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

Déjà Vu

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?

Near-Unanimous Disgust

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.


A Farce

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".


The Solution

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


For the Society, Justice & Law Homepage click here


Or for politics of all types visit the Politics Homepage


MikesAndDislikes Home

More comments on

You can read more comments in response to this piece on the Georgia Straight's site here.

My father's experiece working for the RCMP

My late father was a member of the RCMP from the ages of 19-31 (1969-1981): undercover drug squad in Windsor, ON, then Customs & Excise in Toronto.


Unlike many in the force, my dad's career advanced very quickly, becoming a corporal in less than nine years, working in extremely dangerous situations (the 1991 movie "Rush" was hard for him to watch, as it "hit too close to home"), involved cases before the Supreme Court of Canada, and the one time ability to work in a federal position in Ottawa (Toronto canceled the transfer). Unlike many of the boobs now serving, my dad was not "driving whistle cars, handing-out traffic tickets, nor investigating bicycle thefts".


My dad had issues with the force's upper management -- many of whom he felt had never done actual, hardcore policing during their careers, but called the shots when it came to officers like him. My dad was an excellent detective, but "not a good Mountie"; he pissed-off people in management, and they in-turn punished & made an example of him.


In utter frustration, disenchantment, and having been put through an emotional & psychological meat grinder by management, my dad abruptly ... walked-away from his brilliant career, after a mere 12 years with the force. He was heart-broken, for he loved the work -- but there was no love lost between my dad & the RCMP!


My dad went on to become a paramedic with BCAS, and spent over 20 years as a member of a small town volunteer fire department -- 10 of which he served as captain. Because he excelled in emergency professions, and was an incredibly smart man.


The Force contacted him in the early 1990's, asking him to consider coming back, as they needed senior officers with his expertise. My dad laughed at suggestion, replying, "Not unless you can promise me a bicycle patrol, wearing shorts, peddling around Lake Okanagan, handing out parking tickets!" The man on the other end: didn't think the response was funny.


When a one time boyfriend of mine (who was half-Native, and shoe-in for acceptance, simply because of his ethnicity) told my dad of his intent to apply to the RCMP, my dad advised him, "Go with a city police force. They treat their men much better. The RCMP will chew you up & spit you out!"


While pursuing a science degree at UBC, my brother expressed interest in possibly working as a civilian with the RCMP, in their forensics division. My dad advised him against doing so, and told my mum, "No son of mine is going to work for the effing RCMP! No bloody way!"


2005: after four young constables were shot & killed in Mayerthorpe, Alberta, my dad was horrified (some of those officers were the age of my brothers & I). Shaking his head, and angry, I remember him saying that those young, inexperienced guys should never have been there, and that they had been "thrown to the wolves".


Yup. My dad knew all too well the way the Force operated, and clearly still does.


My dad did not live to see the what happened at YVR, Mr. Dziekanski’s brutal death (murder!), nor the cover-up & lies which have since come from the Force. I'm sure that he too would have been aghast, but at the same time -- not surprised by the tactics of the Force. He knew how they operated.


I can almost guarantee you that if he were alive today, he too would be speaking-out against the Force, shedding light on the egos & errors of management, his feelings about many incompetent officers of today, and standing alongside Tunney Moriarty and Al Clarke, telling the truth.


Kate R.

A country united in revulsion

Yeah, its gotten pretty bad. It's strange to see a country so united on an issue. In my law class, everyone is so up in arms about Dziekanski's death, in a class normally divided on everything. My parents are with me on it. The credibility and public opinion of the RCMP is so low right now. Naga

Murder by Taser

As a footnote I wish to add that, in my opinion, it is not only the RCMP, but the whole Canadian police structure that needs a desperate overhauling.....NOW. Riki Bagnell

Getting away with Murder

Mike, I can attest to everything you have written and all that was said by those two brave ex-mounties.


At our son Robert Bagnell's inquest in 2004, the testament of all the Vancouver police involved were given as if they had been read from a script. One of the main participant police officers (who tasered our son) was not even called to testify as he was busy helping someone bring in a crop in Alberta and gave his identical testament by telephone.


The whole inquest was a sham presided over by a coroner (an ex cop) who was totally biased. As part of the investigating team, a Victoria policer officer, who was holding shares in Taser International. If you recall, we were not informed until a month after Robert's death that a taser had been used. The detective on the scene later told us that he did not know when he called us that a taser had been used! I would imagine that even the Vancouver police station cleaning staff would have known about it that night. During the inquest, we were admonished by the coroner not to show any facial expressions as we were so totally disgusted by much of the testimony. The jurors sat through the investigation, most of the time all or most of them dozing off and in the end would not accept any of our reccomendations.


For my daughter and I, it was a most painful and sad awakening to witness the total lack of integrity and respect shown by the whole sham of that inquest. We were infuriated that lawyers for taser international should be seated at the main table with the rest of the the law team and definitely had the upper hand on the whole proceedings.


At the conclusion of this farce, my daughter and I made a decision to do whatever we could to bring as much information together to make the public aware of what was going on.


With our blog http// we have and continue to enlighten the public as news appears. Since Robert Dziekanski's sad and horrific murder, finally Canadians are waking up to the facts. We, and people like you are making a difference. Unfortunately, our government continues to ignore this most important may in the end cost them the next election.


Thank you so much Mike again, for your contribution.

   Riki Bagnell