The Dziekanski Killing and Cover-Up: Even Fellow Cops Now Feel Compelled To Speak Out In Disgust
Whether you've been following the sad, tragic tale of Robert Dziekanski's brutal death at the hands of those four RCMP officers at Vancouver International Airport back in October 2007 or you're simply concerned about police brutality in general, you absolutely have to watch Terry Milewski's fantastic piece that aired earlier this week on CBC's flagship nightly news program, "The National" (see link below).
Specifically, everyone needs to see the interviews with Tunney Moriarty and Al Clarke, two retired RCMP officers who have a combined 61 years on the force between them. We're talking about two people who spent most of their working lives serving in the RCMP, but who now feel so incensed by the Dziekanski case and, particularly, the way it's been handled by the force that they feel they have no other choice but to speak out and speak up. And have they ever! These guys are a real inspiration.
Before I go on I should say that, yes, for those keeping track, this is indeed my fourth piece on police brutality since Dziekanski was killed back in 2007. But really I could have written ten, what with all the horrible information that has come out over that time. The simple fact is, the more we learn the more that needs to be said.
And with the ongoing Braidwood Inquiry now looking into Dziekanski's death we're certainly learning quite a lot.
Well, perhaps it's stuff most of us already knew to be true, such as the fact that all four officers lied (or conveniently told the exact same incorrect, misleading story) in their official reports. And that the rest of the force helped in the cover-up.
Even those who naively wanted to believe that ALL cops are decent, honorable people "just doing their jobs" now have to admit that some cops are clearly anything but. Especially when you have other cops publicly saying as much
One thing this investigative piece by Terry Milewski makes clear is that there are serious issues with the force's upper management.
According to Al Clarke, one of the ex-cops interviewed in Milewski's piece, the force simply moves problem officers to new locations whenever trouble arises.
Listening to this story, specifically the transfer and promotion of Monty Robinson from Merritt, B.C. to Richmond after his commanding officer - the same Al Clarke - strongly recommended that Robinson not be promoted due to personal and professional issues, clearly reminds me of another famous organization: The Catholic Church.
Just as the Catholic Church used to transfer their problem members (i.e. pedophile priests) to new locations where they'd inevitably reoffend, the RCMP, it seems, simply transfers problem officers to new locations whenever they mess up badly, putting the public in their new community at immediate risk.
It's not just upper management, however. What is clear from this case, and many others like it, is that when it comes to police brutality or abuse of power, the whole force goes into defensive mode. Lies, misinformation, and, in the case of Dziekanski, slander - whatever it takes to cover-up and protect their own can and will be used by the force. Justice for the innocent victims be damned. Protecting their fellow officers, it seems, is the most important part of the job of being a cop... even if those fellow officers happen to be thugs, or incompetents.
If there's anything we've learnt from the Dziekanski case it's that the force has no desire to weed out the bad apples within its ranks. None whatsoever.
Serve and protect? Definitely. Well, just as long as you're talking about their own members rather than, or at least before, the public.
An Infamous Statement
If you want some insight into the mentality of the RCMP, you need go no further than a statement made to the press regarding another tragic death here in B.C., this one back in 2005.
While investigating the shooting death of Ian Bush, a 22-year-old man who was shot in the back of the head while in RCMP custody in Houston, B.C. (after being taken in for having an open can of beer in public), Globe and Mail reporter Gary Mason was famously told by RCMP media department spokesman Const. John Ward: "The public doesn't have a right to know anything".
And that, my friends, basically sums up the RCMP's feelings when it comes to accountability.
Two Killed By Same Cop In One Year
Monty Robinson, as Milewski's piece makes clear for those who didn't already know, was not only the commanding officer at the scene when Dziekanski was killed, he's also the very same cop who's currently facing charges for impaired driving causing death in another tragic case, this one in Delta, B.C.
That's right, this Robinson guy hit and killed a 21-year-old motorcyclist while driving drunk (with both of his kids in the car!), before fleeing the scene.
And, no, your math skills have not forsaken you: The same cop was indeed involved in the deaths of two - yes, two - innocent men in just one short year. And the force knew he was messed up, yet they promoted and transferred him regardless.
Again, according to Al Clarke, who was Robinson's commanding officer in Merritt, Robinson had both personal and professional "issues" and faced a work-related lawsuit for abuse and negligence. The top brass was explicitly told that this guy was trouble. So what did they do? They promoted him. According to Clarke, no one gets fired from the force.
Now is that a truly glorious institution or what?
After viewing the news story, make sure to take a few minutes to read the comments posted below the clip. There are some fascinating posts, particularly those by current and former cops who are embarrassed by the thugs and incompetents within their ranks.
Most telling of all, of the numerous comments posted there so far, there is (presently) only one of those knee-jerk pro-cop-no-matter-the-situation comments you see so often. I guess this case is so blatantly clear, especially with all the former cops speaking out, that even the knee-jerkers have to admit the obvious: There is no defense for what these cowards did to Dziekanski.
As, Tunney Moriarty, the other former cop interviewed in this story, clearly states - and, man, is it ever wonderful to hear a cop saying this publicly - the four cops who killed Dziekanski should be charged with criminal negligence causing death. That's right, they should be facing some hard time in prison.
As Moriarty continues, in response to the RCMP's claims that the officers were simply following standard policy or procedures in their handling of Dziekanski: "If that is the policy of the force. Then I will say that the people of Canada have one big problem".
No Video, No Problem
Which brings me to the most obvious fact of all. If there were no videotape of Dziekanski being killed all of the lies and misinformation that have been disseminated by the RCMP since his death would have been allowed to stand. And all those (many? most people?) naive enough to believe whatever they are force-fed by authority figures (such as the police) could have gone on believing that the officers had bravely done their jobs and Dziekanski had simply got what he deserved.
Because, we must remember, that was certainly their version of events: Dziekanski attacked the four brave officers and in self-defense they were forced to take him down.
The only reason we're even talking about this case at all is because that video does exist. In all other similar cases - those without any video evidence - the cops can say whatever they like to cover their backs and that's the end of it.
Hell, in this case they - the four cops and the RCMP spokesmen - even knew there was a videotape that contradicted what they were telling the public and they still decided to lie!
It's all quite unfuckingbelievable, amazingly stupid and incredibly arrogant, but also extremely revealing.
And what it reveals is a culture of unaccountability, one in which people are used to getting away with just about anything.
But back to my main point: If there's no video, you can literally get away with, if not murder, then certainly manslaughter.
Come to think about it, you can get away with it whether there's a video or not. As these four cops have demonstrated so far.
The fact is, without civilian oversight, the police are free to do whatever they like, knowing the force will back them up no matter what it takes. At least for anything that happens while on duty.
Obviously we need a police force and, as I've said many times before, most cops may in fact be decent individuals, but, the truth remains, we need a much more professional, competent, and, most importantly, accountable police force in this country.
A police force investigating itself, as the RCMP does, is simply a farce.
But as former cop Moriarty says: "The days of the RCMP investigating themselves is over with. It should be over with. They got caught in the lie. They got caught in their own lie".
So, next time you see a police spokesperson making statements that 100% justify all the actions of his or her fellow officers, at the very least take them with a grain of salt. That is, unless you're into that whole naive-ignorance-is-bliss thing.
For all those of us with our eyes wide open, however, there's really only one solution: Fire all the incompetents, brutes and thugs... and prosecute them as the menace to society that they so clearly are. And at the same time promote and honor all those good decent cops out there who genuinely deserve respect. Then maybe, just maybe, people will once again start to have some faith in the police and, specifically, the RCMP.
But don't take my word for it, listen to the retired RCMP officers in Terry Milewski's story here:
CBC's The National: "A Deadly Landing: Insiders Perspective"
It's just 12 minutes long. And for those who care anything at all about justice, believe me, it'll be 12 minutes well spent.
Mike Cowie (Oredakedo)
Friday, April 24th, 2009
For further reading, check out this excellent new piece by Richard Foot that appeared in The Vancouver Sun on April, 26, 2009: NEED TO POLICE THE RCMP? Dziekanski affair just the latest scandal to taint RCMP's image
For another recent piece on police brutality (this one by me) try this: Cowards and Apologists: The Police Brutality Rant
And for more on the Robert Dziekanski case try this: And Injustice For All: Cops Face No Charges In Death of Robert Dziekanski
Or this: Kill, Duck and Cover: The RCMP Rant
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