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article imageTaser death sparks Canadian civil rights movement

By Mike Simmons     Dec 5, 2007 in Politics
The tasering and death of Robert Dziekanski at the hands of the RCMP has sparked a civil rights movement across British Columbia, and electrified the town where he lived.
A human rights forum was held at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops on Nov. 29.
Members of the public gathered to share their concerns and outrage at the actions of the RCMP. Many expressed concern that the RCMP continue to exceed their authority with physical violence.
"In most cases we do not like our government, our politicians, and definitely we do not like our police anymore," said Zygmunt Riddle. Riddle attended the funeral of Dziekanski. "When I was here, I was so moved by the reaction of people here," Riddle said. On his return to Vancouver, he founded a grassroots civil rights movement that is intended to put pressure on the RCMP to change their ways.
The police were arrogant and bullying, said Riddle. "Where are we as a nation? Closer to liberty, or tyranny?" he said. Riddle says that the police who should be on the side of order and law are not accountable to the government or citizens.
Tania Lukasiewicz said that the RCMP made no obvious effort in the case of Robert Dziekanski to employ non-violent cooperative measures, and that the tasering was wholly unwarranted. "Robert was not agitated in the video," said Lukasiewicz.
Lukasiewicz has spent several years working as a psychiatric nurse, working with patients that required calming. We received 3 years of training in non-violent methods of resolving confrontation, said Lukasiewicz. The RCMP only take 6 months of training in non-violent measures, she said.
Lukasiewicz has been working with Riddle to get the Canadian civil rights movement up and running. She organized a protest in Vancouver on Nov. 24 that was attended by approximately two thousand people.
The civil rights movement is currently urging the federal and provincial governments to pay for the legal costs of a civil inquiry into Dziekanski's death.
More about Dziekanski, Taser, Civil
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