Robert Dziekanski, RCMP, Tasers, Use of Force

Are police becoming too feminized?

By —— Bio and Archives--November 20, 2007

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As most people are aware by now, 40-year-old immigrant from Poland, Robert Dziekanski died after being Tasered by the RCMP in the early morning hours of October 14 in the arrivals area of Vancouver International Airport.


Until the last couple of weeks, Dziekanski’s death was newsworthy only to the extent that it was simply another Taser death. Then the cell phone video of the incident that was recorded by passenger Paul Pritchard was returned to him and made public. The video caused an outrage and yesterday the B.C. government announced that a public inquiry into Dziekanski’s death will be held. The inquiry will look into how the Polish immigrant, who did not speak English, ended up remaining in the arrivals section of the airport for over 10 hours. And the inquiry will look into the use of stun guns by the police.

While politicians in this country are much too quick to call for public inquiries in order to have inquiry commissioners make the policy that they should be making, this is one inquiry that should be held. By being able to view Pritchard’s video, the public have both seen too much and not seen enough. The video appears to give a complete picture but it is far from clear that it does.

What we can see from the video is that Dziekanski was highly agitated and moving around when confronted by four RCMP officers. It also seems apparent that while distressed, he did not appear to be armed or threatening to the officers. There is some speculation he might have had a stapler in his hand, but if he did, he was not attempting to use it as a weapon. Within seconds of the four police officers entering the area that he was in, Dziekanski was shot with a stun gun and writhing on the floor. The officers then got on top of him to subdue him and remained there until he stopped moving.
Although Robert Dziekanski was a big man, what many Canadians and others around the world are asking themselves is why the police did not simply rush and overpower him. They could have physically forced him into submission or used a baton. He could have been injured in the process but would likely still be alive.
Unfortunately, the severest and most outspoken critics of what happened want to put the blame on the Taser. As with guns, it sometimes seems easier to blame inanimate objects in order to come up with simplistic solutions. But Tasers obviously have their place in policing. If they can incapacitate someone who otherwise would be end up having to be shot they should be used in spite of the fact that some deaths do occur.
In recent years there has been a move to feminize society. Anything that is associated with the masculine traits of force or fighting is bad. Men are not supposed to be men anymore. Many people in Canada support our troops as long as they build schools and hospitals in Afghanistan but can’t face the fact that the troops occasionally have to kill the enemy. And with each Canadian that dies in combat, they squeamishly scream that we need to support the troops by bringing them home. Any use of force is bad. Force is never justified.
And policing is no exception to this trend. The use of force by police officers is thought by many to be unnecessary; something that is never necessary to resort to. The ability to use physical force rather than weapons became minimized when police forces dropped all height and weight requirements in favour of being properly proportioned. This policy was changed in order to accommodate women and certain minority groups on the country’s police forces. The stark reality is that Robert Dziekanski could have just as easily been brought down by a Taser that was shot by a four foot eight inch little girl. Police forces, like much of society, are being dumbed down in the course of paying homage to political correctness.  While we can only speculate as to what really happened, this factor is what likely cost Dziekanski his life.
The officers involved really can’t be blamed. Had they simply rushed him and used physical force to subdue someone who had to be subdued, Paul Pritchard’s video would still have made the rounds. And there would have been screams of police brutality and calls for an inquiry as to why the police did what they did. Had Dziekanski not died, being subdued by a Taser would have seemed so much more humane. It would have appeared so much neater and cleaner.
The upcoming public inquiry should look not only at the use of Tasers but at the use of force generally and why the use of mere physical force is not really a bad thing.


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Arthur Weinreb -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Arthur Weinreb is an author, columnist and Associate Editor of Canada Free Press. Arthur’s latest book, Ford Nation: Why hundreds of thousands of Torontonians supported their conservative crack-smoking mayor is available at Amazon. Racism and the Death of Trayvon Martin is also available at Smashwords. His work has appeared on Newsmax.com,  Drudge Report, Foxnews.com.

Older articles (2007) by Arthur Weinreb

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