Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Braidwood Chronicles: end-game

The Braidwood Inquiry has heard its last witness. Closing arguments begin on October 5.

A few items worthy of note: first, it now appears that the supervisor of Cpl. Benjamin Robinson, head cowboy of the Four Horsemen, was less than pleased with the quality of Robinson's notes of the Vancouver Airport events. "They weren't up to my standard," said Staff Sergeant Doug Wright. Were they up to his? asked Don Rosenbloom, representing the government of Poland before the Inquiry. "I'm not sure," Wright responded.

As noted before, but this sort of thing can get lost in the voluminous details, the four officers were permitted by Staff Sergeant Wright to work together for several weeks after the Dziekanski killing. It wasn't considered necessary to separate them, he said, although there was a protocol in place prohibiting the men from discussing the case amongst themselves. We can assume, therefore, that they just talked about the weather and the Vancouver Canucks during all that time, and I'm the King of England.

One troublesome detail that continues to nag at me, and which bears directly on the question of whether the use of the Taser was pre-arranged, was a portion of the audio of the infamous Pritchard video. I noted here, with help from Alison at Creekside, that there was excited talk of Tasering Dziekanski before the officers had even passed through the doors to the area where he was.Why was this fairly crucial evidence not brought out in testimony?

Finally, it seems that all of this has lain rather heavily on the shoulders of various BC police forces, including the RCMP, to the point that--at long last, Hallelujah--they themselves are calling for an independent, civilian-led investigative agency to look into complaints of police misconduct. Maybe it'll happen, now that the police themselves recognize the folly--or at least the bad optics--of relying on in-house investigations that almost invariably clear their own folks.

In any case, their desperate call makes we civil libertarian types, who have been demanding this sort of thing for years, feel a little less isolated. Who knew that we'd someday be making common cause with some of the very organizations we've been watch-dogging?

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