Prime Time Crime  

(Prime Time Crime exclusive Oct. 22, 2007)

The Big Lie

By Bob Cooper



In his Sun column of October 22, 2007, Ian Mulgrew writes that 'two deaths in Canada from Taser incidents last week should have everyone concerned'.  He then goes on to mention that Dr. Christine Hall, an emergency room physician disagrees saying the focus should be less on the Tasers and more on the individuals who have died and pointing out similar ante-mortem symptoms and behavior in nearly everyone who has died in these situations whether they were Taser'd or physically restrained.

She also describes Mulgrew as "hysterical" and his calls for a Taser inquiry "a diatribe".  One thing is certain here.  If Dr. Hall ever decides to leave medicine she should try her hand at journalism as I've never seen a more accurate description of Ian Mulgrew and his work.

Mulgrew seems to have gone from being the chief apologist for the courts in this province to giving voice to Cameron Ward's anti-cop agenda.  Careful Mulgrew, they're both full-time jobs.  As with all such zealots, their message is completely based on emotion and devoid of fact and reason.  For instance, Mulgrew writes that Dr. Hall "insists most people who die under such circumstances are under the influence of cocaine...".  Now remember these are Mulgrew's words.  In fact, most of these people are more than just 'under the influence'.  They are usually found to have lethal levels of cocaine already in their systems.  Since there is no antidote for cocaine they were walking dead men before the police ever entered into the situation.

Mulgrew then goes on to say "But, like the Polish immigrant killed at Vancouver International Airport last week, too many in my view suffer from nothing that would explain or point to a cause of death aside from the Taser or the restraint procedure".  Put the Polish immigrant aside for the moment and perhaps Mr.. Mulgrew could name all of the other cases where the decedents were not found with high levels of drugs in their systems.  He obviously wasn't prepared for that question so let's give him a minute.  Hello Mulgrew, any names yet?  Sorry mate, the buzzer went, time's up.

Now back to the Polish immigrant whose name, by the way, was Robert Dziekanski.  According to Mulgrew, Dziekanski was not suffering the effects of either drugs or mental illness and must therefore have died from the Taser or from being restrained.  Amazing.  The type of toxicology testing needed to rule out drugs usually takes 6 - 8 weeks so Mulgrew is either (a) Clairvoyant, or (b) Doesn't know what he's talking about.  I'll take (b), thank you.  Anyone with common sense who heard the description of Dziekanski's behavior given to the media by witnesses (screaming, shouting, profuse sweating, outbursts of violence such as throwing computer monitors) would immediately suspect a drug overdose or mental illness, in that order.  Not our friend Mulgrew.  It just wouldn't serve his agenda.  By ignoring the obvious and pronouncing Dziekanski innocent he pronounces the cops guilty.  It's an old trick but still works with some people, including editors, especially in this city.

In describing Dziekanski's death Mulgrew uses the word "killed".  Nice melodramatic touch.

I'll wait for the toxicology to come back.  If it shows what many of us who have actually investigated these deaths suspect, I wonder if Mulgrew will apologize to the Mounties involved.  I won't be holding my breath. 

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