Posts Tagged ‘police overreaction’


April 24, 2009

I was listening to the radio a couple of days ago and they were interviewing the new RCMP communications officer about the information that the Force had issued immediately after the tasering and death of Robert  Dziekanski at the Vancouver airport. The officer was pushing the story that the information the RCMP had initially issued to the public was an honest mistake and was insistent that even if the video hadn’t been made of the incident that the true story would have eventually come out, reiterating numerous times that “truth would out”.

It was not a very convincing interview – at least not from my point of view. The police are well known for protecting their own. The ranks close.

But even if it was an honest mistake the decision was made to not issue a correction.

An RCMP spokesman said Wednesday that top police brass made a
deliberate decision not to correct misinformation the Mounties had told
the media about Robert Dziekanski’s death, and also admitted the RCMP
didn’t want a damning bystander video of the Tasering released.

and that

the misinformation about Dziekanski wouldn’t be corrected until the file was closed.

The media spokesman that I listened to on the radio said that it was important for the police to be truthful and factual about information that they give out to the public in order to maintain their credibility and the trust of the public. Unfortunately they seem to be recognized this truism a little late in the game.

However it appears that what police may have learned from the Dziekanski affair is more about making sure that no one is allowed to take any pictures where they are involved in an incident.

In this case seizing equipment from a professional photographer working for the Province newspaper:

Vancouver’s chief of police has apologized for the seizure of a newspaper photographer’s camera following a police shooting on Sunday, and clarified his department’s policy for seizing cameras and video equipment.

And this from a man using his cellphone to film the police shooting of a Vancouver homeless man:

Smolcic said he was across the street when he saw Hubbard slowly pull a knife from his backpack, and then one of the two officers on the scene pulled out their gun and shot the man.

Smolcic said he did not see Hubbard advance toward the officer before he was shot.

“No, absolutely not. He was very shaky, but he wasn’t making any moves toward the police at all that I saw,” he told CBC News.Maybe a different lesson was learned.

Smolcic said he continued to film the incident after Hubbard was shot, until he was approached by an officer.

“He saw me filming and he came up to me and he asked to see my cellphone. He had my cellphone for a few minutes, and it appeared as though he was previewing the film. He gave me back my cellphone, probably about four or five minutes after he took it, told me to get lost, and of course, I did.”