The Pritchard Video: How good are your eyes?
I'm posting the Paul Pritchard video again, now the four Mounties involved when Robert Dziekanski died at Vancouver airport in their custody have all testified. (Yesterday's final day of testimony for the week focused on paramedic Allan Maciak who said Dziekanski was dead when his team arrived at the airport Oct. 14/07, about 10 minutes after he was stunned with an RCMP Taser five times.
Eyes of people in the courtroom, and the adjoining press room, blurred this week, gazing repeatedly at the amateur video and trying to follow whichever laser pointer was used to focus on an image. We had the advantage of seeing it enlarged, sections isolated and stopped. But it's still possble to do it without the court's equipment.
Here's the thing: The Mounties describe their calm entry into the airport arrivals section where Robert Dziekanski was located. Cpl. Benjamin "Monty" Robinson says he spoke to the Polish immigrant and, while he knew he didn't speak English, made a series of hand gestures to make his commands known. Stop, calm down, put your hands on the counter, etc. Earlier statements from the Mounties suggested Dziekanski was agitated and threatening when they arrived - before the hand signals began - and that once he picked up the stapler, he swung it wildly. That was later changed to just holding the stapler. A great deal of effort was spent in court staring at the video in an effort both to determine what Dziekanski was actually doing when police arrived and trying to pinpoint Robinson's hand gestures in a sequence of events that led to Dziekanksi ultimately pickeing up a stapler from a counter.
The next screening focused on what happened after Dziekanski was down, how the Mounties checked his medical condition, where Robinson's knee was in relation to his neck - which would have been an inadvisable use of pressure - and whether they rolled Dziekanski off his stomach.
The court had the advantage of having the sound of the Taser being administered added to the sound. Without that, it's hard to determine exactly when Dziekanski is being Tasered. The whole thing is rough going, but I leave it to readers to watch the video and determine what you can see.
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Mea culpa for not blogging from the Braidwood Commission yesterday. I'm writing for the weekend today and will return to it on Decoder a last time on Monday.