Monday, May 12, 2008

RCMP strip details from Dziekanski TASER™ report

Missing from the RCMP report :
1) Dziekanski's name
2) the name and rank of the officer who fired the TASER™
3) the name of his supervisor
4) details about the duration of the firing
5) the number of times the weapon was used in stun mode
6) whether Dziekanski was armed
7) a written summary of the incident
8) "assessments as to whether use of the TASER™ helped the RCMP either "avoid use of lethal force" or "avoid injuries to subject or Police."

CP : "In a letter accompanying the form, the RCMP says it invoked exemptions under the Access to Information Act to protect the privacy of the person stunned and to guard confidences about the force's investigations and weapons."

"To protect the privacy of the person stunned"
I can't find the italics italic enough for that statement.

RCMP Commissioner William Elliott, the man brought in to clean up (the image of) the RCMP, said in March, "Our motivation is not to avoid criticism or controversy by exercising our discretion one way or the other, but to strike an appropriate balance between sometimes competing interests like privacy and the public's right to know."
CP : Insp. Troy Lightfoot, an RCMP spokesman, said that internal analysis of the forms concluded the painful weapons were being used correctly.

In 2004 Robert Bagnell was killed almost instantly after being shocked by a Vancouver police Taser.

"Engineering firm Intertek tested the two weapons fired during the Bagnell incident. Their research found while one Taser performed within a normal electrical output, the other was 30 times higher.
Taser International, a U.S. stun gun manufacturer, later disputed Intertek's test results. Since then, the two Bagnell Tasers were sent to the Canadian Police Research Centre in Ottawa for further examination. That was two years ago.

Victoria Const. Mike Massine, considered one of Canada's foremost police experts on stun guns, says Tasers are not tested by police. "I'm assuming (Tasers) are tested at the factory," he said. "We don't have the mechanism to do that."

Intertek's data came as a surprise to Federal Liberal Party safety critic Ujjal Dosanjh.
"If they've known about this and have done nothing -- that is absolutely wrong," Dosanjh said."

Today, Dosanjh and TASER™ chairman Tom Smith will both testify at the BC inquiry into TASER™ use.

It's worth remembering that none of these inquiries would be happening at all had not Paul Pritchard of Victoria first recorded Dziekanski's murder, stood his ground and hired a lawyer to get the recording back from the RCMP on being told it might be several years before they would return it, and then released it to the public.
Previous to Pritchard's YouTube going worldwide, the RCMP were already covering their tracks, muttering darkly about the likelihood of Dziekanski being a drug mule and how the officers were forced to use stun guns because the room was crowded with airline passengers.

So much, Mr. Elliott, for your "appropriate balance between competing interests like privacy and the public's right to know".

Cross-posted at Creekside

No comments: