dealer, but when it comes to whores, no, the OED is clear, it is a user, a lecher, a fornicator, a dealer with, not a dealer of or in so it would be a waste of time to hedge on simple penetration ... oh my, well, fuck 'em sez i, and of course immediately tempted to put all of this straight into the toast later in the summer :-)
The talking cure, Editorial, May 13, 2009.
The lessons from the needless tasering death of Robert Dziekanski have long been in plain sight. At last, they seem to be sinking in among the Mounties.
The 40-year-old Polish immigrant was zapped five times on Oct. 14, 2007, though he had no weapons, struck or threatened no one, and was in anguish because he had been waiting 10 hours at the Vancouver International Airport for his mother. The Mounties killed him.
William Sweeney, the Senior Deputy Commissioner of the RCMP, told a Senate committee, which is studying reform of the federal police force, that the Mounties are very sorry for his death, the subject of a judicial inquiry at which RCMP officers have repeatedly shown they have learned nothing. Mr. Sweeney, rather than falling back on narrow explanations drawn from the manual on “the use of force,” said the Mounties need to relearn how to talk to people, to avoid harming them.
How true. Time was on the Mounties' side. They could have tried talking to Mr. Dziekanski, offered him a chair and a glass of water. They could have stood back, instead of closing in as a pack on a bewildered man. Why has it been so hard for the Mounties to say so until now?
Dziekanski 'would not have died' if spared Taser, expert tells inquiry, Friday, May 8, 2009.
Robert Dziekanski would have lived if he hadn't been stunned by a Taser when confronted by RCMP officers at Vancouver airport in 2007, a medical expert in sudden death testified Friday at a public inquiry.
Dr. Zian Tseng, a cardiac electrophysiologist at the University of California in San Francisco, has studied in-custody sudden deaths, and his work shows that once Tasers were deployed, the rate of those deaths increased six times, though not all were directly attributed to Tasers, the inquiry heard.
In his testimony, Tseng outlined what happens to the heart when a person is stunned by a Taser. In the Dzeikanski case, he concluded that the Polish immigrant would not have died if he hadn't been jolted by a Taser.
"I tried to put myself in that situation and think about if the Taser was not discharged in that case and he simply struggled with police," Tseng said. "In my opinion, in that kind of scenario, he would not have died."
Dziekanski died on the floor of the airport soon after being shocked five times by a police Taser. Four RCMP officers had been sent to the international arrivals lounge in response to reports that Dziekanski was throwing furniture and causing a scene. Within seconds of their arrival, a Taser was deployed to subdue Dziekanski.
Tseng told the inquiry Friday Dziekanski was already in a heightened state of stress, frustrated by the situation he found himself in.
Dziekanski's stress level was made worse by the use of the Taser, which triggered a medical condition known as "ventricular tachycardia," which Tseng described as a dangerous heart rhythm.
The Taser jolts in this case either directly or indirectly led to that condition, which could lead to the heart stopping completely, Tseng testified.
The inquiry heard last month from a cardiology expert, who was paid by Taser International for sitting on its medical advisory board, that Dziekanski's death didn't seem to be related to the stun gun.
Dr. Charles Swerdlow testified Dziekanski's heart didn't stop immediately after the deployment of the Taser, adding that if the heart was affected by electrical current, the resulting heartbeat would be either too fast or irregular.
Not acting in public interest: Dosanjh
Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh paid a surprise visit to the inquiry Friday to listen to Tseng's testimony.
Dosanjh, who was B.C.'s attorney general in 1999 and okayed the use of Tasers by police in the province, said he now regrets his decision.
"If I had known all of the information [about Tasers], if I had been given the truth, which I wasn't given, I wouldn't have made the decision I made," Dosanjh said.
He also said lawyers representing the federal government and the Mounties in the inquiry are not acting in the public interest at the inquiry.
The provincial inquiry was called in the wake of Dziekanski's death and is being overseen by Thomas Braidwood, a retired B.C. Court of Appeal justice. Braidwood will make recommendations to prevent similar incidents, and he could make findings of misconduct against the officers or anyone else involved.
Throughout these proceedings, Dosanjh said, the federal lawyers have taken a position of undermining Dziekanski's victimization and defending the role of the RCMP officers and the use of the Taser.
He said the federal lawyers seem to be doing that "because they want to limit the liability of the four officers in the RCMP and the federal government."
"But what they are doing by pursuing that short-term interest is actually preventing the public interest in a larger sense from being served, and that is absolutely not appropriate," Dosanjh said.
Braidwood inquiry 'a battle of experts': lawyer, Sat May 09 2009.
Lines have been drawn between Taser supporters on one side and Taser detractors on the other at the Braidwood Inquiry into the death of Robert Dziekanski. At the centre of the debate are the experts.
Dr. Zian Tseng, a leading cardiac specialist, told the inquiry he believed the Taser was a direct factor in Dziekanski's death at Vancouver International Airport in 2007.
"In my opinion -- in that scenario -- he wouldn't have died in a sudden death, if the Taser was not introduced in this situation," Tseng said.
This is testimony the lawyer for Taser International didn't want the Braidwood Inquiry to hear, saying "the evidence has no value."
On Thursday, in a surprise motion, David Neave asked that the reports by Tseng and several other doctors who were critical of Tasers be blocked, even though the non-critical reports by scientists employed by the manufacturer had already been heard.
"This is devolving into... has become, a battle of experts," he told Judge Thomas Braidwood.
Braidwood later decided the testimony of Tseng and the other medical experts would be allowed.
Taser international's lawyer wasn't the only one critical of Tseng. Counsel for the Government of Canada -- Helen Roberts -- questioned the specialist about every other possible contributing factor of Dziekanski's death.
Tseng agreed that tobacco could have had a negative impact on Dziekanski's body.
Roberts also asked about Dziekanski's lack of food and sleep, his agitation and his fear of flying, but nothing about the Taser's role.
Earlier in the inquest, she tried blocking RCMP officers, like Superintendent Wayne Rideout, from appearing at the inquiry.
This upsets former B.C. Attorney-General Ujjal Dosanjh. He gave political permission to introduce Tasers a decade ago. Dosanjh now believes he wasn't told the truth about the safety of the weapons.
He says the federal government and the RCMP are not serving the public interest.
"By impeding certain witnesses or trying to prevent certain witnesses from coming before the inquiry is preventing the commissioner from coming to a conclusion based on all of the evidence -- that is insulting to Canadians," he said.
Dosanjh believes the most prudent thing Canada could do is take Tasers away from the police until Judge Braidwood makes his final recommendations.
RCMP deputy commissioner apologizes for Dziekanski's death, Janice Tibbetts, May 11, 2009.
OTTAWA — The RCMP's second-in-command issued a direct apology Monday for the "tragic death" of Robert Dziekanski, saying the police service wants to learn from its mistakes and refocus training so that officers use force as a last resort.
"We are very sorry for Mr. Dziekanski's death," William Sweeney, the senior deputy commissioner, told a Senate committee studying RCMP reforms.
"We are committed to learning as much as possible from the circumstances surrounding his tragic death."
The Polish immigrant died at the Vancouver International Airport in October 2007 after four RCMP officers Tasered and restrained him after he threw furniture.
Sweeney, when asked what the force has learned from Dziekanski's death, said that Mounties need better training to return to traditional policing methods of diffusing potentially violent situations — such as talking down a suspect — rather than using force.
"We must spend more time with our training to use de-escalation techniques in a much more effective manner than perhaps we have in the past," Sweeney told the national security committee.
"In my day, it was always talking," he said. "We prided ourselves on time, talk and, if necessary, tear gas before we attempted to do any sorts of interventions that would physically cause harm to others."
Sweeney, the former deputy commissioner for the North West Region, which includes Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, cautioned that "Sometimes things happen so quickly that the outcome is not one we would have desired."
Dziekanski had left his home in Poland more than 24 hours before his death to immigrate to Canada to live with his mother in Kamloops, B.C., but they never connected at the airport and she returned home.
The 40-year-old stayed in a secure area, not accessible to the public, for almost nine hours. He eventually became agitated. When RCMP officers gave him conflicting commands, he threw up his hands and grabbed a stapler from a counter. An officer then used a Taser to shock him.
Dziekanski died within minutes and an inquiry in Vancouver is currently hearing evidence on the events surrounding his death.
RCMP senior media spokesman Sgt. Tim Shields said he was sorry two weeks ago after a former media relations officer testified at the inquiry that he provided inaccurate information about the fatal incident.
Sweeney on Monday did not directly discuss the RCMP use of Tasers, and said he would not comment specifically on the events surrounding the public probe.
However, RCMP Commissioner William Elliott has changed the force's policy on Taser use since Dziekanski's death — which was captured on video by a witness and shown worldwide.
Officers are now cautioned to only use the stun guns in situations that pose a safety risk, rather than simply to restrain a suspect.
Elliott has acknowledged that the RCMP has to rebuild public trust. The force has been plagued by scandal in recent years and began a process of reforms, as recommended in a December 2007 task force report on how to fix the embattled institution.
Keith Clark, assistant commissioner in charge of the reforms, told the Senate committee Monday that the force still has a long way to go in terms of a culture change, which he said remains overly bureaucratic.
Sweeney was considered a top contender to head the RCMP, but he was bypassed for Elliott, a civilian and former senior bureaucrat appointed by the Conservative government in July 2007.