justice, media, tasers

Look Out! He’s Got Office Supplies!

Does anyone else find the taser-happy Constable Millington’s testimony at the inquiry into the death of Robert Dziekanski a little odd?

Note to the Constable:  you are a trained police officer. it is your job, and a vital job at that, to place yourself in harms’ way to protect the citizenry. In order to perform this sometimes dangerous task effectively, you have (I assume) been trained in nonlethal methods of hand-to-hand combat intended to subdue potentially violent suspects. This training is crucial to the proper fulfillment of your duty.

Were you absent the day they covered staplers and other office equipment in class? What about fresh fruit?  Remember, drop the 15-ton weight first, effectively disarming the suspect, then eat the banana.

stapler2Don’t be stupid and bring one of these to a Taser fight.

Why would it seem even remotely acceptable to the RCMP that their officers are taking their direction in the execution of their duty from John Cleese? C’mon, man – it was a frickin’ STAPLER.  You maybe get bopped on the head, or, worst case scenario, you have to go and get a few tetanus shots if he happens to get in a lucky strike. There is nothing in that particular scenario that justifies electrocuting the poor bastard five times, or to even justify ‘fearing for your fellow officers’.  Unless the guy is an Office Supplies Ninja, the fear you apparently felt, and your reaction, were completely out of proportion to the actual threat.

taser

I have the greatest respect for police officers in general – I knew a few growing up, and they were never anything other than helpful, friendly, and without a doubt some of the bravest individuals I’ve had the pleasure to meet. In this case, however, the farce that led to the death of a terrified man is, if possible, becoming more absurd by the day.

Tasers should be issued with a picture of Robert Dziekanski affixed to the side, to provide a reminder that even if absolute power may corrupt absolutely, electrical power can create liars and cowards, definitely.

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3 thoughts on “Look Out! He’s Got Office Supplies!

  1. A couple of comments:

    1) As far as I’ve been able to find, the exact cause of Robert Dziekanski’s death has not been announced. Having read other articles about Taser usage, one of the common effects is an immediate increase in heart rate and a commensurate increase in respiration. One of the dangers is that when Taser bring a person down, officers will use the induced grounding as an opportunity to subdue. If this involves jumping on the downed person, compression of the chest can stop respiration. The video appeared to show exactly this.

    2) From their response to questions in the inquiry, these cops don’t appear to be the sharpest knives in the drawer. Is there a policy within the RCMP that sends top students to precincts and the 51 percenters to security guard jobs at airports?

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  2. What I found particularly disturbing was the Constable’s claim that he hit him with the voltage again because he thought, due to a ‘clicking’ noise, that the connection was not being made – at that point, he was apparently already on the floor.
    I have, as you have, been in airports across the country, and I’d hate to think that these heavily populated and potentially at-risk locations are being patrolled by Paul Blart – Mall Cop.

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  3. Personal note – my uncle was a policeman until his retirement, and, like Flash, I’ve known a few growing up. I’ve also seen more of my share of armchair quarterbacking done when it comes to police actions – along the lines of ‘why don’t the police shoot the guns out of their hands’ sort of thing. So, if I had reason to believe that the Constable had any reason to think that what Robert Dziekanski was holding was a weapon, or that he posed a threat to any bystanders – my initial reaction would be to side with the officer. However, I see nothing in the testimony to make me question that, so I’m agreeing with you, Flash – this really looks like a case of a trigger-happy cop who used the Taser simply because it was the most expedient path.

    As for the cops at the Airports being the ’51 percenters’, Kev – I don’t know, there’s reason to believe even the top students aren’t what they used to be. There’s been some recent discussion here in Newfoundland about who should be policing some of the rural areas – up until now, it’s been the RCMP, but the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is making a strong pitch. And some news stories have been quoting a book that’s come out recently – basically the author’s contention is that the training standards for the RCMP have been lowered substantially over the years, and that the commonly held belief that you applied to the local constabulary force because you couldn’t make it into the Mounties, may no longer be the case. I’ll see if I can dig up the name – or Flash may know it, I think a similar situation is happening in Cape Breton.

    Another fact to support that argument might well be that one would assume that the top students of the RCMP would be the ones assigned to guard the Prime Minister – and as the Chretien years showed, even they were sloppy.

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