Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rodney Jackson Inquest: Hard to watch

Rodney Jackson Inquest: Hard to watch:

Rodney Jackson, for those of you not following the case at home, was an aboriginal soverignty activist shot in the bush by the RCMP Emergency Response Team (ERT) outside Hazelton. He had warrants for dealing pot, allegations of spousal abuse, and failing to attend family court which the RCMP were enforcing. His coroner's inquest is taking place now, two years - almost to the day - after death.

It was a difficult day 1 for the RCMP. It
was difficult, actually, for everyone. The CBC did some nice coverage here, but for some reason they were the only media outlet present.

First, came the revelation that Jackson hadn't been shot - as the family (and presumably media) had been told - in the chest. He'd been shot in the back. The shooting officer, fifty or sixty meters away, in camouflage and face paint, was hidden in the bush. It remains to be seen what threat Jackson presented at the time to the officer or his colleagues that justified the long distance back shot.

Second, the revelation that the RCMP had not arranged - although every officer involved was convinced this was one of their most dangerous missions ever - for an ambulance. M16? Check. Face paint? Check. Body armour? Check. First aid kit? Uh, sorry. That's right, not even a first aid kit made it onto this mission. Jackson was loaded onto a spine board (that made it) and a stretcher (that made it too) and driven 75 km down a dirt logging road to Hazelton where he was met by an air ambulance. No CPR from a bag and mask, because nobody had one.

Third, and what is hardly surprising for those who follow these cases, all of the RCMP ERT (aka SWAT) officers met two days after the shooting at the scene. You know, to reconstruct things. Try to imagine another situation where the police would get all the witnesses together to share stories and discuss the location of everything.

Oh, and, it was at the exact same time, two days later, that the measurements were taken of the site. What's the rush? Jackson was shot Saturday, and measurements of the location of the body, shell casings, shooter and others, were taken by the RCMP on Monday.

Finishing the day off came the news that the sole civilian, the sole non-suspect, non-RCMP officer there, the Department of Fisheries guy, who hung around the shooting site for 20-25 minutes after the shooting, didn't see the rifle that Jackson was supposed to be carrying. Couldn't see it on the ground. All he could see was a rake. Try to imagine a bunch of ERT members standing around, and nobody making a big deal about the rifle the guy they shot was carrying. The DFO guy said he was paying attention, but didn't see any weapons.

So there you go. Can we bring in that Independent Investigation Office soon?

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