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'Black and white situations'

How many things are wrong with RCMP Commissioner William Elliott's whining about the public's oh-so-lamentable tendency to second-guess officers who kill a guy? I fit about a dozen into my short Tuesday column for the Post, and in no way exhausted the list.


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Comments (24)


Well, VPD has decided on a strategy to clear up their homeless problem: shoot them. Someone taped it. The police allegedly erased it.

Crid [cridcridatgmail]:

One more post and the ass is "below the fold"... Go Cosh Go!


So, you've stapled your thumb before and it hurt.


Well, have you ever had your been punched in the face by a 6'9 giant holding a stapler in his fist?

Ever thought of the damage that even a small metal object would do the fragile bones in a persons faces when used as a club?

Judging by your article, I guess not.

Maybe you should call Liam Neelsen, and ask him how he feels about head injuries.

And comparing police officers to 7-11 clerks is utterly ridiculous. Police officers run towards the things these people run away from!

And if by chance a 7-11 killed someone in self-defence, they would receive far less scrutiny than the police. The police would investigate the incident, and may or may not, depending on the evidence, forward a charge to crown. Furthermore these people aren't required to attend inquests and won't be on the evening news night after night..

Absolutely shameful article, one completely lacking in originality, and common sense.

And tomtuttle, the Salvation Army Belkin house is a halfway house for the worst of the worst. It's where you go when you're to dangerous to go anywhere else. Because of that, there are numerous cameras around the building that will have caught the incident.

But hey, I guess his being armed with a weapon doesn't really matter. Cops are expendable. They aren't parents, they aren't someone's child, and no one loves them, so who cares, right?


How does anything you just said make it OK for cops to lie in official incident reports?

Crid [cridcridatgmail]:

OFFTOPIC (with apologies... California is having its own law enforcement problems this week, and thoughtful commentary on these issues is always welcome)

But this is a question about newfangled Twitter. Media types in particular seem entranced with it, but the flow of these exchanges is hard to track. eg what is the Kelly tweet referring to? Is there an aggregator or something that can lay it out like a conversation?


Where do I start?

Well gosh, golly, and gee: How on earth did the police ever subdue anyone before the advent of tasers? And, frankly, if four athletic officers with batons can't subdue a 40 year old alcoholic, they don't deserve to be officers.

And, regardless of whether the homeless guy brandishing a box cutter was a convict, the idea that representatives from the state can arbitrarily seize someone's property, erase images of an incident, and then lie about it is frightening.

Don't be so presumptuous as to believe that a criticism of police conduct is equivalent to wishing them dead. That would be stupid.

From the Vancouver Province:

The Mountie, who is six-feet-one inch, 205 pounds — about four inches taller and 30 pounds heavier than Dziekanski — insisted throughout that he was scared for himself and the safety of his colleagues.

So the 6'9" isn't true.

I've certainly never been punched in the face by a 5'9" giant.


You people astound me. Seeing that you all love the media so much and place your trust in it..

So tomtuttle, which one of us is right? I have two sources quoting his mother and stepfather.

Or maybe the media isn't always spot on..

Let's see.. according to Macleans Magazine

At 14, the pair moved to Gliwice, a mining and steel centre, 200 km from their quiet hometown. There were better opportunities than in Pieszyce—not to mention buses and trams. This made life easier for Zofia, who didn’t own a car. As he entered adolescence, Robert grew tall—reaching six-foot-two—and rebellious.



Jennifer Saltman, The Province
Published: Friday, November 16, 2007

Robert Dziekanski was a gentle giant of a man who loved children and stargazing.

"They play and look at his height -- none of them reach his knee," said Peter Cisowski, of his six-foot-nine-inch-tall stepson.

Source: http://www2.canada.com/theprovince/news/story.html?id=0a2a774b-c690-4488-be5b-910a023c1d7f

And how did the police subdue people before? Well, they went hands on and great expense to themselves, the public, and the person they were arresting..

As for the state seizing someone's property and erasing or damaging it.

Has this been proven yet?
What was this complainant's motivation?
How much is he getting paid?
What's his beef with the police?

Or is it arguable that a marijuana activist who is at odds with the state may make a false complaint.

Or, could he himself made a mistake and lost the data when the phone was seized.

And if you were the one being investigated for a homicide, would you not want every piece of evidence seized? Or on the flip side, the person that committed the offence to be held accountable?

Having said all that, it's obvious that those of you posting here, are not interested in due process or fairness.


My apologies for posting without my name and email filled in.



Sorry Colby, I didn't respond to your comment with regards the reports.

As for the reports, I can't fairly comment on them because I've never read them. And to comment on what has been reported on in this circus of and inquiry which Mr. Braidwood has allowed to take place would hardly be fair.

That said, the segments shown on TV have been horrendous. But again, I'll stand by assertion that those are cherry picked.

What I will say is that stress affects the recollection and may amplify things. Many people often describe bullies or threats in an exaggrated fashion. And I will also say that video often minimizes these same things.

For instance video will not pick up many non-verbal threat cues, such as someone's stare, a change in their breathing, if they begin to tense up, or become relaxed, etc.

What about the witnesses that have recanted their stories? Now everyone says he wasn't a threat, but at the time they certainly were fearful enough to call the police, and to be held on the video wondering what was taking the police so long to attend.


Just curious Colby, are you actually at the Braidwood Inquiry or are you suggesting that these police officers are lying based of 10 seconds of TV footage, or two or three lines of printed material?

Have you read their reports yourself? Or are you trusting that the lawyers representing the family and the Polish government to be telling the truth and not spinning things to suit themselves?

I wonder what their motivation is? Could it possible be financial?


TomTuttle never said the now-dead fellow was NOT 6'9". Yet, I'm still trying to figure out why his height is relevant. Meaning, I guess, that for all men over 6' 4" (or if you happen to be taller than the police officer confronting you) your height can be used to justify your murder....

I've been following the braidwood inquiry quite closely...reading the excerpts in the papers and listening where possible. It is, by anyone's definition, grim. The videotape refutes the testimony of all four officers. Respond to that anyway you like.

Why does this upset you so much?

Oh, and by the way, the homeless man that was shot by the police was not the original suspect, nor did he have a criminal record. He might have been quite tall, however, which by your own logic justified his shooting death.

Good call Crid! I too am happy to be rid of the ass picture. (Maybe this is why my work has put ColbyCosh.com on their blocklist for the last 4 months?)

JS, the argument has been made that the RCMP testimony has been well-intentioned but coloured by perception in this infamous "heat of the moment". Unfortunately, the stories all sound awfully similar for being patently untrue. Yet the memory sure came back on or about November 14 2007, didn't it? Oh yeah, the fourth guy! His report got stuck to the back of the third guy's with gum, you see...

Meanwhile JS, did Brian Fish accidentally electrocute himself by operating his camera? Or was he just interfering with police's attempts to violate the laws of the land and had to be punished?


Nothing explains the multiple taser hits except "he's still wiggling; give him another one".

I know many cops, and respect them for being willing to do a tough job. This incident has a few nasty characteristics; gang of 4 cops creates it's own dynamic. I used to tell my daughter that group intelligence is the inverse of the count.

There was time pressure, must get this nuisance out of there, so there was seemingly no reasonable sizing up of the situation.

Why, oh why was it necessary to keep zapping the guy? That makes it inexcusable, and from my point of view, murder.

Training and experience fixes most of the problems, but we seem to not want to pay people or pay to train them. Let's build a monument to how great a people we are instead.

If the RCMP hasn't figured out that their job is much much easier if there is trust and respect of their organisation, then they are fools.



As the saying goes: you don't get done for the crime you get done for the cover-up.

The dissembling of the officers in the Braidwood inquiry has been nearly as difficult to watch as Paul Pritchard’s video and, I think, more damaging for the RCMP.

The sentimental smear-artist JS hardly seems to require more contradiction from me at this point, but I do want to make two points.

All you have to do is read Jennifer Saltman's story about Dziekanski being 6'9" to see how such a bizarre myth might have arisen: the video of Dziekanski's death (no one who's viewed it could possibly imagine he was a head taller than his killers) came out the afternoon of the day the article was written, and the stepfather, who was probably being interviewed with the help of a translator, had never met the man. And of course, you'll all notice how JS casts aspersions on the untrustworthy "media" while cherry-picking one inept, outlying supposed fact provided by it. (No, I'm not at the Braidwood inquiry. I've been relying on the reporting of the Post's Brian Hutchinson, a vastly experienced, rock-solid investigative reporter who has been notoriously careful NOT to rush to judgment on the cops in this case.)

In the wake of my column, JS is the only correspondent of any kind who has felt the need to defend the Vancouver Four by casting aspersions on everybody and everything but the RCMP (the press, video cameras, the Polish government, and, in the "Have you no shame" department, Dziekanski's family). I don't know if JS is a copper, but I haven't yet heard from any self-identified cops who think I was out of line. If I may be permitted a sample quotation from my inbox: "Many veterans of the Force like me are horrified at the schmozzle being exposed and the ludicrous 'evidence' being given by those members. It is disgusting. Dziekanski was killed by their stupidity and complete lack of ability to deal with a situation that should never have deteriorated into the fiasco that is being exposed and rightfully so."

Does that make it clear enough, JS, since you don't seem to have gotten the main point of my column (i.e., the stapler is HARDLY THE ONLY ISSUE)?


Oh Colby, you wound me with your words. Or is it your inability to actually open your mind to the fact that you may be wrong.

As for the old coopers that are disgusted by what they saw, I call BS once again. Old coopers didn't have to deal with today's drug issues, many went entire careers without pulling out there guns. Most were never assaulted on the job.

Thanks for dismissing all my arguments, and proving your close mindedness. It only furthers my point of your anti-police attitude, your rush to judge, and your inability to want to tell the whole story.

Untrustworthy? Hell yeah...


Can you please provide a link to the Jennifer Saltman's story. I've been unable to find it.


You posted a link to it in this thread yesterday.

"JS": "What I will say is that stress affects the recollection and may amplify things."

I heard that that stapler was eight feet long.

That's fuckin' terrifying, man.



I miss read your comment about the Jennifer Saltman story. So, you are saying that she may be part of reason why there is a belief that he was "giant" of a man. She couldn't have possible have gotten her fact straight. After she's a journalist and aren't all of you flawless?

The the majority of the talks about the guys size. And do we know that there was a translator, etc. Are are you just making assumptions.

Then there is mom in Macleans magazine talking about his being 6'2 at 14. I was unable to find an article written by a small local rag that quoted her as saying that at 14 he grew to be 6'4 and developed mental health issues because of the teasing took for being so large. That article also spoke about the 5 years he served in prison for armed robbery.

Either way, we have errors being reported by the media, so why should we trust them?

Oh, and in defence lawyer speak - I put to you Mr. Cosh, that the window, being a thick safety glass, may have created the optical illusion of closest person to the glass appearing smaller. Do you agree that light reflecting through glass may alter the appearance, shape, or size, of the objects on the other side?

To Billy, do yourself a favor, leave your mom's basement. Get a girlfriend, or a boyfriend, and experience the real world.

"Mom's basement": the mating call of the bitter online retard. Hey, stupid, Billy happens to be a touring professional R&B guitarist. I can't speak for him but I'm confident he's had more "girlfriends" than you've had cogent thoughts.

Nutjob optical theories aside (no, Isaac Newton, flat glass does not distort the apparent relative size of objects), you don't seem to realize that one of the things your beloved YVR responders stated correctly and consistently in their incident reports was the size of Dziekanski, estimated by them at 5'10"-5'11". (Of course, they may have exaggerated it under all that stress. Totally understandable!) Will you take their word for it instead of believing confused, contradictory media reports that preceded the release of the video (which you continue to give every evidence of never having viewed)?

And for the record, who said that "all journalists were flawless"? That's never been part of anyone's argument, and you metaphorically tattoo yourself with the word "ASSHOLE" every time you bring it up.

Colby, ol' bean: in fact, I work as a stage lighting director. Thirty-two years on the road. My guitars are an avocation, since 1969.

JS: you should see my passports. (I keep the old ones for souvenirs.) I could write you a book about "the real world", kiddo.


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