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Taser Terror

Dual protests are set for tomorrow afternoon in Vancouver and Toronto in an effort to maintain media awareness of the misuse of force by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that led to the death of Robert Dziekanski, captured on video by a witness. The video, since viewed (in its various incarnations) by millions of people, documents a confused and clearly agitated Dziekanski sweating and pacing until a fatal confrontation with four RCMP officers killed the 40-year-old Polish immigrant. This week, the government of British Columbia has announced a public inquiry to investigate Dziekanski’s death, “and rightly so,” writes the editorial board in this week’s Eye Weekly: “Perhaps the inquiry’s report can communicate some simple steps to prevent this sort of tragedy from ever happening again, and communicate to the RCMP that it is their job to protect people and expose lies, not to kill people and invent cover stories to protect themselves.”
On November 21, a 45-year-old man in Nova Scotia died while in police custody after being zapped. It was the third death in five weeks linked to the use of Taser stun guns by police. The recent spree of fatalities has prompted an eighth concurrent investigation into policies and procedures regarding Taser stun gun use by police officers. Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day has ordered a review of the use of Tasers in Canada and asked Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to explain how Dziekanski was able to get through customs and was left alone in a secure area for nearly 10 hours. A report is expected to be made available to the public by next week.
Queen’s Park will be the venue for the protest tomorrow at noon, and will include speeches by a long list of politicians and activists. The Facebook group, Toronto Protest: Protesting the use of Excessive force on Robert Dziekanski, already has almost 1000 members, and planners are still looking for volunteers to assist with ground organization, decorations, and banner making. Interested parties can send an email to the protest committee co-chair Mike Mlynarczyk.


  • Amanda Buckiewicz

    I read something, somewhere, about Dziekanski being fucked up on cocaine at the time of his tasering. I also read that every single other taser related death thus far has occurred when the person was high on blow. Of course, I can’t find anything about it now; whether it’s because it wasn’t true or because no one wants to disrespect the dead, I don’t know.
    But among the medical community, it’s known that electricity + cocaine = death. That’s why if someone is high on coke, they try to not use the defibrilator on them, because it does more harm than good.
    I’m not excusing the cops – they definitely get trigger happy with the tasers – but they have used tasers for years and I’m finding it peculiar that all of a sudden, there’s this huge onslaught of taser related deaths. Was it kept quiet before?

  • scientz

    I was reading in the paper here that there have been 17 taser-related deaths since 2003. Most of them were ruled drug-related deaths instead of taser-related since, as Amanda said, many seemed to be high on cocaine and they went into cardiac arrest from “drug induced delirium” instead of, you know, having a lot of electricity pumped through them.

  • AnarchX

    hmmm, an unemployed polish immigrant who can’t speak english and hasn’t seen his mother in years and has never been on a plane. no, i don’t buy the high on coke thing. i suppose it is possible but it really doesn’t seem plausible.

  • frumin

    Nobody was “fucked up” on coke save for the mounties, Amanda. Dziekański didn’t die from excited delirium, contrary to what the good folks at the police station may tell you (source here.) It’s just a standard excuse for police brutality. His cause of death is “unkown”. Of course, he was a dirty immigrant from Communist Poland so he must have been smuggling coke. It sickens me.

  • WannaBinToranna

    I’m curious (and scared) as to who they would have to taser before everyone feels this has gone too far.
    I mean, already we are accusing a Polish immigrant of being on cocaine.
    I wonder if the 82 yr. old woman who was zapped in Chicago was on coke too.
    So, here’s what I’m thinking, maybe if, and when, the cops taser a 6 yr. old kid, or maybe a 2 yr. old fighting to get out of it’s stroller (“man, that baby was high on coke and comin’ right at me, swingin’ a pacifier”), or maybe a pregnant woman defending her other two children, or maybe they taser puppy dogs or kittens on live TV…maybe then people will stop making excuses for the cops.
    So, who would they have to taser? Your’ sister? Your’ brother? Your’ mother? So then let’s say it’s someone you know and then 2 or 3 weeks later the paper says they were “rocked out on cocaine.”
    If only they could taser a celebrity…then there would be outrage.
    “Ohmygod, they tasered Kenny”
    “YOU BASTARDS!!!!”