Robert Dziekański and the RCMP Taser Controversy

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Robbie
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Robert Dziekański and the RCMP Taser Controversy

Since it is the offseason and this thread is called a pub, how about a more serious topic now. Obviously in the Vancouver area, there's been a lot of media attention on the investigation over the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekański. For those of you who still haven't seen the video in its entirety, I've included it. What are your thoughts about the way the RCMP handled the situation?

I'll start by saying kudos to Paul Pritchard, the man who shot the video. If it wasn't for him, it would have been an open and shut case. And if wasn't for Pritchard's video, several discrepancies from the RCMP's version of the events would never have been proven:

1) The RCMP repeatedly claimed that only three officers were at the scene. But clearly there were actually four officers at the scene.

2) The RCMP also said that they did not use pepper spray because of the risk it would have posed to bystanders. The video, however, suggests the incident occurred in an area separated from bystanders by a glass wall.

3) The RCMP also stated that batons were not used, which was also apparently contradicted by the video.

4) The RCMP stated that Dziekański "continued to throw things around and yell and scream", after the arrival of the police officers, which was later revealed to be false in the video.



The most disturbing portion of the video was at 6:46. At 6:45, it seems like Dziekanski had calmed down. In no way was he a serious threat to anyone, and he never showed indication that he would physically attack anyone. And with four officers surrounding him, they could have easily subdued him without using any weapons. But at 6:46 one officer suddenly shoots a taser at Dziekanski. :no: .

The officer might as well used his gun instead. :x
Last edited by Robbie on Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:08 pm, edited 3 times in total.


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Soundy
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Re: Robert Dziekański and the Taser Controversy

Wow, right on top of the news with this one... I had to double-check that the date on the thread wasn't 2008 :sleep:

It's lovely sensationalist video... and as with all sensationalist reporting, a number of facts and factors are conveniently ignored (now, as they were then).

For example, it's never been determined conclusively that the taser caused this death, or whether it was more a result of a cop having his knee on the man's neck, or if any other factors were involved (pre-existing medical condition, alcohol consumption, etc.)

Reports like this go on as if the man was just standing there minding his own business when the cops walked up and zapped him, yet a number of recorded 911 calls have recently been released, with frightened people reporting the man going berserk, acting belligerent, throwing furniture around, breaking glass and computers...

It's easy to sit back and play armchair quarterback and make judgement with all sorts of additional after-the-fact info, but imagine you're the cop who gets the call: tons of frantic 911 calls coming in reporting a nutbar throwing stuff around at the airport, showing extremely violent behaviour, smashing windows and furniture... remember this is at the airport, the first thought is likely that it could be a terrorist incident.

So you get there, find the guy and confront him... the guy is still up in your face, then suddenly calms down and walks away. At this moment, you don't know if he's going to snap again and attack someone... you don't know if he's armed, or even packing explosives. Your first concern, with no other information available, has to be the welfare of everyone else around. Remember, you have no way of knowing that he's just some hapless visitor who's been trapped there for hours upon hours, or whether or not he's drunk... all you see is a potential for extreme loss of life, and your job is to make sure it doesn't happen.


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bclions16
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Re: Robert Dziekański and the Taser Controversy

Good call Soundy.

Image your dad, brother, sister, child or whatever is a police officer. You'll think differently of how they approach unpredictable situations - and people. As much as they have a duty to protect the public, they have a right to keep themselves safe while doing it, without the constant threat and stress of their every action being scrutinized over and over again by armchair qbs, as Soundy put it.

The situation here was sad and tragic for all involved, but the police didn't just create the result as some would believe.


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Sir Purrcival
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Re: Robert Dziekański and the Taser Controversy

What is more disturbing about this whole scenario was what occurred before and after the Tasering.

1. Why was a man who had been apparently confused and lost not noticed or helped by officials of an airport that deals with 17 million visitors a year?
2. Why, when we have heard via testimony that at least one polish speaking person was available, were no translator services provided even when that employee offered to help?
3. Why after the tasering were Airport medical personnel who could have begun treatment almost immediately not called.
4. Why after fire rescue personnel arrived did police not cooperate with them in their requests to help provide treatment.

I can almost understand when the police are very new to the scene and see an agitated individual without knowing any of the build up, that they might just react to the situation. What led to that point was ridiculous and what transpired after he was tasered seems equally ridiculous.

This situation was handled poorly by Airport personnel from the get go. That someone could remain in the baggage area for more than 10 hours without apparent caring or notice is pretty shameful.

I also fail to understand how in less than 30 seconds the police came assessed and then felt it necessary to fire 2 taser shots into the man. And last, why, when he is unconscious, face down on the ground, is he such a threat that handcuffs can not be removed at the request of medical personnel?

I don't think that anybody expected or intended the outcome but there seems to have been some pretty shortsighted people around that day.


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Re: Robert Dziekański and the Taser Controversy

The arm-chair criticizing of the police can go on forever.

I have some questions:

1) Why wasn't Dziekański given a letter written in English that explained his situation? AKA "I speak no English"

2) Why didn't he learn a couple phrases of English before he came over, because he knew he was immigrating to Canada for several years.

3) Why didn't he have a Polish-English language phrase-book, so he could tell people "I speak no English"?

If he spent $15 at a book store, he could have avoided this whole situation, and his un-timely death.


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Re: Robert Dziekański and the Taser Controversy

I would agree with those questions too. We have yet to hear if any of that simple planning took place. They are certainly question worth hearing the answer to.


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Re: Robert Dziekański and the Taser Controversy

Sir Purrcival wrote:What is more disturbing about this whole scenario was what occurred before and after the Tasering.

1. Why was a man who had been apparently confused and lost not noticed or helped by officials of an airport that deals with 17 million visitors a year?
This is the larger question for me as well. All the attention has been focused on the police response and particularly their use of the taser and its supposed results... but far more troubling are the circumstances that led to things getting to that stage. What sort of clusterf*** does it take for someone to be effectively trapped in the airport for *ELEVEN HOURS*??
2. Why, when we have heard via testimony that at least one polish speaking person was available, were no translator services provided even when that employee offered to help?
And even if nobody was willing enough, or astute enough, to offer HELP, you'd think a customs agent would have become suspicious a LONG time before and sat the man down to find out WTF he was lurking around for (and at that point would have required the translator's services).
3. Why after the tasering were Airport medical personnel who could have begun treatment almost immediately not called.
4. Why after fire rescue personnel arrived did police not cooperate with them in their requests to help provide treatment.
I can give the cops a little slack on this one... same reason they brought him down so quickly in the first place: they had no idea what kind of harm he could or might try to inflict on anyone else. What would have happened if they backed off to let the paramedics in, and the guy suddenly punched one of them in the face? Or worse, grabbed one of the medicos in a choke-hold? If they thought the man had a weapon or explosives, they may still have been concerned with preventing him from using them.
I also fail to understand how in less than 30 seconds the police came assessed and then felt it necessary to fire 2 taser shots into the man. And last, why, when he is unconscious, face down on the ground, is he such a threat that handcuffs can not be removed at the request of medical personnel?
They did eventually allow them access though... again, their first job was to ensure he wasn't a threat to them, or anyone else.

I'll agree that the police probably reacted a little too quickly with pulling out the Taser, but again, they're coming into this situation knowing little more than what they've been told on their radios, based on numerous frantic, frightened 911 calls: violent man trashing the airport and being generally threatening to everyone around. They don't know where he's from, why he's there, how long he's been there, or how frustrated he is... they know only that there's an immediate threat to the public.
MacNews wrote:The arm-chair criticizing of the police can go on forever.

I have some questions:

1) Why wasn't Dziekański given a letter written in English that explained his situation? AKA "I speak no English"

2) Why didn't he learn a couple phrases of English before he came over, because he knew he was immigrating to Canada for several years.

3) Why didn't he have a Polish-English language phrase-book, so he could tell people "I speak no English"?

If he spent $15 at a book store, he could have avoided this whole situation, and his un-timely death.
All excellent questions as well. I know it's gauche the blame the victim for his own circumstances, but seriously... if you flew to China, knowing not a single word of any Chinese dialect, without so much as a "Handy Cantonese Phrases" cheat-sheet, and merely assumed that someone there would speak English... people would say you were an idiot. (Okay, it's a bit more of a stretch, as English is far more pervasive in the world, and especially in air travel, than Ukrainian... but still...). It's not like he was kidnapped from his home and dumped unsuspecting on Canadian soil - his trip here was planned and a little more preparation would have saved everyone a lot of trouble... and probably saved him his life.


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Re: Robert Dziekański and the Taser Controversy

Soundy wrote:
Sir Purrcival wrote:What is more disturbing about this whole scenario was what occurred before and after the Tasering.

1. Why was a man who had been apparently confused and lost not noticed or helped by officials of an airport that deals with 17 million visitors a year?
This is the larger question for me as well. All the attention has been focused on the police response and particularly their use of the taser and its supposed results... but far more troubling are the circumstances that led to things getting to that stage. What sort of clusterf*** does it take for someone to be effectively trapped in the airport for *ELEVEN HOURS*??
2. Why, when we have heard via testimony that at least one polish speaking person was available, were no translator services provided even when that employee offered to help?
And even if nobody was willing enough, or astute enough, to offer HELP, you'd think a customs agent would have become suspicious a LONG time before and sat the man down to find out WTF he was lurking around for (and at that point would have required the translator's services).

I agree with both of you. How anyone goes un-detected in an airport for 11 hours is nuts..that has serious security implications.


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Re: Robert Dziekański and the Taser Controversy

MacNews wrote:1) Why wasn't Dziekański given a letter written in English that explained his situation? AKA "I speak no English"

2) Why didn't he learn a couple phrases of English before he came over, because he knew he was immigrating to Canada for several years.

3) Why didn't he have a Polish-English language phrase-book, so he could tell people "I speak no English"?
Good points. A 40 year old man who is in the process immigrating to another country should know some very basics. It's not as if he was a totally uneducated man who was attempting to escape as a refugee.

Perhaps one reason was because he was thinking that he would meet his mother soon at the airport, who would facilitate the communication. While I certainly have sympathy for his mom, she didn't take some basic steps before arriving at the airport as she didn't ascertain with Robert on what airline and flight number he would be arriving.

Here's a preliminary report by the Vancouver Airport Authority on the incident. It's very detailed:
http://www.yvr.ca/pdf/authority/newscen ... Report.pdf


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祝你老鼠年行大運。
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Re: Robert Dziekański and the Taser Controversy

For the life of me I dont know why the mom insisted her son wait for her at the baggage carousel mistakenly thinking she could enter a restricted area. I just answered my own question. She was thinking domestic flights. When that didnt happen why didnt she summon someone to extricate him knowing he wasnt going anywhere till she showed up at the baggage carousel. Taking it a step further why didnt Robert start looking for his Mom when she didnt show up at the baggage counter after every passenger had left. BB


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Re: Robert Dziekański and the Taser Controversy

Clusterf**k is the word for this

We pay how much for security at the airport? So I can be made to feel like crap by a uneducated person with a metal detector yet when an actual event occurs, they handle it this poorly.

I worked for many years in an ER without security or weapons. I was usually the only male there yet how many times were myself and the women I worked with able to subdue hostile or medically ill individuals. And not just with force.
The RCMP in this case seriously looked like they had somewhere else to go(insert joke)and didn't even attempot to talk him down. And the medical attention after was poor as well.

The worst of this story was the fact that they woulda stuck to a different story if not for the cellphone video.

The RCMP needs to deal with this properly to gain back some public trust


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Re: Robert Dziekański and the Taser Controversy

People who don't speak english don't deserve to die. Those cops picked their profession, and if they can't do what they were trained to do 'hit the road.' 4 supposedly well trained cops can't disarm an out of shape tired passenger armed with a stapler? I'm more worried about more innocent people succumbing to the RCMP style of training. If it weren't for the video, the brooms would have come out sweeping alot earlier. I'm sure the only thing the RCMP learned was to make sure there aren't any videos.
The olympics are coming, there'll be alot of people who can't speak english. Lets hope they'll all survive an RCMP welcome.
Dziekanski didn't deserve to die.


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Re: Robert Dziekański and the Taser Controversy

I'm still confused as to why a grown man would hang around the arrivals area for 11 hours and seemingly make no concerted attempt to communicate his situation. You don't have to read English to figure out the signage enough to find an exit? During 11 hours you certainly would see enough people exiting to figure out no one is comming in and everyone else is going out ? At some point it would seem reasonable to try and find someone who could help even if you had to exit the area you were in. I have as I am sure have many others here traveled to places where english wasn't spoken. I always found I could express myself enough via pantomine to get my message across or to get taken to someone who could speak enough english to help out. I find this whole situation hard to believe.


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Re: Robert Dziekański and the Taser Controversy

Keep wondering. He didn't deserve to die.


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Re: Robert Dziekański and the Taser Controversy

Did someone suggest he did?


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