Since October 14 2007, I have been following the story of Robert Dziekanski with great sadness. Dziekanski was killed when RCMP officers shot him with a Taser at Vancouver International Airport. The government of British Columbia has announced a public inquiry into the events. Amnesty International is concerned about these weapons, and would like their use to be suspended while they are studied more closely.
Heather Mallick hits it out of the park on cbc.ca today:
He was Robert Dziekanski, who had just made the first plane flight of his life. Unable to speak a word of English, sleepless, dehydrated, stranded for 10 hours in the airport, unable to talk to his mother who — if he only knew — was 100 metres away on the other side of a door, had a massive panic attack.I know many people in law enforcement might disagree with Amnesty International, Heather, and me. To them, I pose this question: Dziekanski was acting unruly and creating a disturbance. Did he deserve to die for that?
He stood beneath a sign that read "WELCOME. Airport Greeting Centre." When the RCMP arrived, they calmly — and it is their calmness that condemns them — marched up to Dziekanski, who was pitifully relieved to see them. The video shows that they electrocuted him repeatedly from a distance and landed on him, crushing his neck, as he writhed and screamed in pain. And then he stopped, dead. On the video, the RCMP made no effort to revive him.
- don't get too excited about the "excited delirium" theory... the jury's still out on that one
- the title of this post references the now infamous University of Florida incident from September 2007