Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Truth Vs. ...

What police departments tell us. Dziekanski was tased FIVE TIMES OVER 31 SECONDS:

Stan Lowe, speaking on behalf of the Criminal Justice Branch, which oversees charges and prosecutions in B.C., revealed for the first time that Robert Dziekanski had received five shocks from a Taser over 31 seconds, not two as initially announced by the RCMP.

RCMP Supt. Wayne Rideout, the team leader of an investigation conducted by members of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, said Friday an RCMP spokesman had initially issued incorrect information that the Taser had been deployed only twice. ...

The mistake was made in the rush to provide the media information immediately after the incident, he said.

"The RCMP spokesman conveyed the information he had been provided from one of the officers present at the airport. That officer did not himself deploy the conducted energy weapon," Rideout told reporters at a news conference.

Once it was realized incorrect information was released, police could not correct it because a criminal investigation was under way and police did not want influence the investigation, he said.

And while police initially called to the scene thought Dziekanski was intoxicated, the Crown revealed Friday that no drugs or alcohol were found in his system, and that he had an unopened bottle of Polish vodka with him.

The police lying? That's just so hard to belie... Oh wait, no it's not. Whether it's memes about tasers replacing guns and tasers never being used on anyone but dangerous suspects, or whether it's lies about other instances of excessive force (see Sean Bell or Abner Louima), if the public does get the truth, it's only had via independent investigation forced upon police departments.

I don't like being a pessimist, but I can't imagine this situation changing and having police, especially here in the US, that operate transparently and with the guiding principle that they work for those paying their salaries. Hell, here in NYC, our police force conducted secret investigations of US citizens domestically and abroad. They pretty much planned on never letting anyone know about the investigations and were angry at being exposed.

So, you'll forgive me if my first instinct is to believe people lucky enough to survive, and brave enough to go public with, their experiences with police brutality.

In NYC's current NYPD sodomy again a citizen case, the victim was recently taunted by police in the courtroom:

Mineo, who stared down the three accused cops at their arraignment, got into a standoff with plainclothes cops, who called him a "f----t," said Mineo's lawyer, Kevin Mosley.

"That's when Mike blew the kisses," Mosley said. "I would have done something more forceful."

My advice to the victim in this case? A) Never go out of your home without a potential witness at your side. B) Sue in civil court as soon as possible (It's rare that police are held accountable in criminal cases like this.) and use whatever you receive to flee New York city.

The take home here for me is that whether the subject is taser use or police misconduct in general, the police are incapable of policing themselves. It's absurd that, with respect to tasers, the only people saying this regularly are bloggers.