Thursday, October 30, 2008

Liz James on the RCMP

I think you know I am no bleeding-heart excuser of either this kind of behaviour, or of our pitiful excuse for a justice system. Despite that, or perhaps because of it, I do believe in the concept of innocence until guilt is proven.
With respect to the Delta tragedy, there are a couple of items I'd like to know about possible contributing factors to the crash itself, before I render my citizen's sentence of "life" imprisonment on the officer for vehicular homicide:
1. What speed was each vehicle traveling at?
2. Did the jeep drift over into the oncoming lane because the officer was drunk, or was he trying to make a legitimate left-hand turn, misjudging the speed at which the motorcycle was traveling?
3. Where were the traffic lights in their sequence? or was it an uncontrolled intersection?
4. Were there, as the media has - inappropriately - leaked, children in the officer's jeep?
5. Despite the fact that the officer was returned to active duty, what has been his REAL state of mind since the airport tasering one year ago? Which leads me to the second subject...
Thanks to a quick-thinking bystander, we all know what we saw on that airport video - pretty cut and dried. In my opinion, the officers moved in too quickly; no-one held back while insisting that an interpreter be found; and a man who was unarmed but for a piece of furniture was tasered to death.
The single most disturbing sight for me, was that one officer stood looking down on a dying Robert Dziekanski, and matter-of-factly coiled up his equipment - not one of those officers attempted CPR.
That seen and said, one of the most important questions I have wanted answered by the much-delayed hearings is this:
Did ALL the officers make that ill-considered, split-second decision together to taser Mr. Dziekanski? Or did one or more demur but have their cautions over-ridden by a trigger-happy superior? It's happened before with both guns and tasers and, no doubt, it will happen again.
If we just suppose for a moment that one RCMP member cautioned his fellow-officers to hold back from the tasering, but was over-ridden, and suppose, also, that he turned to drink to shut out the memories of that failure...while in no way would that excuse his impaired driving, it might just cause us to lay most of the blame on a system that we, ourselves, have tolerated for far too long...a system that, itself, has tolerated not only impaired driving by police officers, but which has also re-elected a premier who did likewise.
No more than any other right-thinking person do I want to see EITHER investigation white-washed - but nor do I want to see a rush to judgment - on these or any other cases.
As citizens, we have an important responsibility to carry out here. Every single one of us who is angry with the intolerable delays in our so-called justice system, needs to write or email Premier Campbell, copied to the Prime Minister and to Attorney-General Wally Oppal.
We need to draw our line in the sand, with something like this:
"Enough is enough! Mr. Premier. We don't care what you have to do to kick-into high gear on three investigations:
1. Basi-Virk
2. Robert Dziekanski
3. The Delta drunk-driving crash.
Too bad if it spoils the lead up to Christmas for some politicians, judges and investigators. Too bad if it ruins your re-election plans. Just get on with it - NOW! Because we aren't going to stand for it any more."
And we also need to pay attention to the fact that a renewal of the 2012 contract between the province and the RCMP, looks set to slide through Victoria's own non-stick system, with nary a peep from British Columbians.
Last but not least - I could not end this piece without offering my condolences to Orion's family and friends...and also to RCMP officer Tim Shields whose genuine distress as he answered questions from the media must have been evident to all.
Liz. J.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ms. James, the Media are having a heyday with this horrific situation. Who holds the Media under a such a microscope? Oh yeah, now I remember........... no one.
First and foremost, my thought's are with the young Victim,and his family and friends. What they are enduring is incomprehendable for me...............

Cheers, Gary.