Saturday, November 17, 2007

RCMP Believe Laws Are For Civilians

I've been trying to fathom what the RCMP might have been doing in the month since the Dziekanski incident.

In the immediate aftermath, on the day of the incident, we know they gave out incorrect information. I'm being generous and not calling what they told us lies because its entirely possible that the RCMP spokesmodels we saw were only repeating what the officers involved were telling them.

But by the evening of that day Mr. Pritchard's video would have been in their hands and they would have known that there were 4 officers there, not three. They would have known that the area was not so crowded with people that pepper spray was not an option. They would have known that Mr. Dziekanski had not barricaded himself with chairs. They would have known that he was not behaving in a threatening manner toward the officers and was in fact moving away from them when he was tasered.

In point of fact they would have known by the evening of the day of the incident that almost all of what they had told the public via television was incorrect.

Did they call a press conference to tell the public that the video they had in their possession showed different circumstances from those they had originally communicated to us? No.

Did they re-assign the 4 officers involved? No. They remain on the job today.

What they did do was try to find a way to prevent the video being seen by the public. After initially telling Mr. Pritchard that his video would be returned to him in 48 hours they then changed their story and told him that he might not get it back for as long as 2 years. He only got it back, and thus we only saw it, after Mr. Pritchard and his lawyer threatened court action.

At least he got it back intact. I'm sure the temptation was very strong to selectively edit or blur certain parts of it. It's comforting to know that there's at least one level head somewhere in the chain of command.

However, from October 15, the day after the incident, to November 14th, when the video was made public, what did the RCMP do?

We know that during that month they didn't communicate with Zofia Helena Cisowski, Mr. Dziekanski's mother. They made no gestures of sorrow or regret toward her. They completely clammed up. They circled the waggons and prepared for a siege.

The officers involved, and indeed most of the officers we saw in the immediate aftermath, are members of the Richmond, BC detachment. They have the contract with the Vancouver International Airport Authority to provide a police presence at the airport. (Contract security a the airport is provided by a company called Securiguard.)

The detachment almost certainly had this file taken off their hands almost at once so its a virtual certainty that everything that has happened or not happened since mid October has been directed by individuals much higher up the food chain than the local detachment Officer in Charge.

Who's been making the decisions? We don't know. The new Commissioner William J.S. Elliott won't speak to the press. Nor will anyone at RCMP HQ in Ottawa and there's nothing whatever on the RCMP website relating to this case.

I think its not unfair to say that what has been happening in the month between the incident and the public viewing of the video is the RCMP circling the waggons, probably on instruction from Stockwell Day (which means from the PMO) and getting as ready as possible to fend off all comers with obfuscation and denials.

Which boiled down to it's essence means that they have no qualms about the death of Robert Dziekanski. They believe they bear no responsibility and should not be held to account.

They believe they have the right to get away with murder.

Be afraid.

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