I hope every Canadian will read this book which tells the story of the 4 RCMP officers involved with the death of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver airport. Seven people suffered enormously in the aftermath including Dziekanski's mother who lost her only child, a public relations RCMP officer who committed suicude, Dziekanski himself who lost his life, and the 4 officers who have had torturous lives for, so far, 11 years following the incident. It shows how vulnerable officers are if something goes wrong on the front lines, to being abused by the organisations they work for. The story reminds me a stack of swiss cheese in which, unfortunately for everyone involved, the holes lined up and tragedies occurred. Very well written.
This book was recommended by some journalist friends. I remember the reporting of the incident at YVR that resulted in Robert Dziekanski’s death very well. This book challenged my view of the opinions formed from media coverage and will continue to influence how I view media coverage, fake news, etc. Great book.
As someone had previously said the author has dug up all the "uncomfortable truths" in this book. I felt for Dziensankis's mother, the four Police Officers that were called to the airport, the Media Liaison Police Officer that tragically took his own life and their families. This affected them all greatly, as well as their families. My prayers go out to all of them for what they have endured.
4.5 stars Thank you NetGalley and Dundurn Press for an advance copy of this book which presents a disturbing and provocative account of over more than 10 years through a tangled web of our legal system: inquiries by police officials, trials, appeals, Supreme Court, psychiatric reports, etc. This unbiased and thorough reporting makes one wonder whether justice was served
Most Canadians were aware and upset by the death of an extremely agitated and confused man after being confronted by four rookie RCMP officers at the Vancouver airport in 2007. Robert Dziekanski, a Polish man who spoke no English, died after being lasered by one of the policemen during a struggle. A bystander captured the 26-second encounter on his cell phone camera, a film which would be considered primitive by today's’ standards. Before his death, a series of mistakes and inaction by airport officials and Border Services employees led to the botched attempt of the RCMP officers’ attempt to subdue the frantic, distressed man.
His mother had come a long distance to meet and greet her son who had all the correct documents for the visit. She spent hours going from desk to desk trying to find him. She was told he wasn’t in the airport and perhaps never got on the flight to Canada. No attempt was made to search for him and she was told to go home.
Blame soon fell on the Mounties involved and they were accused of collusion and collaborating on their participation in the tragic event immediately after the death. The accusation of perjury was to haunt them through all the inquiries and trials afterwards. The Mounties were made out in the press as liars and engaged in a coverup of their actions and I was unaware that there was much more to the story. There was certainly a coverup, but seemingly on the part of RCMP officials, their lawyers, government, and psychiatrists they hired. We see how readily they were to accept a witness who claimed the four Mounties had met together at her home before their inquiries. Any of her statements were easily disproven, showing all were elsewhere at the time. Her ex-husband who claimed this never happened felt that attempts to threaten and intimidate him were made when he refused to confirm her stories. Nevertheless, she was used as a witness against them for lies saying they never met to discuss testimony.
The RCMP officers lost or were demoted, their careers and reputation in shatters; two went to prison and most suffered documented cases of PTSD for years afterwards. Years of bungled and biased prosecutions led to broken marriages and health issues. The man chosen to be the first spokesperson for the RCMP officials made public statements being unaware of the video and known facts. This led to his eventual suicide. His grieving widow was prevented by the RCMP to honour him in the funeral service she wanted.
My only problem with the book was the numerous names involved, especially at the beginning. When it came to more personal involvement in the trials and lives of the accused the narrative was easier to follow. I would have liked to have seen a list included of the various lawyers, police officials, judges, government officials along with their parts in the inquiries, trials and appeals. Because of the scope of this book which covered almost 11 years, this would be most helpful. Very well researched investigative reporting.
A gripping story that reveals the brokenness of the RCMP as an organization and the weakness of our justice system in the face of a political agenda.
Every once and a rare while, one comes across a book that challenges our deeply help convictions about what makes Canada great - our delicious maple syrup, our beautiful scenery, our iconic Mounties, our superior justice system, our relatively scandal-free leaders, and our inerrant Canadian niceness.
Well-respected Vancouver journalist Curt Petrovich masterfully steps us though this tragedy from the moment Robert Dziekanski arrives at YVR to today, peeling back the curtains to show us how the infamous Pritchard video and the negative media coverage surrounding it led step by ill-fated step to the perjury convictions of 2 of the 4 young men on duty that October night in 2007.
As Canadians, our hearts broke for Polish newcomer, Robert, and his mother Zofia. And for the first time, we finally meet Gerry, Monty, Bill, Kwesi, and Pierre .. and their stories will open our eyes and our hearts to the tragedy and the very real price paid by those men scapegoated by their superiors in order to preserve the reputation of the organization they faithfully served. You'll ask yourself: If these men can be charged, convicted and jailed against the facts, then how can I trust the system? Isn't the truth supposed to set us free? Meticulously researched and compellingly told.