Sunday, November 18, 2007

あなたの taser の氏警官との私を撃ってはいけない (Please,don't taze me, honorable Policeman)

While I don't travel as much as I'd like to, the new requirement that I be separated from my family, photographed and fingerprinted everytime I enter Japan, despite having lived here for a decade is a bit of a pisser.

While Japan is a much more authoritarian society than Canada - I get asked to show my foreign residents registration card to the cops every so often and arrestees do not have a right to a lawyer here - and much less welcoming to foreigners, I don't think that if I pitched a fit about it in the airport I would get tasered to death within 30 seconds of the cops arriving on the scene.

While the Japanese police are well known for their distaste for foreigners, the RCMP, despite a number of scandals, have always been a police force that has set an international standard for excellence.

While the RCMP is urging people not to jump to conclusions, the video of the death of Robert Dziekanski is a pretty convincing smoking gun. I'm sure the officers involved did not intend to kill Mr. Dziekanski, but they don't seem to be too concerned with preserving his life either-- no attempt appears to have been made to perform CPR or artificial respiration on Dziekanski. Four burly cops armed with pepper spray and batons should not have to use a potentially lethal weapon to subdue a man who was unarmed and not attacking them. My impression, given the speed with which the decision to use the taser was made, is that they just didn't want to get their hands dirty or bother spending time trying to calm the irate foriegner down.

These officers deserve to face manslaughter charges in court. If it turns out the RCMP has armed their officers with tasers without proper training and protocols being laid down, then whoever made that decision should be considered an accessory in this unlawful death. A taser is a useful weapon in the police arsenal, but should be a second-to-last resort, not just a convenient way to dispatch troublesome suspects.

Why the hell was this man allowed to hang around the luggage collection area for TEN HOURS without someone trying to guide him toward the arrivals exit? I know Canadian standards are not usually ranked as the pinnacle of customer service, but ten hours without someone finding a translator or simply guiding him toward the exit? Shit, I'd have been furious too, but I would not expect to be tasered simply because I had had a temper tantrum.

If a group of mall security guards had done this to some school teacher or stockbroker angry that he couldn't get a refund on defective a set of Pings at the Golf Shoppe, they'd be in jail before the body was cold, not "reassigned" after a month.

If an angry man with a pair of submachine guns can be taken into custody by an unarmed retired soldier, why was it necessary to subject Mr. Dziekanski to potentially lethal force less than a minute after confronting him?

Sam Steele would have the four officers involved in cuffs by now. Their conduct was disgraceful and they do not deserve the protection of their fellow officers.

(cross posted from the Woodshed)

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